August 11, 2018

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “The Meg” Chews On Expectations, “Slender Man” Low, “BlacKkKlansman” OK


THE MEG (Gravity/Warners) appears to be having the opposite box office experience from what we’ve come to associate with US/China action movies.  In the US, it’s overperforming, perhaps helped by a calendar slot a week after Discovery’s yearly Shark Week:  preliminary numbers at Deadline estimate opening day at $16.5M ($4M from Thursday night), which is 44% higher than Skyscraper, 30% higher than Rampage, and 18% below Kong: Skull Island.  That suggests a weekend that could go as high as $45M, although $40M is more likely.  However, while it will benefit financially from being a genuine US/China co-production, permitted to retain almost twice as much of its box office revenue as a normal Hollywood movie, opening day there was a mild $16M, and The Meg was hugely expensive, with production/marketing costs reported as upwards of $300M.  That leaves its bottom line fate very much in question.

All other newcomers were far behind.  SLENDER MAN (Screen Gems/Sony), the studio’s first release since Proud Mary in January, earned $4.7M on Friday and may reach $12M for the weekend, insufficient for production/marketing costs around $75M.

BLACKKKLANSMAN (Focus/Universal) is Spike Lee’s widest opening since Miracle At St Anna a decade ago, and if its $3.7M opening day leads to a $10M weekend, it will be the 3rd biggest of his career, behind the mainstream thriller Inside Man and the concert movie The Original Kings of Comedy.  The real question for the film, however, is whether it will be able to gain the kind of early awards traction that led August openings like The Help and The Butler into the Oscar race.

DOG DAYS (LD) has been living down to its title since its opening on Wednesday.  After $1M from its opening two days, it took in under $800K on Friday, for what may be a $2.5M 3-day weekend.

Holdovers were once again led by MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT (Skydance/Paramount), which dropped 46% from last Friday to $5.3M, a bit sharper than the 40% drop for Rogue Nation on the parallel day.  Fallout should be headed to a $19M weekend, on track for $200M in the US.

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (Disney) fell 61% from last Friday to $3.7M, and with a $13M weekend, it will continue to follow the Pete’s Dragon path to $75M or so in the US.

THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME (Lionsgate) lost 60% Friday-to-Friday to $2M, and a $6.5M weekend will leave it reaching for $40M in the US.

A trio of franchise titles all dropped 40% from last Friday, MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN (Legendary/Universal) to $1.7M for a $5.5M weekend as it heads to $110M in the US, THE EQUALIZER 2 (Escape Artists/Columbia/Sony) to $1.4M for a $5M weekend on its way to $100M, and HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION (Sony Animation/Columbia/Sony) to $1.4M for a $5.5M weekend on track for $160M in the US.

ANT-MAN & THE WASP (Marvel/Disney) had the best hold in the Top 10, down 35% from last Friday to $1.1M for a $4M weekend, with $210M as its US destination.

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."