“Captain Marvel” continued its dominance with a $69 million second weekend. The 55 percent second weekend drop is on par with the most recent “Avengers” and “Thor” entries; by contrast, “Wonder Woman” and “Black Panther” each dropped about 44 percent in their second outings.
Of all moviegoers this week, about half went to see “Captain Marvel.” That left the total gross, which will end up somewhat above $140 million, about $10 million above the same weekend last year. That’s two up weekends in a row after a long string of inferior three-day totals. That brings the year-to-date drop to just under 19 percent, with a total take lagging by about $460 million from where things stood in 2018.
The domestic take so far for the Brie Larson starrer is up to $266 million 10 days in, with over $400 million (about where “Wonder Woman” ended up) looking certain. The foreign take of $494 million brings worldwide to $760 million. That makes the film the #1 for year in combined revenues, taking over from the massive Chinese smash “The Wandering Earth” (most of its take domestic), which has taken in almost $700 million.
In a movie calendar that increasingly encompasses a broader swath of prime-defined playtime, “Marvel” had the third-biggest second weekend ever (with adjusted numbers; without, Disney claims #2). The number also betters than any other opener this year by $14 million.
These numbers show both the positive and negative of such a success. The turnaround in the year-to-date trend and the large crowds coming to see it are the obvious positive. The negative is in the rest of the weekend’s results.
Three new wide releases appealing to discrete audiences — “Wonder Park” for families, “Five Feet Apart” for young adults, and “Captive State” for sci-fan fans — opened wide to a combined gross that’s roughly half of “Marvel.” Throw in the Spanish-language, American-made “No Manches Frida 2,” which grossed $3.9 million in fewer than 500 theaters and the result is a combined $36 million. That’s hardly a special number for March; about 30 films have opened at that gross or higher over the past 10 years.
But studios these days resist slating all but the most guaranteed films against a Marvel Studio release, which means the weeks before and after as well. The lack of films capable of finding a normal-level audience then leads to a total that, though an improvement from last year, still suffers.
“Wonder Park” in the middle of the spring vacation period is logical counterprogramming, and with a $100 million budget, hardly a minor entry. It’s the gross that is minor, particular with its expense.
Animation is less core to struggling Paramount than other studios (their past entries coming from previous handling of Dreamworks and ties with Nickelodeon). This gross is ahead of their in-house “Sherlock Gnomes” a year ago by about 50 percent, but low for a wide release of a studio animated film. The company’s lack of presence in animation, the lack of franchise attachment, and unencouraging reviews all took their toll.
The CBS Films production “Five Feet Apart,” released by Lionsgate, topped expectations with huge support from the core female audience. The 82/18 percent gender gap is close to as high as it gets (45 percent under 18 also stands out for a non-kids oriented release). And the A Cinemascore suggests a possible strong word-of-mouth push could see this get a multiple in the four to five times range — similar to titles like “Love Simon” and “Everything, Everything.”
The story here — a romance between two teens whose illness precludes physical contact — is the sort of mid-level film crucial to keeping theatergoing from being more than just a blockbuster enterprise. It is right up the alley of what CBS Films was created to provide (“The Woman in Black,” “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” “Last Vegas.”) They went from a free-standing distributor to a partner with Lionsgate for releasing their films. Sadly, the company is transitioning to providing films for the parent company’s streaming service ahead. That serves as a real sign of the future.
Focus straddles the line of specialized and wide release, more often than not with aplomb. They’ve been busy of late with the Spanish “Everybody Knows,” “Mustang” platforming this weekend, and a limited wide release of “Greta” two weeks ago. This wide release of this urban-set alien thriller comes from director Rupert Wyatt, whose two most recent films — “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “The Gambler” — came from 20th Century Fox and Paramount.
At $25 million, it’s not the level of project that studios back most of the time. But unlike “Five Feet Apart,” it doesn’t have the economy or core appeal to have much hope unless all elements — including some degree of critical support — come together. Otherwise, it’s tough to expect an audience to choose this over “Captain Marvel,” which is aimed at the same broad group. Again, this kind of film will continue to be risky for theatrical play.
“No Manches Frida 2” came from Pantelion, another Lionsgate partner. The comedy (which translates to “No Way Frida”) is American-made but Spanish language. The gross is just about the same in similar theaters as the 2016 initial effort. That’s impressive — and add to that a placement and gross of $700,000 above “Captive State,” though playing in 2,000 fewer theaters.
Totally off the radar was the limited national play of “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” (Warner Bros.). We have no gross to report, even an estimate, nor even knowledge of how many theaters it is playing at. Though no date has been announced, ITunes is offering pre-orders of $19.99, suggesting the start of a near-term home availability. It played at major AMC locations across the country — the top circuit in the country that refuses to play “Roma,” but has a history of renting (four-walling) some screens for films that violate standard 90-day windows.
The best of the holdovers otherwise were “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” and “A Madea Family Funeral,” with both sequels keeping their decline to a little more than a third. The presence of only one major hit at the moment is helping both films.
The Top Ten
1. Captain Marvel (Disney) Week 2; Last weekend #1
$69,318,000 (-55%) in 4,310 theaters (no change); PTA (per theater average): $16,083; Cumulative: $266,214,000
2. Wonder Park (Paramount) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 46; Est. budget: $100 million
$16,000,000 in 3,838 theaters; PTA: $4,169; Cumulative: $16,000,000
3. Five Feet Apart (Lionsgate) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 52; Est. budget: $7 million
$13,150,000 in 2,803 theaters; PTA: $4,691; Cumulative: $13,500,000
4. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend #2
$9,435,000 (-35%) in 3,727 theaters (-315); PTA: $2,507; Cumulative: $59,068,000
5. A Madea Family Funeral (Lionsgate) Week 3; Last weekend #3
$8,085,000 (-35%) in 2,350 theaters (-92); PTA: $3,440; Cumulative: $59,068,000
6. No Manches Frida 2 (Lionsgate) NEW
$3,894,000 in 472 theaters; PTA: $8,250; Cumulative: $3,894,000
7. Captive State (Focus) NEW – Cinemascore: C-; Metacritic: 49; Est. budget: $25 million
$3,163,000 in 2,548 theaters; PTA: $1,241; Cumulative: $3,163,000
8. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Act (Warner Bros.) Week 6; Last weekend #4
$2,135,000 (-45%) in 2,046 theaters (-884); PTA: $1,043; Cumulative: $101,320,000
9. Alita: Battle Angel (20th Century Fox) Week; Last weekend #5
$1,900,000 (-41%) in 1,696 theaters (-678); PTA: $1,120; Cumulative: $81,822,000
10. Green Book (Universal) Week; Last weekend #6; also on Video on Demand
$1,277,000 (-49%) in 1,320 theaters (-777); PTA: $967; Cumulative: $82,621,000