The Arrival of the Franchise-busters
In what has already become a crowded release schedule, this weekend saw a bumper crop of new titles darting up the onramp to add to the congestion. In a (very) refreshing change of pace it was a convoy of original titles that was attempting to merge into the traffic jam of seemingly endless sequels and reboots
For the most part these new entries brought alternatives, and as a result found eager audiences — mostly. For those stuck in the unmoving mass of retread titles of the summer doldrums you can stop leaning on the horn; here are the weekend numbers.
- DUNKIRK – $50.5Million
There was muted expectation to master-director Christopher Nolan’s retelling of a World War 2 event. While Nolan can dependably deliver the high quality effort, it was believed the historical drama surrounding a lesser-known (in the States) segment of the war would only deliver interest in the $35-40million range. This is a testament to his clout, and the esteem. It sports over 90% on Rotten tomatoes with a massive amount (240+) of reviews, and audiences gave it a CinemaScore of “A-”. The other Nolan attribute is his titles have longterm health, so this will be a decent win for Warner Brothers.
- GIRLS TRIP – $30.37m
Another fresh property and another box office surprise. This was expected to perform favorably, but a very strong open is made more surprising at how poorly adult comedies have done this summer. Longterm may be a bit of a challenge, as African American titles are usually front-loaded, but it boasts an impressive “A+” CinemaScore, so it could last a while.
- SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING – $22m
A bit of a surprising hold for this reboot, but it has been delivering strong for Sony. Now over $250million domestic means the gamble to retool the franchise so quickly has paid off. Overseas it is also proving a hit, so they have found an answer in teaming with Marvel.
- WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES — $20.4m
A deeper than expected drop in week 2 (-63%). Surprising more, as last week’s strong open meant it actually added 80 screens, while “Spider-Man” dropped 200. Overall 20th Century Fox should be fine and see profitability.
- VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS — $17.02m
Numerous challenges were in front of this release, the first being fans unravelling that obtuse title. The next is this being adapted from a French graphic novel. Director Luc Besson has long wanted to adapt this series since he made “The 5th Element”. But that was back in 1997, so the property being dated is another challenge. This passion project sports a budget of $200million, so the enormity of this failure is resounding. The foreign box office will need to explode for this to have a shot at profits.
- DESPICABLE ME 3 — $17.02M
The miniscule Minions continue to mint money. This means more movies being made is mandatory. Mark it.
- BABY DRIVER — $6M
Continuing the strong showing for the R-rated adult action title, it is trying to see if there is enough gas in the tank to reach $100 million (current total is $85m).
- THE BIG SICK — $5m
The independent comedy hit has been a windfall for LionsGate. They may have overpaid (a $12million purchase out of Sundance) but there is still a good chance at turning a profit, after promotional costs.
- WONDER WOMAN — $4.63m
She has now passed “Guardians 2” to be the biggest hit of the summer. In a couple of more weeks she may just have enough to clear $400m domestic. Damned impressive (and “No”, I didn’t add “for a woman” either.)
- CARS 3 — $1.92m
Dropping a significant amount of theaters means there is a likelihood this title won’t achieve $150 million. That is a dismal number for a Pixar title.