August 19, 2018

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 8.19.2018

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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OPENINGS:  CRAZY RICH ASIANS (Color Force/SK Global/Warners) had a strong 42% Saturday bump, an especially bright sign for a film that might have been expected to play as front-loaded for a niche audience.  That pushed its weekend to $25.2M, with a total of $34M since its Wednesday opening.  It was just slightly below the $37.8M for the first 5 days of Trainwreck, which made it to $110.2M in the US, and given the typically high multiples for rom-coms, and the lack of competition in late August, Asians has a real chance of passing the magic $100M mark in the US.  In addition, unlike the very American Trainwreck, which earned 78% of its worldwide total at home, Asians has obvious potential overseas, where the studio is pursuing a slow release, with just 6 markets to date yielding around $700K.  (Notably, the film doesn’t yet have a release scheduled in China.)  If the international audience comes through, Asians should yield a moderate profit.

The same can’t be said for MILE 22 (Hideaway/H Brothers/STX), which had one of Mark Wahlberg’s worst action-movie openings at $13.6M.  That includes a 7% Saturday drop, so word of mouth is unlikely to help it, and the US total may not reach $40M on $100M+ in production/marketing costs.  Overseas release has barely begun with about $500K to date.

ALPHA (Studio 8/Sony/Columbia) is in even worse shape, also with $100M+ in costs, and with a $10.5M US weekend.  The only semi-encouraging point was that a 23% Saturday bump suggested it was drawing a family audience, but with numbers this low, that may not help much.  Overseas release hasn’t yet begun.

HOLDOVERS:  THE MEG (Gravity/Warners) didn’t collapse in Weekend 2, which given the genre and reviews was a bit of a surprise.  After an OK 54% drop to $21.2M, it seems capable of reaching $125M in the US.  Profitability, though, will depend on international results, considering that production/marketing costs were reportedly in the neighborhood of $300M.  The outlook is positive, with $230.4M so far after a $67M weekend in 55 markets ($117.2M of that is from China, where the studios benefit from the film being a full-fledged US/China co-production), and with Japan and France yet to open.  In other words:  get ready for The Meg 2.

Considering the rave reviews, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT (Skydance/Alibaba/Paramount) is falling faster at the box office than might have been expected, down 46% in its 4th weekend to $10.5M, the steepest drop for any Mission film in Weekend 4.  It should still reach $200M in the US, but may find it harder to match M:I2‘s $215.4M or M:i4‘s $209.4M.  Overseas, it’s at $320.7M after a $20.5M weekend in 61 markets, but while that’s well off the pace of M:I5‘s $487.7M, it doesn’t include China, where that film earned $135.7M.

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (Disney) has found its audience, down just 32% in Weekend 3 to $8.9M, and on its way to $85M in the US.  It has $22.8M early in its international run, after a $7.9M weekend in 34 markets.

BLACKKKLANSMAN (Focus/Universal) cushioned its 2nd weekend with 276 additional theatres, which gave it a 36% drop to $7M.  It’s not clear how much more widely it will be able to expand, but the film should be able to reach $40M in the US, making it Spike Lee’s 3rd biggest hit.  Overseas success is a bigger question mark, and for now it’s just in a few markets with a $1.9M total.

Like The Meg, SLENDER MAN (Sony/Screen Gems) held better than its genre might have suggested, down 56% to $5M.  But it still won’t get much beyond $30M in the US.  Overseas receipts haven’t yet reached $500K.

In its 6th weekend, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION (Sony Animation/Sony/Columbia) had the best hold in the Top 10, down 30% to $3.7M as it heads past $160M in the US, although it still probably won’t reach Hotel 2‘s $169.7M.  Overseas, Hotel 3 is at $272.1M after a $28.3M weekend in 60 territories, which included a very mild $16.9M opening in China, and it should surpass Hotel 2‘s $303.5M.

MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN (Legendary/Universal) dropped 42% in Weekend 5 to $3.4M.  If it reaches $120M in the US, it will be down around 15% from the first Mamma.  Overseas, Here We Go Again is at $207.8M after a $15.3M weekend in 62 markets, and with just a few left to open, including Italy and Japan, it’s likely to end up considerably below the first film’s $465.7M international total.

THE EQUALIZER 2 (Escape Artists/Sony/Columbia) fell 48% in its 5th weekend to $2.8M, and will just about match its predecessor’s $101.5M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $29M after a $17.5M weekend in 41 markets, and may have a tougher time hitting the first Equalizer‘s $90.8M total.

Last weekend’s flops stayed that way.  DOG DAYS (LD) fell 68% to $800K, and may not reach $8M in the US.  DEATH OF A NATION (Quality) plunged 70% to $300K and may not see $6M.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE WIFE (Sony Classics) had a fair start with a $28K weekend per-theatre average at 4 NY/LA arthouses.  WE THE ANIMALS (Orchard) averaged $22K at 3.  JULIET, NAKED (Roadside) was a notch below with a $15K average at 4.  BLAZE (IFC) averaged $15K at 3.  PUZZLE (Sony Classics) expanded to 109 with a $2K average.  THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERSON POST (FilmRise) widened to 72 with a $1900 average.  MCQUEEN (Bleecker Street) averaged $1200 at 95.  SCOTTY & THE SECRET HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD (Greenwich) averaged $1600 at 27.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Wide openings include the R-rated puppet comedy THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (STX) and family adventure AXL (Global Road).  Other releases include PAPILLON (Bleecker Street), THE BOOKSHOP (Greenwich), SEARCHING (Sony/Screen Gems) and SUPPORT THE GIRLS (Magnolia).

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."