August 5, 2018

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 8.5.2018

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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OPENINGS:  CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (Disney) led the newcomers with $25M (as is always the case with studio estimates that barely exceed a round number, that may decline in finals tomorrow), 16% better than Disney’s debut of Pete’s Dragon in August 2016.  However, the films had different trajectories, with Robin down 9% on Saturday, while Dragon rose 21%.  Even if Robin‘s Thursday night revenue is removed from its Friday, its Saturday bump would be 7%, one-third of Dragon‘s.  That suggests that the family audience is less interested, and despite Robin‘s higher start, it may not get past Dragon‘s $76M US total.  Internationally, Christopher Robin is in just 18 markets thus far, and had a $4.8M weekend.

THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME (Lionsgate) was underwhelming with a $12.4M start, far from the $29.1M opening for Spy, the comedy it’s clearly trying to emulate.  It’s not even as strong as the $14.9M launch of Tag, the summer’s last R-rated comedy.  With something like $100M in worldwide production/marketing costs, its prospects are dim.

THE DARKEST MINDS (21 Laps/20th) was a failed attempt by Fox to launch a non-Marvel version of its X-Men franchise, and although its ending sets up a sequel, with a $5.8M opening weekend, that’s unlikely.  Things were no better overseas, where Minds opened in 37 markets with a weak $4.1M.

EIGHTH GRADE (A24) expanded into wide release at 1084 theatres with $2.9M, a fair $2600 per-theatre average that’s a notch below the $5200 average Sorry To Bother You had when it widened to 805, and the $5100 for Lady Bird at 791.  It may have its work cut out for it trying to get past $15M in the US.

DEATH OF A NATION (Quality) opened with $2.3M at 1005 theatres, down a dismal 43% from the $4M start for director Dinesh D’Souza’s last propaganda “documentary” Hillary’s America.  A meaningful sign for the current election cycle?  Who knows.

HOLDOVERS:  MISSION; IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT (Skydance/Alibaba/Paramount) had a strong Weekend 2 hold, down 43% to $35M, the best of the franchise with the exception of MI4, which opened during the Christmas season, when the box office has an entirely different dynamic.  It seems likely to become the 3rd of the series to reach $200M in the US (with 2 and 4).  Overseas, it’s at $205M after a $76M weekend in 56 territories that don’t yet include China (where MI5 earned $135.7M) or Italy.  If it tops $694.7M worldwide, it will set a new high for the franchise.

With no strong arrivals, most holdovers were quite steady.  MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN (Legendary/Universal) dipped 40% to $9.1M, on track for $110M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $139.2M after a $19.3M weekend in 53 territories.  Some major markets remain, like Japan, Russia, Korea and Mexico, but it doesn’t seem like Again will get close to the original’s $465.7M international total.

THE EQUALIZER 2 (Escape Artists/Columbia/Sony) lost 37% to $8.8M, and in the US it should end up very close to the first film’s $101.5M.  Overseas, it’s only in 11 territories, with $7.7M to date.

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION (Sony Animation/Columbia/Sony) slid 33% to $8.2M, still on track to land between Hotel 1‘s $148.3M and Hotel 2‘s $169.7M.  It’s at $202.3M overseas after an $18M weekend, with China, Italy and Korea still to open, likely to similarly end up between its predecessors.

ANT-MAN & THE WASP (Marvel/Disney) had the best hold in the Top 10, down 29% to $8.2M, on its way to $210M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $230.8M after an $11.2M weekend in 47 markets, awaiting China, Japan and Italy, with China (where the first Ant-Man earned $105.4M) the key to its ultimate total.

THE INCREDIBLES 2 (Pixar/Disney) is barely slowing down after 8 weeks, down 31% to $5M, and still with a chance of reaching $600M in the US.  It’s at $463.9M overseas after a $19M weekend in 42 markets, with Italy and Germany still to open.

The exception to the strong holdovers rule was TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES (Warners Animation/DC/Warners), down 53% in its 2nd weekend to $4.9M, and unlikely to get much past $30M in the US.  It’s at $2.4M overseas.

Finally, after a longer road that might have been anticipated, BLACK PANTHER (Marvel/Disney) joined The Force Awakens and Avatar as the only films (unadjusted for inflation) to reach $700M at the US box office.  It’s at $1.35B worldwide.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST (Filmrise) had a solid start at 2 NY theatres with a $26.5K per-theatre weekend average.  NEVER GOIN BACK (A24) was much lower with a $5K average at 2.  The documentary MCQUEEN (Blecker Street) widened to 34 with a $5300 average.  PUZZLE (Sony Classics) expanded to 16 and averaged $8100.  SCOTTY & THE SECRET HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD (Greenwich) averaged $8700 at 5.

NEXT WEEKEND:  DOG DAYS (LD) opens on Wednesday, and then it’s a choice of horror on Friday, big-budget with THE MEG (Warners), and low-budget with SLENDER MAN (Screen Gems/Sony).  The prestige opening is Spike Lee’s BLACKKKLANSMAN (Focus/Universal), which is bypassing limited release and starting wide.

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."