Friday Box Office Analysis
By Kim Hollis
June 15, 2019
Two sequels enter the field this weekend. Neither of them will emerge unscathed. It's a rough year to release a mediocre to bad film, and both of our major wide releases this weekend fall under that umbrella.
Men in Black International took the top spot yesterday, but that's about as far as the good news goes for this semi-sequel / semi-reboot of the Will Smith / Tommy Lee Jones sci-fi comedy. You might think that reuniting Thor and Valkyrie from Thor: Ragnarok (and Avengers: Endgame) would be attractive for audiences, and it might have been if reviews had been anything close to good. Instead, it rates just 24 percent fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, which was enough to doom it to the dregs of box office for 2019. It's not even going to approach the lowest opening for the previous films in the series, which ranged between $51 million and $54 million (though the original obviously inflation adjusts to more like $150 million).
Indeed, MIB International started with $10.4 million yesterday, $3.1 million of which came from Thursday night. Yikes is the word you are looking for. There's even a chance the film loses the weekend to Secret Life of Pets 2. I'm going to forecast $25.5 million, but I think $23 million is actually more realistic. For a movie with a $110 million budget, this is flat out disastrous. International (ha ha) numbers might help, but likely not enough.
I sure did love the Men in Black animated series, though.
Shaft, starring Samuel L. Jackson, a sequel to Shaft, starring Samuel L. Jackson, performed just as poorly, though it won't be the same financial hit for Warner Bros. that MIB will be for Sony. A $2.7 million Friday translates to about $7.5 million for the weekend and we probably will never speak of it again. On the positive side, at least it got an A Cinemascore.
Finally, Late Night from Amazon Studios, starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling, earned $1.7 million yesterday and will finish in the lower part of the top 10. It surely didn't cost much, so a $4.5 million weekend will be just fine. Amazon will make serious bank off of it from the Amazon Prime library anyway.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 declined 58 percent from last Friday to $6.9 million. It was a cheap little sequel to make, so it's all fine for Universal here even if it's not going to come anywhere close to the success of the first film. If they were ever thinking of making it an attraction at the theme parks, they probably changed their minds. At $23 to $25 million, it'll be a fight for the weekend victory. We might see one studio wait the other one out before they release estimates, though honestly, for Sony, there's just not much point.