This weekend is a ‘tweener: the fallow period that lies between franchise titles. Last weekend was “Spider-Man: Far from Home;” next up is “The Lion King.” And, despite the presence of “Aladdin,” “Toy Story 4,” and “Spider-Man,” which have combined total grosses of $950 million, this is the fifth straight weekend in which combined grosses are down from last year.
Major releases are still to come, but for now the seasonal take is 6% down from last year with a year-to-date shortfall of nearly 9%, or close to $600 million.
“Spider-Man” and “Toy Story 4” took the top two spots again, and most of the business despite two new wide (albeit lower-budget) releases. “Crawl” starred Kaya Scodelario in a thriller about a girl fighting alligators during a hurricane, and “Stuber” (a Disney-inherited Fox title) starred Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista in a buddy comedy about an Uber driver and a detective. Combined, the openers fell short of what “Toy Story 4” in its fourth weekend.
“The Lion King,” which is generating mixed-to negative reviews, opened in China this weekend to a strong $55 million — ahead of “The Jungle Book” and “Beauty and the Beast” in their starts, and better than the entire run of “Aladdin.” The 1994 original is not well known there, and the similarities are not as much an issue. Stateside, it’s expected to open to over $100 million — but given the critical backlash, Disney may have decided that opening in China was a good way to emphasize its box-office potential.
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On the surface, “Spider-Man: Far from Home” had a terrific second weekend based on its 51% drop, slightly better than normal for a huge opener. (“Spider-Man: Homecoming” in 2017 dropped 62% its second weekend.) However, that’s an uneven comparison: “Homecoming” opened on a Friday, while “Far from Home” debuted three days earlier, and grossed as much before the weekend as its Friday-Sunday take. The actual second-weekend drop for both titles is about the same.
“Far from Home” is up to $274 million domestic and should end somewhere between $350 million-$400 million. That would make it the best of the series (in adjusted terms)after the last decade’s three Sam Raimi titles. Worldwide, it will make over $1 billion.
The better of the two new wide releases was French genre director Alexandre Aja’s “Crawl.” Paramount isn’t competing this summer among the top franchises (it’s not a “Mission: Impossible” summer), but is trying to stay in the game with mid- to lower-budget titles. “Rocketman,” though not a breakout smash, should pass $95 million domestic, and reach $200 million worldwide.
“Crawl” cost a reported $14 million. Aja’s credits include “Piranha” and “The Hills Have Eyes” remakes, and his new film opened around the same range. A positive caveat: It managed a Saturday nearly equal to the Friday and Thursday pre-show results, which is good for a genre title. Despite the studio’s decision to limit critic screenings, reviews weren’t that terrible: On Metacrtitic, currently ranks slightly higher than “The Lion King.”
Michael Dowse, the director of “Stuber,” previously directed the indie films “Goon” (Magnolia) and “What If” (CBS Films). Orphaned in the Fox acquisition, it’s another Disney title that the studio would never make for theatrical release.
The Bautista and Nanjiani pairing appears to be an attempt to replicate the “Ride Along” formula, with some awareness of class and economic issues thrown in. That’s gutsy for a wide studio release, more so for the summer. It needs better than the trending-negative reviews it received.
Like “Far from Home,” the apparent below-average drop for Ari Aster’s “Midsommar” of 46% — terrific for a horror film, let alone one that doesn’t connect with many viewers — needs to be looked at in context of its Wednesday opening. Had it been a Friday debut, with much of the first two days’ business going into the weekend, it would have fallen more.
That said, the film has made over $18 million, with enough heft to hold most of its dates and aim at a healthy (in context of budget and anticipated post-theatrical life) $25 million domestic total. That’s good enough to prove that Aster has avoided a sophomore curse.
As usual, the lack of breakout new release aided a number of holdovers. The best again is “Aladdin,” off only 22%, and still in over 2,500 theaters after eight weeks. “Yesterday” also continues to impress, down only 33% and giving Danny Boyle’s romantic comedy a shot at $70 million domestic.
The Top Ten
1. Spider-Man: Far from Home (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #1
$45,300,000 (-51%) in 4,634 theaters (no change); PTA (per theater average): $9,776; Cumulative: $274,529,000
2. Toy Story 4 (Disney) Week 4; Last weekend #2
$20,665,000 (-39%) in 4,210 theaters (-330); PTA: $4,909; Cumulative: $346,370,000
3. Crawl (Paramount) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 59; Est. budget: $14 million
$12,000,000 in 3,170 theaters; PTA: $3,785; Cumulative: $12,000,000
4. Stuber (Disney) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 43; Est. budget: $16 million
$8,043,000 in 3,050 theaters; PTA: $2,637; Cumulative: $8,043,000
5. Yesterday (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #3
$6,750,000 (-33%) in 2,755 theaters (+141); PTA: $2,450; Cumulative: $48,317,000
6. Aladdin (Disney) Week 8; Last weekend #5
$5,873,000 (-22%) in 2,557 theaters (-201); PTA: $2,297; Cumulative: $331,490,000
7. Annabelle Comes Home (Warner Bros.) Week 3; Last weekend #4
$5,550,000 (-41%) in 3,209 theaters (-404); PTA: $1,730; Cumulative: $60,760,000
8. Midsommar (A24) Week 2; Last weekend #6
$3,552,000 (-46%) in 2,707 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,312; Cumulative: $18,406,000
9. The Secret Life of Pets 2 (Universal) Week 6; Last weekend #7
$3,100,000 (-34%) in 2,320 theaters (-526); PTA: $1,336; Cumulative: $147,137,000
10. Men in Black 4 (Sony) Week 5; Last weekend #8
$2,215,000 (-41%) in 1,612 theaters (-1,104); PTA: $1,374; Cumulative: $76,484,000