Weekend Box Office

Some compared the female-led ‘Ocean’s 8’ to the 2016 reboot of ‘Ghostbusters’ which also featured a female-led cast replacing a mostly male cast, but there is hardly a comparison.  The ‘Ocean’s’ movies are far more recent and while fans find them to be enjoyable romps, they haven’t been around long enough to qualify as “classics.”

‘Ocean’s 8’ opened with $41.5 million, which is better than any of the previous, male-based ‘Ocean’s’ movies.  The previous champ was ‘Ocean’s 12’ which earned $39.1M during its opening frame.  ‘Oceans’ 8′ was strategically released this week on Girls Night Out on Wednesday rather than the usual Thursday preview.  That certainly helped fuel this comedy heist to its strong opening.  The female audience has always made up the majority of fans for this brand, so the switch to a female cast didn’t dissuade them.  It should be noted that ‘Ghostbusters’ opened with $46M, which is higher, but so was the budget… by almost twice.

‘Ocean’s 12’ was the least-liked of the franchise, but ‘Ocean’s 8’ received a “B+” average CinemaScore from exiting audiences, which is the same grade that was given to ‘Ocean’s 11′ and ’13’.  It scored the highest among viewers under the age of 18, who gave it a solid “A”.  Critics have been underwhelmed, with ‘Oceans 8’ scoring a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes.

A large part of the appeal for all of the ‘Ocean’s’ movies is their large all-star ensemble casts.  Sandra Bullock leads this picture as Debbie Ocean, the sister of George Clooney’s character Danny.  Cate Blanchett plays Lou, serving in the same capacity as Brad Pitt’s character Rusty Ryan– basically the leader’s right hand.  The cast also includes Awkwafina, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, and Rihanna plus James Cordon and Dakota Fanning.  Matt Damon, Elliot Gould and Carl Reiner reprise their roles from the previous movies, solidifying this film as an extension and not just a stand-alone.

A24’s horror movie ‘Hereditary’ has gotten excellent reviews, 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.  It was predicted to open in the single digits, but blew past that, with $13M.  Unfortunately, audiences hated it, damning it with a “D+” CinemaScore.  This is still A24’s best financial opening yet, but poor word of mouth will probably kill this flick quickly.

‘Solo’, ‘Deadpool 2’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ are all still hanging strong in the Top Five:

  1. Ocean’s 8 (Warner Brothers/Village Roadshow) – $41.5M
  2. Solo: A Star Wars Story (Disney) – $15.1M
  3. Deadpool 2 (20th Century Fox) – $13.1M
  4. Hereditary (A24) – $13M
  5. Avengers: Infinity War (Disney) – $6.8M

‘Solo’ is a disappointment.  It has amassed $176.1M so far, while at this same point, ‘Rogue One’ had made $318M.  On the plus side, worldwide, ‘Solo’ has done better than some of Disney’s most notorious flops like ‘John Carter’. ‘The Lone Ranger’ and ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ and even better than a couple of non-Disney flops that live in infamy like ‘Green Lantern’ and ‘Battleship’.  But because it cost so much to make, Disney will likely lose money on it anyway.

‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ doesn’t open in the U.S. or Latin America until June 22, but Universal/Amblin rolled it out two weeks early in 48 foreign markets this weekend.  It’s believed that the early arrival was at least partially to avoid the World Cup, which begins in a week.  It looks to have made $151M already, prior to its domestic release.  Many were cautious with their predictions, not expecting the sequel to live up to the performance of ‘Jurassic World’ which came 14 years after the last movie in the original cycle.  The feeling was that there was more pent up excitement for the first ‘Jurassic World’.

China will get it next weekend, earlier than we will.  Overall, the ‘Jurassic’ movies work incredibly well internationally because there isn’t much of a language or cultural barrier to overcome.  Rampaging dinosaurs are pretty self-explanatory.  And there really isn’t a need for familiarity with the originals to get the new ones, which is the main reason why ‘Star Wars’ hasn’t clicked in China and also why the ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot wasn’t even released there.

While we here in the U.S. have two weeks to wait for ‘Fallen Kingdom’, there is only one week before Pixar’s ‘The Incredibles 2’.  In good news for Disney, the premiere of ‘The Incredibles 2’ received a rousing ovation and it is looking at a $150M opening.  That should help take away some of the sting from ‘Solo’.

Also opening is the star-studded comedy ‘Tag’ featuring Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner, which looks to be aiming for the same older audience as ‘Game Night’ which was a sleeper hit in February and March this year.

Check back and see how things work out.