Sunday, August 9, 2015

Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation Clobbers Fantastic Four At The Box Office

As The Thing might put it, "Ain't this a revolting development". Not only did 20th Century Foxs reboot of Fantastic Four not make $40 million this weekend like many projected, it failed to crack $30 million. To boot, it landed behind Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation, which secured its second straight weekend as the number one movie in America. It made $29 million for the weekend, losing only 47%, a terrific dip that shows that this ones got some incredible word-of-mouth working in its favor. Rogue Nation has now tallied up $108 million domestically, and with no other major blockbusters on the horizon, it actually should have no trouble getting to at least $175 million by the end of its run.

On the other hand, Fantastic Four was a bust, grossing only $26 million for the frame. Despite getting the fifth widest theater count for a 2015 film (it was playing in 3,995 locations) and the seventh widest theater count of all-time for a 20th Century Fox movie, not to mention a huge marketing effort, the film was greeted with disdain from critics and audiences alike. Hell, audiences polled on CinemaScore (who are usually uber forgiving considering that Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen garnered a B+ score on the service) gave it an average grade of C-. Call me crazy, but I don't think this movies gonna have legs.

Looking at the larger spectrum of superhero movies, this opening weekend for Fantastic Four puts it as the 51st biggest opening weekend for a superhero film, barely ahead of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie in 1991. That's unadjusted for inflation though; when one adjusts things to 2015 ticket prices, the box office performance of these four heroes becomes even more dire, with its performance this weekend barely edging out the opening weekend of the first Superman movie 37 years ago.

So what went wrong here? Well, pretty much everything. The film never looked that commanding in its advertisements, and it was always going to have to deal with strong competition from  Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation. But those cataclysmically bad reviews damaged the films already fault reputation, and the fact that the director of the motion picture disowned it the day before it was released pretty much sealed its fate. Needless to say this box office performance is terrible is an understatement; hell, there's a good chance that box office underperformer Magic Mike XXL will make more than Fantastic Four at the domestic box office, which is insane beyond all belief.

At least fellow newcomer The Gift was strong in third place this weekend, with the low-budget thriller making $12 million, a great start for both Joel Edgertons directorial career at the box office and for new film studio STX Entertainment, who put together a most memorable marketing campaign for the feature. It's hard to say how this one will hold up in the weeks to come (typical horror films drop like a stone after their opening weekend, though they usually don't get this kind of positive buzz), but it's already a win for STX Entertainment at this point.

Interestingly, Vacation held solidly this weekend, coming in at fourth place with a 37% dip for a $9.2 million weekend haul. Frankly, after it severely underperfomed last weekend, such a dip feels a bit "too little too late", but since its grossed $37 million in its first 12 days, it should get a bit past $50 million by the end of its run. Meanwhile, Ant-Man rounded out the top 5 with a great 39% drop for a $7.8 million fourth weekend. The Marvel Cinematic Universe feature has now made grossed $147.4 million, and with no other blockbuster fare on the horizon, has a realistic chance of hitting a final gross totally north of $170 million.

Oh hey look! Minions, which made $7.6 million this weekend, became the fifth 2015 feature to gross over $300 million domestically. To boot, it hit an impressive overseas box office milestone this weekend by hitting an overseas box office total of $609 million, surpassing the $607 million Despicable Me 2 made internationally. What's really amazing about this is that Minions has yet to open in China, which should add a lot of cash to its overseas gross. Needless to say, those rambunctious minions will be hitting $1 billion overseas before long.

Ricki And The Flash opened with a whimper this weekend, only mustering $7 million for the weekend. No one expected Ricki to make over $100 million or something, but Meryl Streep has had a number of sleeper hits in August before, so it is disappointing, even in the films truncated theater count (it was only playing in 1600 locations) that it couldn't at least cross $10 million. Sony plans to add more theaters next weekend, though its hard to tell at this point if it has the sort of word of mouth to justify that sort of expansion.

Just below was Ricki And The Flash was Trainwreck, showing some strong stamina by only dipping 34% this time around. The film should close in on $100 million (it's currently grossed $91 million) shortly. In ninth place, Pixels lost 48% for a $5.4 million sum this go around for a $57.6 million total gross so far. It looks like the Adam Sandler movie will gross just under or over $70 million by the end of its run. And rounding out the top 10 was Southpaw, down 37% for a $4.7 million third weekend for a $40.7 total gross so far.

Aardmans stop-motion features have struggled in North America, aside from their debut feature Chicken Run (whose $106 million domestic haul at one point made it the biggest non-Disney animated feature of all time in America). But their newest feature, Shaun The Sheep Movie, which debuted just outside of the top 10, easily became the most lackluster performer of the studios output, only making $4 million domestically over its opening weekend. In terms of 2015 wide releases, only five movies (Blackhat, Do You Believe?, Little Boy, The Loft and True Story) have had worse debuts while being in wide release.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of this weekend has been the success of Dragon Ball: Resurrection F, which has become the ninth biggest animate feature in North America in just 5 days of release. Meanwhile in limited release, The End of The Tour was solid in an expansion to 36 theaters, generating $7,028 per theater for a $253,000 second weekend. Another limited release, Irrational Man, also got a theater expansion, though this Woody Allen movie managed to get into wide release. It didn't perform too well though, only generating $956 per theater for an $884,000 haul in wide release. Meanwhile, limited release newcomer, The Diary of A Teenage Girl, did well in 4 locations for a weekend haul of $55,000. Look for it to expand in the weeks to come, though Sony Pictures Classics reluctance to give any film that isn't directed by Woody Allen a wide release makes it doubtful that the film gets over 600 theaters in its run. Fellow limited release, Cop Car, fared so-so in its debut, only making $27,000 from three locations.

The Top 12 grossed only $119 million this weekend, the lowest Top 12 sum in over three months and down a substantial 33% from last year when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles won the frame.

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