Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pets Rule As Ghostbusters Get Off To Decent Start And Bryan Cranstons Drug Bust Movie, The Infiltrator, Is...Well, A Box Office Bust

Who ya gonna call? For audiences across the country, the answer was their pets, as The Secret Life Of Pets continued to rule at the box office, dropping 52% from its massive opening weekend for a $50.5 million cume bringing its domestic total to $203 million in just ten days. That's a harsher second-weekend decline than past summer animated movie hits like Despicable Me (which lost 42%), Inside Out (which also lost 42%) and even last month's Finding Dory (which lost 46%) which grossed $33 million more on its opening weekend. That's really only a minor point to make considering the gigantic numbers Pets is putting up and it should have no trouble crossing $300 million domestically in no time. Prepare for at least twenty more Pets movies folks.

In second place was Ghostbusters, a big box office question mark for months now that ended up doing....OK. It was neither a surprise hit or a box office dud to end them all. Ghostbusters grossed $46 million for its opening weekend, the biggest opening weekend for Melissa McCarthy and director Paul Feig. It's also the ninth biggest opening weekend of the year and only two other live-action titles this summer (Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse) have had bigger debuts. That opening weekend also puts it above the opening weekends for notable comedy hits like The Hangover, Ride Along and Grown Ups 2.

The problem for Ghostbusters is that it wasn't budgeted in a leaner manner like thos aforementionedd comedy hits but rather budgeted like a major summer blockbuster (albeit in a more reasonable manner compared to the more expensive pricetags of summer blockbusters like Warcraft and The Legend Of Tarzan). Interestingly, Sony primarily chose to market the film in a manner reminscent of Paul Feig's previous films (i.e. like a conventional studio comedy) instead of a more action-heavy conventional summer blockbuster marketing campaign that would align with the larger budget. For comparison's sake, this film has a $144 million budget, nearly two-and-a-half times the budget of the last Paul Feig movie, Spy. Improving on the opening weekend of Spy by only 55% with that large of a budget just isn't good enough for the property, especially given the lofty ambitions Sony/Columbia has for Ghostbusters sequels and spin-offs. The good news is that, since it's performing more like a comedy at the box office, Ghostbusters is likely to perform like many major comedies that get good word-of-mouth (for what it's worth, the audience at my screening seemed to absolutely adore the movie, a feeling I personally share) and stick around at the box office, so don't be shocked if it crosses $135 million at the domestic box office. But it's really gonna take international numbers to make this into a major financial success, and since it's likely going to be shut out of the lucrative market known as China, that's likely gonna be a challenge. Still, to be fair, this is notably better than the debuts of a lot of recent remakes (that 2014 RoboCop remake made only a tad more than this in its entire domestic run) and it did hold well over the weekend which seems to indicate its generating strong word-of-mouth.

In third place was The Legend Of Tarzan, which is sticking around decently by summer blockbuster standards. Dipping 47% for a third-weekend sum of $11.1 million, this jungle-set adventure has now grossed $103 million. Looks like Tarzan will skirt past $125 million domestically barring a massive drop-off in the next two weeks, a not great sum for the $180 million budgeted blockbuster but it's still way better than anyone ever thought it would do. Right beneath Tarzan was Finding Dory, which lost 47% in its fifth frame to gross another $11 million. Dory is now at $445.6 million domestically, putting it just above the $441 million domestic cume of Shrek 2 to become the biggest animated movie of all-time in America. Rounding out the top five was Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates, which dropped 55% from last weekend to gross another $7.5 million. Mike And Dave has now grossed $31.5 million in ten days, putting it just above the $31.1 million gross of Charlie St. Cloud and just below the $35.5 million gross of Dirty Grandpa in the grand scheme of Zac Efron's box office career. Look for Mike And Dave to gross just under or over $45 million in its domestic run.

The Purge: Election Day continued to slice and dice its way at the box office this weekend, dipping 52% for a third-weekend gross of $6 million and bringing its domestic cume to $71 million. It should surpass the $71.9 million domestic gross of The Purge: Anarchy sometime during the week to become the biggest entry ever in the series. Central Intelligence coninuted to be a box office standout, dipping only 34% to grab another $5.3 million for a current domestic total of $117.5 million.

There was actually another movie debuting in wide release this weekend, The Infiltrator, a Bryan Cranston drama that got off to a dismal $5.2 million start at 1,601 locations. Considering the movie cost $47.5 million to make, this opening is pretty much abysmal. The Infilitrator has taken in $6.7 million since Wednesday and will likely vanish from theaters super quickly. Don't be surprised if it makes just under $15 million in its domestic run.

The BFG had another major decline in its third weekend, dropping another 52% for a $3.7 million cume that brings its anemic domestic gross to only $47.3 million. Sultan, in its second weekend of release in America, dropped 58% for a $985,000 gross in this frame, taking its domestic gross to $5.2 million. It's also worth noting The Conjuring 2 became only the thirteenth movie in 2016 to cross $100 million domestically this weekend (Summer 2016 titles like Independence Day: Resurgence and Ghostbusters will also soon cross that nine-digit mark)

The newest Woody Allen movie, Cafe Society, got off to an incredible start this weekend, grossing $355,00 at 5 locations for a per-theater average of $71,000, the biggest per-theater average. This one's going into wide release on July 29th, and given the positive reviews its recieved and the dearth of notable dramas opening up in August, don't be surprised if this ends up sticking around and becoming one of this summers more notewrothy arthouse hits. Hillary's America, the newest film from convicted felon Dinesh D'Souza, also opened this weekend, though I'm unable to find box office numbers for it and fellow limited release newbie Equals at this time. I have been told, however, that Hillary's America got off to a strong start that was extremely front-loaded. Finally, Captain Fantastic in its second weekend of limited release play did OK, expanding to 36 theaters and grossing $277,321 for a per-theater average of $7,703. That's not a bad play, per se, but it's doubtful that's a good enough result to get it into a significantly wide theater count.

The Top 12 this weekend grossed $154 million, a 16% decline from this weekend last year when Ant-Man got its box office run started with a solid opening weekend.

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