Sunday, August 23, 2015

Straight Outta Compton Rules The Box Office Again While Sinister 2 And Hitman: Agent 47 Miss The Mark

Well, those late August doldrums have officially set in, with Straight Outta Compton ruling over one of the weakest weekends of the year. Though three new releases entered the marketplace, none of them got over $12 million and all underwhelmed relative to middling expectations. That meant F. Gary Grays rave-reviewed N.W.A. biopic got to hang onto the top of the box office again, dipping 56% and grossing $26.7 million in its second frame for a $111.4 million total.

It looks like Compton is heading for a $170-180 million total domestic gross, an incredible haul that outgrosses a large number of much larger budgeted summer 2015 fare (namely, Terminator: Genisys, Pixels and even hits like San Andreas and Mad Max: Fury Road). Another strong holdover came in at second place this weekend, that holdover being, of course,  Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation, which made $11.7 million over its fourth weekend. Man, this movies just showing remarkable stamina at the box office, isn't it? The spy feature has currently accumulated $157.7 million domestically, and with minimal competition on the horizon, has a small but credible shot at grossing $200 million in its domestic run.

Ever since it was announced, I've been wondering why Sinister 2 was chosen as a viable project financially. Yes, the project was cheap to make, but would there really be a rush to see a follow-up to a three year old movie that didn't leave a massive pop culture impact? Yes, there was a long gap between Insidious 1 and its successful sequel, but that one got a boost by having the director of both movies (The Conjuring) helm summer sleeper smash hit The Conjuring in between both features, boosting the profile of both the director and his works. By comparison, the director of Sinister 2 didn't have that success to his name, and like I said, the first Sinister was never popular Insidious.

My suspicions turned into reality this weekend as Sinister 2 underwhelmed with a $10.6 million opening weekend. a 41% decline from the opening weekend of the first movie. That $10 million budget sure is looming now, huh? The Labor Day holiday will give this one a minor boost in two weeks time, but horror movies typically fall like a stone, so it'd be surprising if this Blumhouse production got above $26 million in its domestic run.

In fourth place, an attempt to reboot the Hitman "franchise" (if it can even be called that) went awry, as Hitman: Agent 47 only grossed $8.2 million for the weekend. In the grand scheme of video game movie opening weekends, that debut puts it just above the $8 million opening of Silent Hill: Revelation 3D and right alongside the $8.2 million opening of Pokemon 3: The Movie. Considering the dismal reviews and the middling marketing it received, it's almost a wonder Hitman: Agent didn't have a worse opening weekend.

Rounding out the top five was The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which had a solid dip of 45% for a $7.3 million second weekend. If the movie had a better opening weekend, that drop would be truly impressive, but alas, its lackluster debut means such a dip feels more than a little "too-little-too-late". The Guy Ritchie period set spy film has now made $26.6 million and will likely creep past $40 million when all is said and done.

In sixth place was the final nationwide release of the weekend, American Ultra. With a dearth of comedies in the marketplace, it did feel like there was a slim chance for this Jesse Eisenberg/Kristen Stewart vehicle to break out and scratch the itch for audiences craving some more light-hearted fare. But Lionsgates marketing never brought the memorable gags in the TV spots or trailers necessary for any comedy to get on peoples radar. This led American Ultra to gross a measly $5.5 million for the weekend, a number surprisingly behind the $5.7 million opening weekend of the last Eisenberg/Stewart vehicle, Adventureland.

Thanks to none of the new releases leaving an impression, a trio of holdovers managed to hold incredibly well over this weekend. In seventh place, The Gift made $4.3 million for a surprisingly strong 34% hold. This thriller is bucking the box office trend of most Blumhouse Productions (which consists of those features vanishing from theaters after opening weekend) and is sticking around thanks to strong word-of-mouth. The Joel Edgerton feature has now made $31 million and should easily surpass $40 million in its domestic gross.

Ant-Man also had a strong hold this weekend, coming in at eight place and only losing 26% for a $4 million weekend. This leggy summer blockbuster has now made $164 million at the domestic box office, and with no competition and Labor Day weekend on the horizon, still has a lot of cash to go. And in ninth place, those Minions continued to bring home the bacon, losing only 28% for the weekend for a $3.7 million haul. The Despicable Me spin-off has now grossed just under $320 million domestically. Finally, Fantastic Four barely cracked the top 10 with a $3.6 million gross this weekend that was a 56% plummet from last weekend. The movie has now made $49.6 million in its domestic run and is going to struggle to get past $60 million.

Also of note at the box office this weekend; Trainwreck got past $100 million this weekend while Inside Out surpassed the domestic box office total of Finding Nemo to became the second biggest PIXAR movie of all-time domestically. Finally, Amy surpassed While We're Young to become the third biggest movie in this history of A24. Three of the studios five highest grossing movies come from the year 2015 (the third 2015 film being Ex Machina and the other two features being Spring Breakers and The Spectacular Now).

Meanwhile, some limited releases this weekend stirred up some mighty business. Grandma, from director Paul Weitz, made $120,856 from four theaters for a $30,214 per theater average. That's really solid business actually that should warrant further theater expansion in the coming weeks. Learning To Drive (a new film starring Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley) also opened to decent results, grossing $67,417 from four locations.

The Top 12 movies this weekend grossed $90 million, which is down 12% from last year, though a bit above average for this time of year (this gross, for instance, was exactly on par with the same weekend from 2013 and up from the same in 2012).

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