You weren’t the only ones avoiding theaters this weekend.
As I’ve been detailing for weeks this has been a dismal summer for the studios. While the holiday weekend bookends the blockbuster season it seems that things actually came to an end weeks ago, with very little in the way of impressive performances by any title in that time. August is lagging over -35% from the same month last year. Overall the summer finished up with a massive drop of -14% from 2016.
The current release slate is so diluted that a stunt release nearly made an impact. ABC Network is hyping the release of its new Marvel series “Inhumans” by staging a limited release in IMAX theaters. Appearing on only 393 screens it still drew enough to land in the 15th position for the weekend.
The reasons why are numerous, and the effects are both felt in the boardrooms in Burbank and not mentioned beyond. Currently there is a massive brush fire in the Los Angeles area that is serving as a live metaphor of what the studios have been facing for months in theaters.
1. THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD -$10.25million
Basically earning the same amount as it did last week, which is not common for this long of a release. Here is as true a signifier of this summer, as any. While performing with decent figures, but not eye-popping numbers and with a very tepid Rotten Tomatoes score of 40%, this is a very average-to-mediocre performance. Yet despite that lack of passion the action-comedy is reigning as the top movie for the third consecutive week. Speaks volumes about the quality of this group.
2. ANNABELLE: CREATION – $7.3m
Another longer running success due to a depleted field. This horror effort has been strong from the start, but horror rarely has this kind of staying power. For a low-budget fright-fest to remain in this high slot is very rare. This will probably lead to more versions down the road, so this possessed toy can add room additions to its dollhouse.
3. WIND RIVER – $5.86m
The Weinstein company has used a tried formula of a staggered release to find decent returns for this indie thriller. It is a method of hedging bets; you don’t over commit to a bigger rollout until you see legitimate interest in the title. This marks the third week they have added theaters – 500 more this time — and the results have been favorable.
4. LEAP! – $4.88m
Meanwhile Weinstein Co. is not celebrating at the same level with this animated release. As the primary kids release there is not sufficient interest in the back-to-school crowd.
5. LOGAN LUCKY – $4.42m
While critically favored it has not exactly latched on with audiences, but there is still enough interest to keep it afloat in this environment. The experimental release by Steven Soderbergh did not generate the returns hoped for, but there could still be longer term success with the secondary markets.
6. DUNKIRK – $4.12m
One of the last success stories of the session this quality drama from Christopher Nolan has drawn $175million domestically. It likely benefitted from a late summer release, as it would have like been trampled during the glut of epic releases at the star of things.
7. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING – $3.65m
One other lingering winner, we are looking at week nine that this hass been in theaters, and it is still swinging in the profits. $Sony is about to see its rare success this year cross over the $750million mark globally.
8. THE EMOJI MOVIE – $2.45m
Another title that typifies the diminished quality of summer, an animated pile of fecal matter was part of this baffling run of decent numbers. Imagine if there had actully been more quality films to choose from….
9. DESPICABLE ME 3 – $2.36m
Ten weeks out and this monolithic animated title is still around. Evil does pay!
10. GIRLS TRIP – $2.32m
One of a few successful comedies, theaters are still barely dropping screens, trying to squeeze out any dollars they can from any title that generates a response.