Child’s Play image from United Artists; Toy Story 4 image from Disney/Pixar Pictures

The tough summer continues to be a challenge for studios. Sure, this time the problem is a bit of a qualified one, ad a surefire monstrous hit was merely a massive hit, but it is still a curious sign.

With the field dominated in such a strong fashion there was little else to be found in the form of good news, with one debut struggling to find its audience, and the holdovers bleeding off revenue in a steady rate. Audiences seem more content to put away their playthings than to come out for a good time.

1.  TOY STORY 4 – $118.0 Million
Here was a story about ever-changing predictions. At one point early in the week it was believed that this had the chance of reaching a $200 million opening, beating the record of $182 million set last summer by “Incredibles 2”. But then the studio set its projection at $140 million, and as the weekend played out it was lowered to $125 million, then $120 million, before settling once more. The reason it had been highly touted was a record in presale tickets for an animated release announced by Fandango. That was coupled with massive critical support of 98%, so the expectations were not out of line. Then the audience momentum never materialized. The weakest metric was in Males 25-under, so apart from families the film struggled a bit.
This is not bad news for Disney however. This opening is better than “Toy Story 3” ($110 million) which went on to gross over $400 million domestically, and over $1 billion worldwide. For the fourth edition, Disney changed from its staggered global rollout and instead debuted it simultaneously in foreign markets. This leads to setting the global record debut for an animated film, edging out “Incredibles 2” at $238 million.

As a bonus, Keanu Reeves plays the new Canadian stunt motorcycle toy, Duke Kaboom.

 

2. CHILD’S PLAY – $14.05m
United Artists played this as strictly as a counter-programming ploy, hoping a horror title might serve as a tonic for teen ticket buyers with an established property. They also tabbed Mark Hamil to take over the voice duties of the evil action figure, hoping to draw more attention, but the movie did not draw as much blood as anticipated. The studio openly embraced the competition, releasing a series of posters that showed the devilish doll Chucky having gone on the attack of a variety of the Disney characters.

 

3. ALADDIN – $12.2m
The live-action version of the studio classic is going so strong that after 5 weeks it still plays on nearly 3,500 screens. Reaching the $300 million mark is a foregone conclusion, and globally it has the chance of topping $1 billion.

4. MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL – $10.75M
Sony’s attempt at reinvigorating its franchise is not capturing the intended targets. After a disappointing debut last week it drops a steep -64%, just now getting over the $50 million line. There will be many questions at the studio following this performance.

5. THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 – $10.29M
While not a disaster this is woeful, considering expectations. After three weeks it has only now passed the amount of the original film’s opening weekend. It will fall well short of the first movie’s total run of $368 million.

6. ROCKETMAN 5.65m
The Elton John biopic is cruising in orbit, taking in a decent $77 million to date, and equaalling that amount overseas.

7. JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – $4.07m
Keanu Reeves’ taciturn assassin is making a lot of noise. It has made over $150 million and is still competing after 6 weeks in theaters.

8. GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS – $3.7m
It has not scorched the landscape stateside, taking a full month to hit the $100 million plateau. (The original Warners release nearly made that on its first weekend.) International numbers are FAR better, and it remains to be seen if that will be enough to float the film to profits.

9. DARK PHOENIX – $3.6m
Sheer disaster for the franchise finale at Fox. It drops another -61%, as a result losing a massive 1,600 screens in just its third week.

10. SHAFT – $3.55m
Another planned rebooted franchise that fell apart. It missed projections in its debut last week, and now tumbles -60%, so it is doubtful Warners will be revisiting this property anytime soon.