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Top 10 Takeaways: ‘Ted 2’ Disappoints, Is the Summer Box Office Past Its Peak?

Top 10 Takeaways: 'Ted 2' Disappoints, Is the Summer Box Office Past Its Peak?

After two hyperbolic weekends, the superlatives have subsided. But despite the real disappointment of “Ted 2,” which fell far short of its expected shot at Number One, the totals are on the whole positive. Going forward, we’re back to a week to week story ahead, with no guarantees.

“Jurassic World” and “Inside Out” remain stunning, while “Ted 2” seems strange indeed. The other opener — the service dog drama “Max” — came in as expected, but it is going to take a second week to see if word of mouth makes Warners’ heart of summer placement a smart move. More on that next week.

The Top 10

1. Jurassic World (Universal) Week 3 –  Last weekend #1
$54,200,000 (-49%) in 4,198 theaters (-93); PTA (per theater average): $12,911; Cumulative: $500,000,1000
2. Inside Out (Buena Vista) Week 2 – Last weekend #2
$52,128,000 (-42%) in 4,132 theaters (+186); PTA: $12,616; Cumulative: $184,495,000
3. Ted 2 (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Criticwire: C+; Metacritic: 49; est. budget $85 million
$33,000,000 in 3,429 theaters; PTA: $9,587; Cumulative: $33,000,000
4. Max (Warner Bros.) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Criticwire: B-; Metacritic: 47; est. budget $20 million
$12,210,000 in 2,882 theaters; PTA: $9,587; Cumulative: $12,210,000
5. Spy (20th Century Fox) Week 4  –  Last weekend #3
$7,800,000 (-30%) in 3,194 theaters (-364); PTA: $2,442; Cumulative: $88,351,000
6. San Andreas (Warner Bros.) Week 5  –  Last weekend #4
$5,275,000 (-39%) in 2,620 theaters (-557); PTA: $2,013; Cumulative: $141,871,000
7. Dope (Open Road) Week 2 –  Last weekend #5
$2,862,000 (-53%) in 1,851 theaters (-151); PTA: $1,546; Cumulative: $11,776,000
8. Insidious Chapter 3 (Relativity)  Week 4 –  Last weekend #6
$2,025,000 (-50%) in 1,612 theaters (-941); PTA: $1,256; Cumulative: $49,816,000
9. Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Bros.) Week 7 –  Last weekend #8
$1,735,000 (-43%) in 971 theaters (-463); PTA: $1,805; Cumulative: $147,058,000
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron (Buena Vista) Week 9 –  Last weekend #9
$1,643,000 (-%) in 1,097 theaters (-565); PTA: $1,498; Cumulative: $452,428

The Takeaways

Is the Force Still With the Summer Box Office?

After two straight weekends that surpassed any in total gross over the past two years, the market returned to normal levels. The $171 million Top Ten total is about the same as this time last year (which saw the $100 million debut of “Transformers: Age of Extinction”). To put this in context, only three weekends last summer did better, so if this marks a “slump,” it’s hardly an early negative indicator. The surprise comes from the shortfall in “Ted 2,” which was reasonably expected to take in at least a third more than it did. 

“Jurassic World” and “Inside Out” continue to dominate, and handily nabbed the top two slots — both over $50 million — by default. When both have done so much business, short of repeats, there’s a limit on how much more they can do. Which makes their strong grosses even more impressive.

“Jurassic” after 17 days is at $500 million (and already over $1.2 billion worldwide, with China now open). Despite the challenge from “Inside Out,” it maintained the top spot to become the first summer film to be #1 for three straight weeks in the summer since 2012 (“The Dark Knight Rises”), and the first to do so entirely within the super competitive June-July window since 2006 (“Dead Men’s Chest” and “Cars.”). It has grossed $43 million more during the same period as “Avengers” in 2012, which had less competition. Its drops –which should be higher than normal as a huge grosser — are at the low end for something this big.

“Inside Out” is covering itself with glory at the same time, despite the irrelevance of not reaching #1. Here’s how impressive it is: the only Pixar film to open better – the presold franchise entry “Toy Story 3”- – also opened in June, and fell more (46%) than the 42% drop this time, despite more 2015 general audience competition. That’s telling and a very good sign. (“Toy” did $59 million its second weekend.)

So the total take remains healthy even without the big increases seen the last two weeks.

“Ted 2,” the Fly in the Ointment, or the Canary in the Coal Mine?

The relative failure of any single film never assumes greater weakness, but the dramatic shortfall of “Ted 2” is a reason for concern, with plenty more sequels and updates of uncertain appeal ahead this summer, with “Magic Mike” and “Terminator” next week for starters.

Second sequels of hit films (and “Ted” at over $200 million domestic was huge) tend to open close to or above the first go round. To be down nearly 40% in similar summer playtime, and the main competition coming from two family oriented films, is startling. Here are some other grim comparisons — “Dumb and Dumber To” in early November last year, two decades after the initial movie and with Jim Carrey hardly a big draw these days, opened to $37 million compared to “Ted 2” at $33 million. “22 Jump Street” (certainly helped by summer play time unlike the earlier film, also a high-concept R rated male-oriented comedy), did $57 million last year, compared to “21”‘s  $32 million. Though generally scorned by critics (unlike “Ted” initially) “Grown Up” stayed steady around $42 million both times. All three “Hangover” films opened at the same May playtime — and did $44 million, then $86 million and back to $41 million. This is why it seemed like a slam dunk that this should at least approach $50 million.

If there is recent precedent, it might come from two other 2015 comedy releases that also opened under expectations. “Paul Blart Mall Cop 2” came in about 25% below the earlier hit, although it had a longer than usual gap between films. And though not a sequel, Melissa McCarthy’s “Spy,” like “Ted 2” R-rated, opened noticeably below her other recent similar successes (it has gone on to hold very well).

“Ted 2” fit clearly into a formula that made it seem like a success — popular original that then went on to a big multiple and long term cable popularity, marketing that emphasized fresh elements, placed on a good date with nothing immediately competing among its male audience (59% of its initial ticket buyers). So what happened?

Yes, the reviews weren’t as good, this once again shows the decline in the size of the core younger male audience. And women who are interested in comedies had and still have “Spy.” And perhaps most worrisome, audiences in general are becoming more selective about the sequels they rush to. Next week’s results for “Magic Mike XXL” and “Terminator Genysis” will help to clarify this.

Holdovers in Brief

Another strong week, apart from the top two. “Spy” only fell 30% and now looks to make it over $100 million (after a $29 million start). “San Andreas” only dropped 40%. Both films are now losing many lower-grossing theaters, making their holds even better. “Mad Max Fury Road” and “Avengers Age of Ultron” both fell a bit more, but each lost almost a third of their theaters (“Mad Max” will pass $150 million soon, though likely isn’t going to do the $500 million worldwide needed to guarantee a profit). Lagging, and both dropping just over 50% are “Insidious Chapter 3” (which has actually held better than most horror films) and “Dope.” The latter actually held better than expected (unusually for a wide release, it lost 151 weak theaters its second week), but at least it has enough heft to hold on to enough better-grossing runs to make it to $15 million or so, higher than seemed possible last weekend.

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