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‘Cars 3’ is Stuck in Neutral, But ‘Wonder Woman’ and Tupac Shakur Come To the Rescue

This was a "Rough Night" for the box-office weekend, in more ways than one.

SIMULATED SPEED — Tech-savvy trainer Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo) is armed with cutting-edge tools—like a racing simulator—to help turn racers-in-training into champions. But Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) isn’t a fan of Cruz's high-tech techniques and decides instead to return to his roots—bringing his skeptical trainer along for the ride. Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 3” opens in U.S. theaters on June 16, 2017. ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

“Cars 3”


What matters now is whether it can sustain interest for a long run. “Compton” did 80 percent of its business on the domestic side, and it had theheft of Universal behind it (though director F. Gary Gray with “Furious 7” has grossed more than $1 billion outside the U.S., by far the most for any black director).

The unofficial budget figure (Lionsgate didn’t produce the film) is around $40 million, with more targeted marketing likely keeping expenses lower than many wide films. There is an argument to expand: Its per-theater average is second best of the weekend, only $1,600 less than “Cars 3” (which had the benefit of 3D revenues). But despite an impressive opening, the producers likely will still need to fight to achieve that goal.

“47 Meters Down” was reportedly on the verge of going to DVD and VOD release after Weinstein’s genre division Dimension declined to release it theatrically. The film’s British producers (it was made in the Caribbean and England) lucked out when Bryon Allen’s growing Entertainment Studios (which owns Freestyle Releasing, rising to the wide-release occasion with ease) acquired it.

A Mandy Moore-starring retread of a sharks-in-attack story needed careful, committed handling, and got it. This is a case of a week where general-audience thrills hit the right chord against multiple niche and high concept/franchise entries. It had the second-best hold Saturday among openers (only the matinee-driven “Cars 3” did better). With a $5,000 PTA (it had the fewest theaters of any new film) it not only opened far better than expected, but also likely put it in position to play more than just a nominal second weekend.

This domestic showing will give it more credibility as it opens elsewhere around the world, far more than what a VOD run would have provided.

Columbia Pictures

“Rough Night” Has a Rough Weekend, and Sony Needs Three Hits Soon

“Wonder Woman” continues to hurt other female-centered films, or at least those that receive the critical disdain that this one did. The bachelorette party-gone-very-bad comedy has a female director and a cast that included Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon and Zoe Kravitz. But it didn’t help.

This is not unlike Fox’s  “Snatched” a few weeks back with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, which also went the R-rated “Bridesmaids”/”Hangover” route to a $19 million opening and a $45 million run, with minor foreign results. “Rough Night” cost less ($20 million the reported budget), but that’s about what it will earn stateside, and not much more overseas.

It won’t be a major loss, but Sony needs more than minor losses. Sony has not had a $100 million domestic film since “Ghostbusters” almost a year ago. Certainly “Spider-Man” will break that streak in three weeks (although it will need much more). But their summer, and future, may be defined by how Edgar Wright’s hotly anticipated “Baby Driver” performs, as well as the very expensive would-be franchise starter “The Dark Tower.”


That “Wonder Woman” dropped only 30 percent drop in its third weekend means it is gaining an even stronger foothold in theaters and could rank at of near the top among summer releases.

The Mummy” at 56 percent down didn’t collapse, but it will struggle to stick around through Independence Day. (Overseas, it remains at number one.)

Two Disney titles — “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” — both managed to drop only 21 percent, with increased per-theater averages from last weekend. The best explanation is both films have gotten enough good response to attract those less keen on other films (or having already seen them).

As expected, “Megan Leavey” (Bleecker Street) held much better (-40 percent) than “It Comes at Night” (A24) which dropped 56 percent. “It Comes” edged it out for 10th place, but don’t be surprised if “Megan” ends up close to equal with longer play.


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