The weekend showed an unexpected uptick with three new films, led by $21 million for the Gerard Butler sequel “Angel Has Fallen.” It’s a positive sign, although not without mixed messages: The other two openers are low-budget originals with Sony’s faith-based “Overcomer” and the Fox Searchlight horror film “Ready or Not,” which grossed a total of not quite $19 million. The reinforces what’s already known: Given a choice, audience usually prefer the familiar.
With Butler reprising his role as a Secret Service agent extraordinaire, “Angel” follows the blueprint of “Olympus Has Fallen” in 2013 and “London Has Fallen” in 2016. The first was a sleeper, reaching close to $109 million adjusted. The third time around surprisingly opened to the same as “London,” and on a weaker date (the first two were March openings). It’s the first in this franchise for Lionsgate; the prior were the now-defunct FilmDistrict and then Focus.
It received a surprisingly strong A- Cinemascore, which is reflected a second-day drop of just 2%. It also reflects the mainstream interest in established action films, and Lionsgate effectively filled the space occupied by “Mission: Impossible” in some recent summers. Smart move, as well as a boost for Butler as a brand name. The last decade has seen him perform best in this series, but with a three-year break it wasn’t certain if he’d retained his appeal.
Released by Sony’s niche label Affirm in fewer than 2,000 theaters, “Overcomer” grossed more than many top-end specialized titles and set some kind of record with a rare A+ Cinemascore and a dreadful 17 Metacritic score (on a four-star scale, one star gets a film 25).
Faith-based films allow for very targeted marketing, and a studio-backed unit like Affirm can find its audience much more effectively than higher-end titles. By comparison, the flailing “Blinded By the Light” opened last weekend to slightly better than half while being in many more locations.
Minority actors lend to the appeal for both “Angel Has Fallen” (which has Morgan Freeman and Jada Pinkett Smith in key roles) and “Overcomer.” This appeals to a wider range of moviegoers than the expensive festival titles that have been recent flops.
Fox Searchlight, which will shortly return to its awards-niche lane, came through with the widest release in its history. (The likely source of that margin? Drive-ins.) “Ready or Not” opened Wednesday, to milk the late summer, but also in the hopes of pushing word of mouth. Its B+ Cinemascore (quite high for a genre/horror film — the successful “Midsommer” only had D+, despite its critical acclaim) suggested going early was the right choice.
The result was $10.5 million over five days, and $7.5 million for the three days. (“Midsommer” grossed $6.5 million in its opening weekend.) Whether Searchlight can sustain decent holds similar to A24’s film remains to be seen. Also to be determined: how new owner Disney responds to this result.
Last week’s openers had variable results. “Good Boys” dropped a normal 45% and the low-budget comedy is already at $42 million. It won’t replicate last August’s sleeper “Crazy Rich Asians” (which only dropped 6% its second weekend), but should end up with a decent return and enough to suggest a sequel.
“The Angry Birds Movie 2” held better (off 38%), but that’s not unusual for animated films. It still remains a disappointment; at $27 million in with a hardly extravagant $65 million budget, profitability will be challenging at best.
Both “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” and “Blinded By the Light” fell a bit over 50% and out of the top 10. Richard Linklater’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” which failed to even make last week’s chart, dropped 59% and likely will face a near-total theater wipeout next week.
Still sticking around, though down to 10th place, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” fell 35%, second best among holdovers after the ever-present “The Lion King.” Tarantino’s film has reached $123 million, and $240 million worldwide. It should end up selling the fourth biggest number of tickets his films (behind “Pulp Fiction,” “Django Unchained,” and “Inglourious Basterds”). The last adjusted grossed $145 million, just a little better than the final projections for “Once Upon a Time.”
The Top Ten
1. Angel Has Fallen (Lionsgate) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 45; Est. budget: $40 million
$21,250,000 in 3,286 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $6,467; Cumulative: $21,250,000
2. Good Boys (Universal) Week 2; Last weekend #1
$11,750,000 (-45%) in 3,353 theaters (+149); PTA: $3,504; Cumulative: $42,058,000
3. Overcomer (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: A+; Metacritic: 17; Est. budget: $5 million
$8,200,000 in 1,723 theaters; PTA: $4,759; Cumulative: $8,200,000
4. The Lion King (Disney) Week 6; Last weekend #3
$8,150,000 (-34%) in 3,300 theaters (-260); PTA: $2,470; Cumulative: $510,636,000
5. Hobbs & Shaw (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend #2
$8,140,000 (-43%) in 3,312 theaters (-445); PTA: $2,458; Cumulative: $147,701,000
6. Ready or Not (Fox Searchlight) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 63; Est. budget: $7 million
$7,550,000 in 2,855 theaters; PTA: $2,644; Cumulative: $10,578,000
7. The Angry Birds Movie 2 (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #4
$6,365,000 (-38%) in 3,869 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,645; Cumulative: $27,091,000
8. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Lionsgate) Week 3; Last weekend #5
$6,000,000 (-40%) in 2,927 theaters (-208); PTA: $2,050; Cumulative: $50,489,000
9. Dora & the Lost City of Gold (Paramount) Week 3; Last weekend #6
$5,200,000 (-39%) in 2,843 theaters (-182); PTA: $1,829; Cumulative: $43,100,000
10. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony) Week 5; Last weekend #8
$5,000,000 (-35%) in 2,209 theaters (-295); PTA: $2,263; Cumulative: $123,187,000