Weekend Box Office Top 10 (June 29-July 1): (Title / Weekend Gross / Percent Change from Last Week / Weekend # / Distributor)
- Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom / $60,000,000 / -59.5% / Weekend 2 / Universal
- Incredibles 2 / $45,546,000 / -43.3% / Weekend 3 / Disney
- Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado / $19,015,000 / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Sony (Columbia)
- Uncle Drew / $15,500,000 / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Lionsgate (Summit)
- Ocean’s 8 / $8,035,000 / -30.4% / Weekend 4 / Warner Bros.
- Tag / $5,635,000 / -31.7% / Weekend 3 / Warner Bros. (New Line)
- Deadpool 2 / $3,450,000 / -34.6% / Weekend 7 / Fox
- Sanju / $2,550,000 / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Fox Star
- Solo: A Star Wars Story / $2,293,000 / -49.1% / Weekend 6 / Disney
- Won’t You Be My Neighbor? / $2,290,000 / +25.7% / Weekend 4 / Focus
11. Hereditary / $2,225,000 / -38.7% / Weekend 4 / A24
20. Leave No Trace / $216,161 / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Bleecker Street
24. Three Identical Strangers / $163,000 / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Neon
In first place, we find Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and it is a bit of a mixed bag. On the downside, there is the nearly 60% second-weekend drop, bringing its total domestic gross to nearly $265 million. Admittedly, that kind of drop isn’t horrible. For an average blockbuster, drops between 50%-60% are healthy, signaling “business as usual” for movies with a budget of $150 million or more. However, if I was a studio executive, I would be slightly perturbed by a weekend gross $60 million, especially after seeing Fallen Kingdom debut on the higher end of projections with $148 million. $5-$10 million more would have been a much bigger comfort as it would have signaled strong word-of-mouth on the film (something to be expected given the “A-” Cinemascore) but seems that the negative reviews are winning out. With a 51% Rotten Tomatoes Score and 51 Metacritic Score (hmm, a match, you don’t see that every day), we’re seeing a pretty tepid response to the film, with many feeling that there is little substance amongst the movie’s action and many criticizing the ending in particular. Generally speaking, one should always try to end a movie on a positive note. A strong ending has the capacity to lift a movie up and get the audience to forgive much of the bad that came before. Conversely, leaving the audiences with a bad taste in their mouths when they leave the theater can help sink film. The negative feelings surrounding the film’s ending are likely diluting the word-of-mouth, and it may bode poorly in the coming weeks.
On the flipside, Universal Execs have a lot to smile about overseas. Taking in around $56 million internationally, bringing the international total to $667.6 million and the total worldwide gross of the film to $932 million. Universal opened the film in foreign markets two weeks earlier, resulting in not only a massive international opening but also allowing the film to drum up nearly half a billion dollars by the time it opened stateside. Clearly Universal recognized the momentum as they ramped up their ad campaign tenfold once they had the international headline. Given these circumstances, Universal should seriously take note of the potency of the Jurassic Park brand worldwide. Given the lack of advertising in the months leading up the release of the film, it seems as though Universal expected that the film could not possibly live up to the standards set by the previous Jurassic World installment. While this is understandable from a business standpoint given the novelty feel of Jurassic World after a 14-year absence from the silver screen (something this sequel definitely lacking), the fact that Fallen Kingdom is less than $70 million away from crossing the $1 billion mark in just its second weekend of release (fourth worldwide) proves that this franchise is still very much “an event”. Fallen Kingdom is not going to reach the massive heights of its predecessor, but these numbers prove that (maybe) it doesn’t have to, Universal just needs to have a little more faith in its franchise.
Interestingly, Disney finds itself in the opposite situation of Universal with Incredibles 2. Falling just 43% in its third weekend, its domestic total is nearly $440 million. Having already opened with a massive $180 million headstart, and holding strong since, the film is very likely to overtake Finding Dory as the highest grossing animated film of all-time (domestically) by next weekend if not very soon after. However, international numbers are a bit more muted than expected. If we maintain the Finding Dory comparison (apt given the large span of time between the two Pixar sequels and their predecessors), we find that while Incredibles 2 is pacing ahead of Finding Dory domestically, the Finding Nemo follow-up managed to make twice Incredibles 2 foreign haul by the end of it’s run. It is important to point out that the Incredibles is still rolling out across the globe, with openings in several major markets not occurring until mid-July, most notably South Korea, a major market for animated films proven by the massive boost that the country’s moviegoers where able to provide to Frozen, helping push it past the $1 billion mark in its worldwide gross. Still, given the exceptionally strong performance of Finding Dory two summers ago, it is surprising to see the Incredible 2 with a slightly lagging international gross. Having made about $207 million internationally, for a worldwide cume of $646 million (having just passed the previous entry’s $633 million worldwide total), I would have expected to see it broaching the $700 million mark by now. This is where Jurassic World comes into play.
As mention previously, Fallen Kingdom is performing exceptionally well overseas with over 70% of its near billion worldwide gross having come from the foreign markets (a curious trend emerging with Universal blockbusters given the performances of the more recent entries in their other high powered franchises, see Fate of the Furious and Despicable Me 3). Universal managed to channel this momentum into a strong stateside debut, which coincided with a larger than expected drop for Incredibles 2 in its second weekend of release; a 56% drop despite glowing reviews and an “A+” Cinemascore signaling ‘incredibly’ strong word of mouth (right as schools let out for summer no less). Looking at the data, it is clear that that Fallen Kingdom and Incredibles are cannibalizing each other, Fallen Kingdom taking a bite out of Incredibles foreign haul and second weekend, while Incredibles 2 is waiting in the wings to snatch any leftover box office from Fallen Kingdom as more negative word-of-mouth sets in. While there is certainly no reason to cry for Disney, it is still surprising to see Incredibles 2’s potential future as a billion dollar earner (a la Finding Dory) thrown into question despite its sheer strength out of the gate, and furthers the case for Universal to have more faith in their franchise as they are clearly able to compete with, or at least put a dent in Disney’s box office dominance.
Looking over at new releases, we find Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado and Uncle Drew taking the third and fourth spots for the weekend, respectively. Both managed to outperform their respective studio projections, with Sicario 2 even outpacing the bolder projections of the industry trades. Opening to $19 million, Sicario 2 bested it’s predecessor’s $12 million opening back in 2015. The original differed in its release strategy, aiming to appeal to awards voters by opening in limited release in September before going wide in October just as award season took off. Opening with a very strong $67,000 per-theater-average in just six theaters, the original Sicario’s distribution team was able to channel that momentum into a solid showing at the box office, debuting with $12 million in wide release, and ending with a total of $46 million in its domestic haul off of a $30 million budget ($90 million for the worldwide gross), as well as scoring three Oscar nominations.
Sicario 2‘s distribution team seems to be going the specifically commercial route, opening wide without a limited release, and this seemed to have greatly paid off. The prestige of the first entry (which, given the advertising, Sony seems to be pushing as a potential franchise), combined with the topicality of its border control subject matter, no doubt helped to propel the film to a strong opening. Only time will tell just how well the film performs. The reviews are not nearly as strong as the original (helmed by Denis Villenuve of Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 fame, who did not return for the sequel), but the overall critical consensus seems to label Sicario 2 as a worthy successor even if it is not as technically masterful as the first. Stars Benecio del Toro and Josh Brolin have also received strong praise for their work in the film, and it definitely doesn’t hurt that Brolin is just coming off of a big summer hit with Deadpool 2 and the fourth highest grossing film of all time in Avengers: Infinity War which could drive interest in the film. Sporting a “B” Cinemascore, we’ll have to wait and see how it performs in the coming weeks to see if the audience really responds well to the film.
Uncle Drew also managed a solid performance, outpacing conservative studio expectations with $15.5 million. It’s not incredible, but given the modest under $20 million budget, Uncle Drew looks to turn a small profit in theaters before heading to streaming and VOD where it will likely make a lot more cash. Critical reviews are decidedly mixed, but audience reaction looks strong with an “A” Cinemascore and many calling the movie “pure fun”. Tiffany Haddish’s presence in the film will likely do a lot to help sell it as she is well-liked by critics and audience, and coming off a well-received turn as the host of the MTV Movie & TV Awards just weeks ago.
Outside the new releases and top earners, there are some highlights worth noting. In fifth place, Ocean’s 8 managed another strong hold this weekend, dropping only 30% for a gross of just over $8 million. Within the week, the all-female iteration of the Ocean’s franchise will overtake Ocean’s 13 as the third highest domestic grosser of the series. This, combined with the film’s worldwide gross having just past the $200 million mark, may soon result in the announcement of a sequel (Ocean’s 9, with some more original cast cameos? Maybe?) by Warner Bros. Despite the more lukewarm critical reception, audiences are clearly enjoying this franchise outing based on the strength of the film’s weekend to weekend holds. Also notable, a new Indian film, Sanju managed to pop into the top ten with $2.55 million, while Deadpool 2 and Tag continue to hold quite well.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? continues to expand its limited release, adding over 300 theaters and a whopping $2.2 million to it’s gross (impressively taking the #10 spot this weekend) for a domestic total of $7.4 million. Boosted by strong word-of-mouth, a narrative is developing around the film, framing it as not just a loving tribute to Mr. Rogers, but also a well-made parable about how to act in the current political climate. Focus Features would be smart to capitalize on this momentum and try to slowly but surely build up a 1000 theaters its release, especially giving the staying power of Magnolia Picture’s most recent documentary entry RBG, whose $11 million domestic gross Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is rapidly coming up on and could easily match, if not exceed, if handled properly. Look for the Mr. Rogers documentary come awards season.
Hereditary also continues its impressive performance with a mere 38% drop in its fourth weekend, bringing its domestic total to $39 million and nearly $60 million worldwide despite polarizing reactions from audiences and critics. For those hoping to see Hereditary make showing at the Oscars, it’s box office performances is certainly a feather in its cap.
Lastly, both Neon’s Three Identical Strangers and Bleecker Street’s Leave No Trace received glowing reviews upon opening, taking the top per-theater-average grosses for the weekend at $32,605 (five theaters) and $24,018 (nine theaters), respectively. Three Identical Strangers, in particular, has received massive praise for the “amazing” and “baffling” story at its center, and should definitely be kept watch of in the coming weeks as it could go on to become a breakout hit with awards potential.
(Box Office Data taken from BoxOfficeMojo.com weekend estimates and Deadline.com)