The hits continue to swarm the theaters.
I’m remembering back to last summer when a string of films were released with disappointing results. Throughout the months the can’t-miss titles continued to miss the mark of profitability. Expensive bombs like “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” and “Valerian” went entirely ignored. Established franchises saw dull results, when “Transformers: The Last Knight” fell on its face, and “Alien: Covenant” didn’t even come close to making $100 million. Many other failures joined them.
One of the best signs of this summer over the year dichotomy of success can be seen with the always dependable Pixar. Last June the studio released “Cars 3”, and it was deemed a mostly losing venture. This summer “Incredibles 2” was so big it earned $30 million more its opening weekend than “Cars 3” made in its entire run. This week another sequel is released into a saturated super hero market and saw success, so about the only notable big budget bust this year was a Star Wars prequel.
Here are this week’s titles declaring independence from losing money.
1. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP – $76 Million
The original opened 3 years ago to a respectable, but not Marvel-explosive $57 million. It went on to be a respectable hit, with $180 million in the states, and $500 million globally. Following early projections of $70-75 million this represents a better than 30% increase for its debut, and it can be argued the competition is a bit tougher this weekend. The critics enjoyed the film at 88% favorable, and audiences have graded this with a CinemaScore at “A-”. Those are right in line with the first “Ant-Man” which ended slightly higher than a triple multiplier, which means this sequel can surpass $200 million by the end of its run.
2. INCREDIBLES 2 – $29.o2m
The Disney/Pixar hit just keeps on going, earning better than the dinosaurs despite being a week older, and on 236 fewer screens. This weekend it passed “Finding Dory” to become the highest-grossing animated title — the first to ever cross $500 million. In the coming weeks it will start climbing into the top-ten all-time highest money earners.
3. LOST WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM – $28.58m
Performing much softer than the last entrant, it is not to be regarded as a failure. The dinos have drawn over $330 million here, and crossed the $1 billion plateau worldwide.
4. THE FIRST PURGE – $17.15m
Universal’s discount dystopian thriller series shows it has no lag to it. The fourth entrant comes in close to the previous titles, as it opened on July 4th, and has a total open of $31 million. That nearly matches the performances of the first three films, which finished in the $70-80m range.
5. SICARIO: DAY Of SOLDADO – $ 7.3m
Taking a sharp -62% drop in week two, it has pulled in $35 million in total so far and may yet exceed the original in the end.
6. UNCLE DREW – $6.62m
The Kyrie Irving basketball comedy dips as expected, to a -56% drop. While maybe not draining 3’s, it should at least do better by the end than lesser efforts at roundball mirth, like “Eddie”, and “Semi Pro”.
7. OCEANS 8 – $5.28m
The all-female reboot has been a strong performer. It now sits as the second-best performer in the “Oceans” franchise. After five weeks it is still showing on over 2,600 screens.
8. TAG – $3.1m
It has quietly lingered in the shadows of the bigger players, about to creep over the $50 million mark. It still may be a slight money loser for Warners, at least in theaters, but the revenue from secondary markets (DVD, cable, streaming, etc.) may become enough to edge into profitability.
9. WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? – $2.59m
This documentary about Mr. Rodgers has become a surprise for Focus Features. It started out in just a few dozen theaters but has added screens for the fourth straight weekend, now showing on nearly 900.
10. DEADPOOL 2 – $1.67m
It has been a serious smash, and you can see how successful it is by the fact that the notable failure this summer is no longer on the list. Opening a week earlier than “Solo: A Star Wars Story” Wade Wilson now has drawn more than $100 million more than that misfire from Disney.