3rd update Friday PM after 2nd midday post: The only film that moviegoers care about this weekend is Paramount/Skydance’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout which is landing the top spot with a great second weekend of $34.3M, anda super hold of -44% (besting Rogue Nation‘s -49%) closing in on a 10-day stateside cume of $123.6M.
Most of the new competition looks to be missing its tracking marks, a result one rival distrib boss called “The dog days of August.” The truth is we’re not seeing a DC or Marvel title here on the calendar, or some other big four-quad movie because Fallout has secured all the Imax screens, and no studio will brave this month of back-to-school without ’em. September can’t get here fast enough as the business waits for New Line/Warner Bros’. Conjuring title The Nun to take us into the fall on Sept. 7.
In all fairness to Disney, they were seeing Christopher Robin in the $20M range, while most tracking services had the pic in the low-to-mid $30Ms. With an estimated $24.9M for the weekend and a solid A CinemaScore to counter that squishy 67% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score, Disney is likely content with the results of this live-action feature extension of their $6 billion Winnie-the-Pooh universe, and not just because it’s exceeding the opening of its previous August animated feature-turned-live actioner, Pete’s Dragon ($21.5M, A CinemaScore, and 3.5X multiple of $76.2M). One rival studio executive snarked that the slowdown in Christopher Robin‘s opening stemmed from Disney positioning the film toward adults more than hand-holders. However, we’ll see how much this spikes from weekend matinees. What’s clear is that, small children aside, the opening for Christopher Robin will outstrip the entire global cume of the last animated take on the bear-stuffed-with-fluff seven years ago, Winnie the Pooh, which only made $33.1M. So, right there, it shows that there’s a mainstream interest here for Disney’s Hook-take on Pooh.
Social Media observer RelishMix noticed that the online response to Christopher Robin had “fans of Pooh dabbing their eyes and putting hands on their hearts just watching the trailers. The film seems to have touched a nerve with sentimental moviegoers, who yearn for the days of their childhood. They want to share these feelings with their own kids and grandparents – or, some insist they’ll see the film alone if they must. Ewan McGregor and Hayley Atwell get a notable portion of discussion, as do specific characters like Pooh, Eeyore and all the pals in the Wood.” RelishMix says that Christopher Robin‘s 240.8M social media universe across all platforms is strong and exceeds the average reach for a live-action family film which is 189M. Average daily YouTube views for the top clips are 33,7K, which is also ahead of the standard 27,6K views. The movie’s official Facebook page is earning about 800 new fans daily, but that doesn’t count all the new fans for Pooh, Piglet and the other individual character pages that Disney has curated. “If Christopher Robin has an Achilles heel, it’s that its viral rate (EOR) is currently at a rate of 22:1, which is behind the usual 38:1 for a family film,” says RelishMix.
Moviegoers aren’t falling in love with the all-femme R-rated action pic The Spy Who Dumped Me which is estimated to take 3rd place with $12.1M. Unfortunately, the sublime comedic brilliance of Saturday Night Live‘s Kate McKinnon and the solid straight-woman shenanigans of Mila Kunis cannot make up for a movie that many audiences feel they’ve already seen, and we’re talking Paul Feig’s hysterical undercover send up from three summers ago, Spy, starring Melissa McCarthy. That was a loud, sassy, fun-filled deconstruction of the James Bond genre that stood heads and tales above the parody attitudes of Austin Powers. At a time when comedies are largely flailing at the box office we can’t afford to move the genre needle forward both critically and commercially with a retread. It’s the concept, not the stars, that’s the biggest hurdle here. Kudos to McKinnon and Kunis to working it as they’ve been out there hysterically promoting the film together with a Marie Claire video “How Well Do You Know Your Co-Star” game and a joint appearance on Ellen. RelishMix gives them thumbs up for stoking the fan engagement, as well as their funny, frantic” banter which is earning views. But social chatter was mixed on this femme 007 send-up, and further hurting The Spy Who Dumped Me were the critics who are dumping on the comedy about its uneven pace (it’s suffering from a RT of 37% Rotten). Audiences gave it a B CinemaScore tonight which is less than B+s earned by Spy and this summer’s other female fave, Ocean’s 8. “The movie runs out of plot and jokes well before the end of a two-hour running time, long for a light comedy,” says Globe and Mail critic Kate Taylor.
Another casualty of ‘been there-done that’ is Fox’s YA feature adaptation The Darkest Minds which despite being based on a popular YA novel by Alexandra Bracken is being criticized for being derivative of all the other younger sci-fi before it. RelishMix spotted the rioters on social who said that “Darkest Minds looks like a rehash of The Hunger Games and other recent YA fare, with some even likening the materials to the recent New Mutants and other X-Men offshoots. This contingent’s sentiment essentially asks, ‘What’s fresh about this adaptation?’ And, there’s certainly a notable portion of the novels’ fan base asking, ‘Why was this creative choice made?’ in regards to the book.” The result here: an awful $6.4M 7th place opening for this production which carries an estimated $34M. Because of the genre, Fox couldn’t keep it cheap like they did with their July 2015 YA adaptation of John Green’s Paper Towns, which at a cost of $12M before P&A, and a global haul of $85.5M, turned a solid $14M profit for Fox.
Dinesh D’Souza’s Death of a Nation is looking at $2M at 1,005 screens outside the top 10. Next to the filmmaker’s other titles and their wide breaks, this piece of Trump propaganda is at the low-end. Six years ago 2016’s Obama America made $6.5M at 1,091 locations in week 7 after being platformed. Hillary’s America two summers ago earned close to $4M at 1,217 in its second wide weekend after a three-theater debut and 2014’s America bowed to $2.7M at 1,105 venues after a three-theater first weekend as well. In regards to D’Souza’s domestic B.O. ranks, it’s Obama ($33.4M), America ($14.4M) and Hillary ($13M).
Nonetheless, despite the ho-hum of this weekend’s openers, it might just wind up to be a better FSS than a year ago when Sony/Media Rights Capital’s Stephen King movie The Dark Tower led all titles with $19.1M with all titles grossing $122.7M over three days.
Below the weekend’s B.O. based off industry estimates:
1st Update: Four films are tackling Paramount/Skydance’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout this weekend, however, the Tom Cruise title won’t go down without a fight as it hopes for a second weekend at No. 1 in the low $30M range.
In regards to previews last night, Disney’s live-action Winnie-the-Pooh tale Christopher Robin drew $1.5M from 7PM shows, a comp that’s around what Wrinkle in Time drew ($1.3M Thurs / $33M Opening Wknd) and higher than Steven Spielberg’s The BFG ($780K / $19M) and Lionsgate’s Wonder ($740K / $28M). Tracking has the Marc Forster-directed movie opening in the low to mid $30M range. Disney’s Pete’s Dragon from August 2016, which is an ideal comp here in regards to a non-musical Disney animated movie being turned into a live-action one, didn’t hold Thursday night previews when it debuted, and posted a Friday of $6.95M and opening weekend of $21.5M. Pete’s Dragon flew away with an 88% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, while Christopher Robin has a middling 62% fresh. Christopher Robin sounds a lot like Spielberg’s 1991 Hook in its plot: Older Christopher Robin has grown up and forgotten about his days in the Hundred-Acre Woods, hanging out with stuffed animals. It’s up to Pooh and the gang to rattle the guy out of middle age. Some are apt to also comp Christopher Robin to Peter Rabbit ($5.7M Friday, $25M opening); that Sony family film didn’t hold previews back in February.
Meanwhile, Fallout ended its week with $89.5M, 13% ahead of the first weekend posted by M:I’s Rogue Nation. Fallout grossed $5.6M yesterday, -11% from Wednesday.
Lionsgate’s all-femme R-rated action comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me made $950K last night, a figure that’s below the $1.5M earned by Melissa McCarthy’s Spy movie from three summers ago which posted a $10.3M Friday, $29M weekend. Spy Who Dumped Me is expected to gross in the mid teens this weekend. Anything north of $20M has been extremely hard in these post Bad Moms and Sausage Party times (that was two Augusts ago); Universal’s teen comedy Blockers being the exception this year with a $20M start. Spy Who Dumped Me expands to 3,111 screens today and has a 38% Rotten Tomatoes score. Hopefully interest by female audiences isn’t curbed by that.
Fox is opening The Darkest Minds, based on the Alexandra Bracken YA novel and the pic earned $550K from around 2,575 locations. That number is close to such YA fare as The Fifth Wave ($475K) and Everything, Everything ($525K). Tracking had the film in the high single digits, it will be lucky to do double digits this weekend. Saddled with a 13% Rotten Tomatoes score, The Darkest Minds has an X-Men like story about teens who develop powerful new abilities and are hunted by the government. 16-year-old Ruby, one of the most powerful ones, escapes her camp and joins a group of runaway teens seeking safe haven. They soon realize that running isn’t enough, and must wage a resistance.
Both The Spy Who Dumped Me and The Darkest Minds are directed by female directors, something worth noting this weekend with Chasing Life creator Susanna Fogel behind the Lionsgate comedy and Jennifer Yuh Nelson behind the Fox release.
Dinesh D’Souza’s pro-Trump movie Death of a Nation goes wide at 1,005 from Quality Flix. A low single digit result is expected. The propaganda film shows a history in which President Abraham Lincoln saved the nation from Democrats, and asks whether Trump can do the same again.
Other new releases last night include the documentary Rachel Hollis Presents: Made for More which played across 750 theaters comprised of Fathom’s U.S. venues and Cineplex Canadian theaters earning $713,8K, slotting a ninth place notch in the top 10 for Thursday. An encore in the US is on Aug 13 and in Canada on Aug. 5 before the $28K budgeted doc heads for streaming. The pic drew nearly 50K attendees with the second highest per-screen-average-attendance for that day. In addition, as a result of the social media posts by Hollis, more than 10K tickets were sold on the day of the event.
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