Weekend Wrap-Up

By Tim Briody

June 16, 2019

Super. Heroes.

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It’s a pretty sad frame with some unwanted sequels, and once again we find ourselves looking for Disney to save the day next weekend.

On paper, a reboot of Men in Black isn’t the worst idea in the world. The original was amusing enough, though it is probably more remembered for Will Smith’s song than anything in the actual movie. Two sequels followed because the 1997 film was wildly successful for the time, with the only the 10 years after the second one Men In Black 3 really remembered for Josh Brolin’s uncanny Tommy Lee Jones impression.

Seven years after that, Sony decided it was time to try again. Not the worst idea on paper, again, but they had to get it right. Casting Thor and his Ragnarok costar Tessa Thompson was a good idea. However, if you look at the opening weekends of the previous Men in Black movies, there’s a big alarm bell. They’ve had opening weekends of $51 million, $52.1 million and $54.5 million respectively. But adjust those numbers for inflation and today those are equal to openings of $100.2 million, $80.8 million and $60.5 million. Uh-oh.

Men in Black: International wins the weekend but with a paltry $28.5 million. Yeah, that’s not good. Any sort of comedy is at a low point right now, and especially one that didn’t appear to be very funny from the ads, and critics agreed, with a 23% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. It’s also worth mentioning that Chris Hemsworth has yet to have a real hit when he’s not Thor.

While MIB: International has done well, uh, internationally, with a worldwide gross of $102 million, against a reported budget of $100 million, that’s not going to turn a profit by the time it’s done, especially as its domestic final gross is going to be on par with the opening weekends of the other three films. Yuck.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 drops 49% from its opening weekend with $23.8 million, giving it $92 million to date, which is still under the opening weekend of the first one. The inexplicable performance of the original wasn’t going to be matched, as there really wasn’t much there outside of the one good idea. It cost $80 million and while it won’t match the ridiculous worldwide gross of The Secret Life of Pets, Universal should be happy with what they get on this one.

Aladdin continues to hold its own, sliding just 32% to $16.7 million and has $263.4 million after four weekends. Getting to $300 million might be possible, but I think Disney will cannibalize itself with the release of Toy Story next weekend, and it’ll just fall short. After Dumbo’s shaky performance, this is what the live action remake department needed, and also bodes well for next month’s Lion King.




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Dark Phoenix puts itself in contention for biggest bomb of the year by falling a ridiculous 73% from opening weekend to $9 million and $51.7 million after two weekends. The nail in the coffin for the X-Men franchise - until the inevitable MCU-connected reboot in a few years - this one somehow reportedly cost $200 million to make, and I hope that somebody got fired for that decision.

Rocketman adds $8.8 million (down 36%) in its third weekend, giving it $66.1 million to date. With declines like that, it could stay in the top ten for a long, long time. Okay, not really, but it’s showing itself as the “adult” option for audiences who don’t need to see movies opening weekend. The $40 million production is going to more than double that in theaters.

Opening way down in sixth place, Shaft earns just $8.3 million, because it’s another sequel that nobody was exactly clamoring for. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Shaft is a direct sequel to 2000’s Shaft, starring Samuel L. Jackson. This one also introduces Jessie Usher as Shaft’s son and also retcons the 2000 film by having Richard Roundtree return as Shaft’s father (the original Shaft). The reported $30-35 million budget is not something that it’s going to make back in theaters, so this is a big miss for Warner Bros.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters adds $8.1 million to give it $93.6 million after three weekends, which is what the last Godzilla movie opened to. The MonsterVerse is not doing all that well, and while next year’s Godzilla vs. Kong is intriguing from the title alone, I would kind of hope it’s not too late to scale back that budget.

John Wick: Chapter 3 slides just 18% in its fifth weekend to $6.1 million and has earned $148.6 million to date. Do I hear $200 million for Chapter 4?

Another opener lands in ninth place as Mindy Kaling’s Late Night earns $5.1 million after a 4 theater NY/LA release last weekend. Written by Kaling and starring Emma Thompson (doing double duty this weekend with Men In Black: International as well), the film is mostly notable for being the widest release yet by Amazon Studios, and by next weekend, their highest theatrical earner (currently last year’s Beautiful Boy, with $7.6 million). The comedy was generally well reviewed (81% Fresh) and it’s looking at $15 million as a ceiling, but I’m sure it’s going to be a popular choice on Amazon Prime Video, which may be why they purchased the distribution rights to the movie. Amazon getting into mainstream wide releases is something to keep in the back of your mind for the future.

Wrapping things up this week, we bid adieu to Avengers: Endgame after a scant seven weekends in the top ten, as Ma hangs on to the tenth spot this weekend with $3.6 million. The thriller has $40.3 million after three weekends, nearly all profit as it was make for next to nothing.

The top 12 films this weekend earned $123.9 million, an unfair comparison with last year when The Incredibles 2 opened to $182.6 million.

And speaking of Pixar, next weekend Disney rescues us from box office misery yet again as Toy Story 4 arrives in theaters. Plus, in the ultimate act of counter programming, the Child’s Play reboot is also released.


Top Ten for Weekend of June 14-16, 2019
Rank
Film
Distributor
Estimated
Gross ($)
Weekly Change
Cumulative
Gross ($)
1 Men in Black: International Sony Pictures 28.5 New 28.5
2 The Secret Life of Pets 2 Universal 23.8 -49% 92.0
3 Aladdin Walt Disney 16.7 -32% 263.4
4 Dark Phoenix 20th Century Fox 9.0 -73% 51.7
5 Rocketman Paramount Pictures 8.8 -36% 66.1
6 Shaft Warner Bros. 8.3 New 8.3
7 Godzilla: King of the Monsters Warner Bros. 8.1 -48% 93.6
8 John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum Lionsgate 6.1 -18% 148.6
9 Late Night Amazon Studios 5.1 +1,986% 5.4
10 Ma Universal 3.6 -54% 40.3
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations

     


 
 

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