There were really no winners at the box office this weekend, as almost no major wide releases opened. Honestly, this looks like the worst weekend I can recall seeing since I have been covering weekend box office results. ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ just barely made it into double digits with a meager $10M, but even that pathetic number was enough for it to claim #1. ‘Annabelle: Creation’ made an additional $7.4M in its third weekend, but this low-budget horror film has already beaten its production cost so whatever it makes at this point is icing on the cake.
The widest new release was Canadian animated movie ‘Leap!’ which failed to entice audiences. Why? Possibly due to a number of factors. It isn’t from Disney, Dreamworks, Universal/Illumination or any other major studio. (It was distributed in the U.S. by The Weinstein Company.) It didn’t feature a proven comedic star like Adam Sandler (‘Hotel Transylvania’) or Mike Myers (‘Despicable Me’) in a voice role. With its ballet-centric story, it also came across as being strictly for girls, unlike most movies from the major studios which are more neutral in their appeal. ‘Leap!’ has also gotten less-than-average reviews, 37% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences were more positive in their reaction, giving ‘Leap!’ an A CinemaScore, but considering its low box office, don’t expect word of mouth to drive this movie as not enough people saw it to spread the word.
The Weinstein Company also went wide with its crime thriller ‘Wind River’ starring Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner (a.k.a. Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye from the ‘Avengers’ movies– Jon ‘The Punisher’ Bernthal also stars. That’s three Marvel superheroes!). This film had been in limited release and has earned strong reviews, 85% on RT. Seeing that no one was releasing a major release this weekend, TWC decided to go wide with this film, in its fourth official week in theaters. This film is getting awards buzz, so any little bit helps in spreading awareness.
Here’s how the movies officially ranked:
- The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Lionsgate) – $10M
- Annabelle: Creation (New Line/Warner Brothers) – $7.4M
- Leap! (The Weinstein Company) – $5M
- Wind River (The Weinstein Company) – $4.4M
- Logan Lucky (Bleecker Street)
Some in the industry are pointing to outside factors as negatively impacting performance, namely Hurricane Harvey which resulted in theater closures in the Houston area, and the Saturday night Floyd Mayweather/Conner McGregor fight. But history has shown that if there is a desirable attraction, the audience will make time to see it. The loss of revenue from Texas only accounted for a dip of roughly 5%. And as far as the boxing match, 2015’s Mayweather/Pacquiao bout took place the same weekend that ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ opened and that movie took in $191.3M, which at that point, was the second highest opening of all time. It all boils down to “excuses, excuses.”
Fathom events broadcast the Mayweather/McGregor fight in theaters. While Showtime won’t release its take for about a week, it is speculated that the numbers should come in at roughly $500 million domestic, $700M worldwide. Fathom’s theatrical showings grossed a relatively small $2.4 million, but it was enough to punch its way into the Top Ten (#9, specifically). Keep in mind that tickets to the theatrical showings were about $40 a pop, so these numbers are inflated roughly double those for regular movies, including large formats like IMAX.
Internationally, China has been under a foreign movie embargo for four weeks, making this the first weekend in a month that movies from the U.S. or any other nation was screened there. Domestic flop ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ took #1 with $29M, bringing its international gross to $100M, but with its monstrous production budget of over $180M (not counting marketing), ‘Valerian’ won’t be one of those domestic duds that China helps salvage (e.g. ‘Warcraft’, ‘Now You See Me 2’).
Sadly, expect a similar drought next weekend, as once again, NOTHING is opening. Granted, it is Labor Day Weekend so there will be a lot of outdoor activities and travelling, but still… NOTHING? Movie distributors are leaving money on the table.
In two weeks, I anticipate ‘It’ will open even higher than anticipated as audiences will be starving for theatrical entertainment. Ironic as it may seem, this dark horror movie will be the light at the end of the tunnel.