“Mission: Impossible – Fallout” (Paramount) sailed to a surprisingly easy repeat #1 this weekend, dropping only 43 percent. Its $35 million gross was $10 million ahead of the modest opening of Disney’s latest live action remake, “Christopher Robin.”
That’s a terrific performance for the latest Tom Cruise franchise installment. Similar to earlier entries, this “Mission” is propelled by strong word of mouth and a likely multiple far better than most sequels that open to $50 million or higher.
Cruise at 56 is a decade younger than Harrison Ford in the last Indiana Jones film, “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” but unlike Ford, Cruise is even more central. An overwhelmingly positive response to the film on social media after initial viewings yielded a strong result. (Metascore: 86.)
How strong? It’s the best second weekend hold for a wide studio release since June’s 25 percent drop for “Book Club.” But that film opened to just $13.5 million, so it’s not really comparable.
It is also the best hold for any of the “Mission” films (excluding “Ghost Protocol” which opened IMAX only and then played Christmas weeks). The second weekend is ten percent ahead of “Rogue Nation” in 2015 (which fell 48 percent) after opening initially just slightly better.
“Rogue” ended up with a 3.5 times multiple from its opening (anything over three for a higher level start is excellent). With the even better second weekend hold, “Fallout” looks poised to hit over $200 million domestic. Add over $200 million in international take so far (China yet to open) and Paramount’s nearly $180 million production investment (plus marketing) looks safe. And Tom Cruise has staged yet another comeback.
Marc Forster’s “Christopher Robin” got a strong reaction from those who saw it (A Cinemascore) but its $25 million start is nothing special considering the studio’s ownership of this kind of fantasy family effort. The $75 million estimated production cost before marketing requires if not a higher start than a very strong hold, along with good foreign returns. (The film opened in scattered non-prime countries to about $4 million.) By comparison, “A Wrinkle in Time” opened $7 million better — outside the summer vacation premium window.
That Fox Searchlight went wider than usual last fall with specialized biopic “Goodbye, Christopher Robin” didn’t help. “Christopher Robin” also follows the two similar ursine “Paddington” films, which played better overseas; the sequel was a January hit. “Christopher Robin” opened better than both, but coming from the Disney stable and opening against little competition, it’s a disappointment. Two years ago, Disney’s lower-profile “Pete’s Dragon” opened slightly lower against another animated film, adult-skewing “Sausage Party.”
The other two wide openers were both female-directed and targeted to women. “The Spy Who Dumped Me” (Lionsgate) is another R-rated comedy in the vein of Melissa McCarthy vehicle “Spy” and the farcical “Austin Powers” series. “Saturday Night Live”s Kate McKinnon joined with Mila Kunis with a $12,350,000 result, far lower than expected. With a $40-million budget, this looks to struggle to reach $30 million domestic, with its cast hardly surefire marquee draws overseas.
20th Century Fox
“The Darkest Minds” (20th Century Fox) cost a little less ($34 million) but at under $6 million grossed nearly $10 million less. Its appeal is young adult/female, but that audience is inclined to reject the overly familiar, of which this seems like a prime example. A franchise is not in the cards, but Amandla Stenberg (upcoming “The Hate U Give”) is a star on the rise.
Both of these, apart from their women directors, also stand apart as original films. With “Christopher Robin,” this marks a rare week with three new original entries. That they all were less than sensational openings speaks to where things stand with audiences these days.
Not making the Top Ten was Dinesh D’Souza’s “Death of a Nation” (Pureflix). Getting a presidential pardon for his federal felony conviction didn’t include a get-out-of-movie-box-office-jail card. D’Souza’s previous far-right fantasy documentaries have previously done strong business — adjusted, his “2016 Obama’s America” reached nearly $40 million, “America” and “Hillary’s America” were both in the neighborhood of $15 million. This film makes a case that Donald Trump is the modern day Abraham Lincoln and similar original notions, and debuted to $2,350,000 in 1,005 theaters, by far the weakest of his films. It will be lucky to get to double that.
This as per usual was a good weekend for holdovers with their fate related to the strength of new openings. Except for the 53 percent drop for the second weekend of Warner Bros.’ “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” (down 53 percent and not long for this world), the rest of the longer-run titles in the Top Ten dropped under 40 percent. The best was “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (Disney) at 29 percent, though this was helped slightly by its play with “Christopher Robin” in some drive-ins.
That combination also seems to have been the key to “Black Panther” (Disney) hitting the $700 million mark, high for the year and ahead as well as any film the two previous years. It’s the best raw total for any Marvel or other comic book movie and remains just shy of the adjusted best (“The Avengers” at $706 million).
The Top Ten
1. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Paramount) – Week 2; Last weekend #1
$35,000,000 (-43%) in 4,395 theaters (+9); PTA (per theater average): $7,964:; Cumulative: $124,487,000
2. Christopher Robin (Disney) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 59; Est. budget: $75 million
$25,003,000 in 3,602 theaters; PTA: $6,941; Cumulative: $25,003,000
3. The Spy Who Dumped Me (Lionsgate) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 51; Est. budget: $40 million
$12,350,000 in 3,111 theaters; PTA: $3,970; Cumulative: $12,350,000
4. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (Universal) – Week 3; Last weekend #2
$9,090,000 (-40%) in 3,359 theaters (-155); PTA: $2,706:; Cumulative: $91,336,000
5. Equalizer 2 (Sony) – Week 3; Last weekend #3
$8,830,000 (-37%) in 2,725 theaters (-663); PTA: $3,240:; Cumulative: $79,886,000
6. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation – Week 4; Last weekend #4
$8,200,000 (-33%) in 3,162 theaters (-843); PTA: $2,593:; Cumulative: $136,456,000
7. Ant-Man and the Wasp (Disney) – Week 5; Last weekend #6
$6,188,000 (-29%) in 2,233 theaters (-780); PTA: $2,771:; Cumulative: $195,469,000
8. The Darkest Mind (20th Century Fox) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 38; Est. budget: $34 million
$5,800,000 in 3,127 theaters; PTA: $1,855; Cumulative: $5,800,000
9. Incredibles 2 (Disney) – Week 8; Last weekend #7
$5,009,000 (-31%) in 1,802 theaters (-814); PTA: $2,780:; Cumulative: $583,141,000
10. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (Warner Bros.) – Week 3; Last weekend #5
$4,860,000 (-53%) in 3,188 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,524:; Cumulative: $20,785,000