Conventional studio thinking doesn’t leave room for a contemporary film set in an entirely Asian milieu to reach even $100 million, and “Crazy Rich Asians” will pass that number sometime early next weekend. And with a tiny box-office drop of six percent in its second weekend, it could see a total domestic gross as high as $200 million.
The film opened on a Wednesday, so weekend-to-weekend comparisons aren’t the same as a normal Friday opener. But those numbers are nearly as good, a little more than nine percent down, and that’s phenomenal. It suggests a momentum that could mean that substantial gross remains ahead, and broadened interest that will come from publicity and word of mouth. (Of note: 73 percent of the audience was non-Asian this weekend.)
Next weekend will also see the benefit of a holiday release with Labor Day weekend. There’s not much competition, either; studios usually ignore it. Historically, those films doing well see a pickup for the four-day holiday, by at least 20 percent and often more. (Last year, the third weekend of “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” climbed about 30 percent.) If “Crazy Rich Asians” sees a four-day gross of $30 million next weekend, after adding a likely $12 million during the precedent weekdays, it would stand at nearly $120 million.
That trajectory would place it ahead of “The Help,” 2011’s sleeper August smash. Tate Taylor’s film opened one week earlier in the month, so had a bit of an edge in better playtime. But it ended up (adjusted) at $198 million. “The Help” also opened on a Wednesday, and its second five days fell 26 percent. That was an excellent hold, and suggested a lengthy run ahead.
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September is no longer a dead zone. “The Nun” (also Warner Bros.) has high expectations on September 7, though there will be plenty of room for both to thrive. But don’t be surprised to see “Crazy” in the top three films for at least a few weeks.
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Until recently, Melissa McCarthy reigned as the biggest draw in comedy. She stars in and produces “The Happytime Murders,” which tries to combine a retro-Muppets film feel (director Brian Henson is the son of Jim) and a “Sausage Party” raunchy comedy feel. With a $10 million opening, it didn’t work. This is her worst wide opening since she rose to prominence around 2010.
Even worse is “A-X-L,” a family-oriented tale set in the world of robotic dogs; it couldn’t even manage $3 million in 1,710 theaters. Global Road, which was formed with seemingly solid backing and top industry veterans with its initial release earlier this year, has been taken over by investors. This won’t help their future. The company also canceled the upcoming “City of Lies” with Johnny Depp; this might be more a result of their financial standing than the quality of the film.
Even so, this was a great box-office weekend of $100 million, up from $69 million this time last year. “The Meg” retained the #2 spot with a 38 percent drop. Another rare non-franchise studio release (though hardly original) is up to $105 million domestic, with $408 million so far worldwide. That’s with one major territory (Japan) yet to open, making $500 million in reach. That will push it into a decent profit, even with its $130 million budget (before marketing).
Already at $538 million worldwide, “Mission-Impossible: Fallout” (Paramount) — with China still to open — continues its very strong domestic run with only a 26 percent fifth weekend drop. After “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Incredibles 2,” it is only the third film this summer to be among the top four in its fifth weekend. It needs about $28 million to reach what “Rogue Nation” grossed (adjusted) three years ago.
“Christopher Robin,” helped by the dearth of family alternatives, dropped only 28 percent. It held in better than its mediocre opening, and already has exceed a three-time multiple over its opening. $100 million now seems not impossible.
“BlacKkKlansman” also continues to stay strong, dropping 28 percent. Spike Lee’s film has reached $32 million, with $50 million plausible, terrific for the $15-million budget film.
Last week’s two openers fell much more. Peter Berg’s Mark Wahlberg starring “Mile 22” dropped 56 percent and won’t reach $40 million, unexpectedly soft for what has been a strong partnership. “Alpha” kept its drop to 46 percent, but it won’t move much above $30 million.
The Top Ten
1. Crazy Rich Asians (Warner Bros.) Week 2 – Last weekend #1
$25,010,000 (-6%) in 3,526 theaters (+142); PTA (per theater average): $7,093; Cumulative: $76,818,000
2. The Meg (Warner Bros.) Week 3 – Last weekend #2
$13,030,000 (-38%) in 4,031 theaters (-87); PTA: $3,232; Cumulative: $105,301,000
3. The Happytime Murders (STX) NEW – Cinemascore: C-; Metacritic: 29; Est. budget: $40 million
$10,020,000 in 3,256 theaters; PTA: $3,077; Cumulative: $10,020,000
4. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Paramount) Week 5 – Last weekend #4
$8,000,000 (-26%) in 3,052 theaters (-430); PTA: $2,621; Cumulative: $193,901,000
5. Christopher Robin (Disney) Week 4 – Last weekend #6
$6,340,000 (-29%) in 3,394 theaters (-208); PTA: $1,868; Cumulative: $77,629,000
6. Mile 22 (STX) Week 2 – Last weekend #3
$6,030,000 (-56%) in 3,050 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,713; Cumulative: $25,171,000
7. Alpha (Sony) Week 2 – Last weekend #5
$5,600,000 (-46%) in 2,719 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,060; Cumulative: $20,161,000
8. BlacKkKlansman (Focus) Week 3 – Last weekend #7
$5,345,000 (-28%) in 1,914 theaters (+126); PTA: $2,793; Cumulative: $32,038,000
9. A-X-L (Global Road) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 34; Est. budget: $10 million
$2,939,000 in 1,710 theaters; PTA: $1,719; Cumulative: $2,939,000
10. Slender Man (Sony) Week 3 – Last weekend #8
$2,785,000 (-42%) in 2,065 theaters (-293); PTA: $1,349; Cumulative: $25,403,000