Plenty of new arrivals were in theaters but the sequels failed to match prior success.
If audiences are showing signs of fatigue with retread properties then this summer could become worrisome. There are a slew of sequel on the slate, including the next couple of weeks. Sony is attempting to reinvigorate its “Men In Black” property next week, and Pixar is releasing ‘Toy Story 4” the following weekend.
Even as we enter the heart of the summer season audiences are showing that they will need a real reason to come out to theaters. Pretending your film is an event picture is not enough; you need to actually motivate audiences.
1. THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 – $47.11 Million
Quite a surprising tally here with what was regarded as a sure-thing animated animal lark. Thoughts had been this would draw in the $60 million+ range, but it seems there was less interest in a second romp involving the household critters. One indicator of what went wrong was the film did not appeal to young boys; the audience skewed to 62% female, and the very kids turned out while it played light with the 10-12-year-old crowd. The original was a surprise smash, opening with $100 million on the way to retrieving over $350 million. The production studio Illumination kept the cost down to around $75 million for the budget, which is economical for an animated release, so Universal should be fine by the end of things. But these partners will surely be revisiting things in a serious manner if there is to be the third version of this down the road.
2. DARK PHOENIX – $33.9m
Said to be the culmination of the “X-Men” franchise at Fox, this thing never rose from the ashes. The advanced word on the film was poor to begin with, then during the past couple of weeks the front-lash has been severe, with fans and movie critics at odds over the quality of the film. As it opened “Dark Phoenix” was the worst-reviewed title in the “X-Men” series at 22%, and now it sports the worst opening in the franchise as well. The audiences were also unkind, as the Cinemascore was also a franchise lowest “B-”. Once this was being looked at as drawing $50 million for the weekend. The total becomes harrowing when you factor in the $200 million budget, before marketing costs. All they are hoping for now is an international audience bailout; this franchise performs strongly in foreign markets. If it ends up losing money this loss will all be on Fox, since the film was completed well before the finalization of Disney’s purchase of the studio. The only thing left is for fans to await what Marvel will do now that it has its beloved property but under its control.
3. ALADDIN – $24.6m
A bit of a surprise as the film dropped over 600 screens on its third weekend. That is rare for a Disney title, more rare for one that is doing healthy business, but with two major releases demanding over 4,200 screens room had to be made somewhere. As of now the live-action remake has pulled in over $200 million domestically and is playing strong in foreign markets as well. The Mouse House will ride this one for one more week before tossing its energy behind the Pixar release.
4. GODZILLA-KING OF THE MONSTERS – $15.54M
From a bad opening last week to a collapse this weekend. This total is a steep -67% drop from that debut, a horrible sign of long-range prospects. So far the foreign business has been soft, so Warners may have a tough bottom line in front of them by the looks of this so far.
5. ROCKETMAN – $14.0m
The Elton John biopic is holding well with its older-skewing audience. It had a very respectable second-week dip of -45%, and it has a stronger per-screen average than “Godzilla”. In the end if it ends up earning more than the thunder lizard then there is a real problem with that franchise.
6. MA – $7.82m
Taking a -57% hit is not horrendous, especially with it sporting a micro-budget of just $5 million. The Universal/Blumhouse formula of shooting on the cheap and netting a solid opening continues to deliver the profits.
7. JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM – $7.4m
The taciturn assassin, played by the taciturn Keanu Reeves, is churning out the dollars. After one month it continues to play on over 2,700 screens. It will earn over $150 million soon enough and has drawn over another $1100 million overseas. A needed win for Lionsgate.
8. AVENGERS: ENDGAME – $4.8m
It has now become only the second film to ever earn over 422.7 billion worldwide, and is still closing in on the all-time total of “Avatar”. It stands about $50 million behind on that global number.
9. POKEMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU – $2.98m
This weekend takes the yellow private dick to over $400 million earned worldwide.
10. BOOKSMART – $1.57m
Critically it was loved, but audiences have not turned out for this female high school coming of age tale. It has all the making of a cult hit.