Déjà vu. Call it “franchise fatigue” or “sequelitis,” but for the second weekend in a row, American audiences weren’t compelled to head to theaters for the latest installments of established movie brands. ‘Men in Black: International’ only managed to scrape in $28.5 million, the lowest opening of an ‘MIB’ movie yet. Just like ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’, ‘MIB’ is playing like a kids movie. Those under 12 loved it, giving it 4 out of 5 stars via PostTrak. General audiences gave it an average of 3 stars.
Critics have been unkind, with its Rotten Tomatoes score at a low 24%. The biggest issue seems to be that this is just another ‘MIB’ movie, with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson plugged into the spots of Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. There wasn’t enough to differentiate it, or at least those differences weren’t made evident in the marketing.
‘MIB’ barely topped last week’s #1 movie, ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ which earned an additional $23.8M and dipped to #2.
Overseas, ‘MIB:I’ made $73.7M, bringing its worldwide take to $102.2M. Though it wasn’t as heavily reported as in the cases of ‘Dark Phoenix’, ‘Venom’, and others, there was apparently a lot of behind-the-scenes turmoil during the making of ‘MIB:I’. Director F. Gary Gray reportedly clashed repeatedly with producers over the sequel/reboot’s direction. Screenwriters Matt Holloway and Art Marcum were constantly rewriting it throughout production. And there were apparently two disastrous test screenings. David Beaubaire, the Sony exec who was supposed to oversee the production left the company during filming.
Moving down the chart, ‘Aladdin’ is the quietest smash of the summer. There is minimal online chatter about this live-action Disney remake, but it is holding strong as other “major” summer flicks come and go. In its fourth weekend, it clung to the #3 spot with $16.7M.
‘Dark Phoenix’ dropped to #4 with $9M, just ahead of ‘Rocketman’ which made $8.8M. As is typically the case, older-skewing musical ‘Rocketman’ is holding steady as that audience trickles in over time.
However, anytime movies in the Top Five earn in the single digit millions, it’s a terrible time for the box office.
- Men In Black: International (Sony) – $28.5M
- The Secret Life of Pets 2 (Universal/Illumination) – $23.8M
- Aladdin (Disney) – $16.7M
- Dark Phoenix (Disney/Fox) – $9M
- Rocketman (Paramount) – $8.8M
Another franchise pic, ‘Shaft’ was a bomb, landing with just $8.3M, at 6th place. That was just ahead of monster dud ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’, which continues its flameout, earning $8.1M in its third weekend.
Next weekend, ‘Toy Story 4’, which currently has a 100% ranking on RT, should shake the dust off and kill the talk of franchise fatigue. Some analysts are saying that ‘Toy Story 4’s opening could be as high as $200M. Some are even speculating that ‘Toy Story 4’ and ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ are the reasons why the recent batch of sequels has failed. These are must-see events and audiences are saving their money and time for them and bypassing ‘MIB:I’, ‘Godzilla’, etc., which do not look like must-sees.
Also opening is a whole different kind of toy story, ‘Childs Play’, but that isn’t expected to make much of an impact. Back to the issue of behind the scenes buzz, it’s well-known that Don Mancini, who created the original ‘Child’s Play’/’Chucky’ franchise refused to have anything to do with this remake.