Old Dust is no match for New Blood
Summer is the time of the franchise. Every week seems to bring either another installment of a sequel-driven product, or the hopes of a studio launching a new long term enterprise. This week pitted two such entries; one a recently launched success, the other a hoped-for debut of a new franchise.
That lack of creativity will be with us for quite a few weeks, so may as well get used to the feeling of lingering recognition. Like comfort food, the studios hope you will not be looking to savor bold new flavors but instead consume the familiar in mass quantities. Let’s take a look at what audiences loaded onto their plates and gorged on this weekend.
1. WONDER WOMAN — $57.3 million
It should not be a surprise any longer, but this title continues to impress. This brings the domestic total over $200million already. Following an impressive debut Diana bucks the trend of front-loaded comic book titles and dropped only -45%. Further being impressive is the second week total. That amount is higher than the two films she has long been compared to – “Batman vs. Superman”, and “Suicide Squad”. May become a battle with Marvel for tops of the summer.
- THE MUMMY – $32.3m
This is a woeful opening considering the numerous factors at play. Tom Cruise headlines what Universal is calling the launch of its “Dark Universe”. The intent is to build a series of connected films with all the monster characters in its stable, in the Marvel/DC template (“Bride of Frankenstein” is now in development.). Desperation was seen as the studio unveiled a 75 foot tall sarcophagus for the premier. This does not bode well however as the film was scorched by critics (a dismal 17% on Rotten tomatoes) and audiences were tepid, grading this a B- on the CinemaScore chart. Overseas it has done well, but overall Universal will need to clear over $600million global before seeing a profit. This is where a lesser writer would resort to saying this was “dead on arrival”, and the studio “failed to bring this property back to life”. Good thing I am not a lesser writer.
3. CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS – $12.3m
A good hold of -48% is made more impressive considering it is poised against a juggernaut hero pic and a major release. The dearth of family choices and the built-in book audience makes this a counter programming success.
4. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES – $10.4m
Turning into another dusty source material this has always been positioned more as an international release. But the dwindling interest stateside, and losing a few hundred screens already, clearly is hurting the collections. One treasure chest may be enough for the bounty.
5. IT COMES AT NIGHT – $6.2m
Speaking of creaky enterprises this horror offering rested on tired premises about the undead and people trapped in a remote cabin. Projected to take in $8-10m for the weekend, this is a disappointment doomed to do worse. The gulf between audiences and critics continues, though with this one the polarity is flipped. There was positive advanced word and it sports a robust 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, but those who saw the film graded it with a dismal “D” on CinemaScore. This will be a lifeless zombie very soon.
- GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 — $6.02m
After 6 weeks it is only now dipping out of the Top-5. This will serve as “Wonder Woman’s benchmark. It will be interesting to see this battle between the ice cream cross-promotions, as Dairy Queen (“Guardians”) is pitted against Cold Stone (“Wonder Woman”).
- BAYWATCH – $4.2m
This is ebbing like low tide at Huntington Beach. Already shedding theaters (over 800 dropped) in week three, and the international interest also is not arriving. Fox is raising the rescue flag.
- MEAGAN LEAVEY – $3.8m
Better than expected but still a low haul. Tough selling a biopic on the name of someone few have heard of before release. A military tale headed by Kate Mara by a new studio had a lot of barricades in front of it.
- ALIEN: COVENANT – $1.6m
Still dropping theaters and about to drop out of sight. This expensive epic is not even in sniffing distance of $100million.
- EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING – $1.59m
Nearly beat “Alien” while in far fewer theaters and with a fraction of the budget. And with nary the built-in recognition.