Weekend Box Office: ‘Popstar’ Opened As Low As ‘Walk Hard,’ Maybe The World Doesn’t Deserve Good Spoofs

Topping the box office this week was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, with $35.25 million in domestic box office. That’s down 46% from its predecessor, despite a budget ($110 million) that was $10 million higher. Of course, that doesn’t include all the money they made from product placement, or box office returns from China, where the last one earned $62 million. Paramount also partnered with Alibaba to promote the film in China, where it opens July 2nd. And even if it doesn’t earn back its budget at the box office, it’s more an investment towards ancillary revenue streams (aka toys ‘n stuff) anyway. For the record, I thought it wasn’t terrible, far as giant toy commercials go.

Next up was X-Men: Apocalypse, which fell a precipitous 66% from its opening weekend but still ended up with $22.3 million. Domestically, it’s possible that it finishes with less in its entire run than Batman V Superman made in its opening weekend ($166 million), but thanks to strong showings in China and elsewhere, it’s already cracked the top 10 for the year.

In third place, Me Before You, the film in which Khaleesi falls for a handsome quadriplegic, scored a surprise $18.27 million, to go with a middling 56% recommended rating on RottenTomatoes. Audiences apparently didn’t agree, awarding it an A Cinemascore (TMNT scored an A-, incidentally).

Incredibly, Me Before You‘s opening quadrupled the next closest new release, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, which earned just $4.63 million. Adjusted for inflation, that’s actually worse than Walk Hard‘s $4.1 million opening in 2007, which is honestly the last spoof before Popstar I can remember being worth a shit (it’s worth noting that Popstar had a significantly lower budget, $21 million vs $35 million). Popstar‘s opening was worse than any of Seltzer-Friedberg’s unwatchable garbage (not including the last one which barely made it to theaters), which makes me wonder if maybe we just don’t deserve funny spoofs (and I said it was great before this interview, so I’m not just kissing ass).

Popstar earned a 78% recommended rating and a B Cinemascore from an ungrateful world. As for explanations of its poor performance, BoxOfficeMojo points out that young males made up 60% of the audience, and there was a lot competition for that demo this weekend (is there ever not?). Which could also explain why the only plausible example of counter programming, Me Before You, ended up outpacing expectations.

As for milestones, Zootopia became only the fourth animated movie ever to hit $1 billion in global box office (and the second movie of 2016). That soothes the sting of Popstar bombing, since Zootopia was wonderful, but only a little. In schadenfreude news, Alice Through The Looking Glass dropped 60% from its already bad opening this weekend, and may end up making less than the first one made in two days.

This weekend brings us The Conjuring 2, Now You See Me 2, and Warcraft, so I guess tough luck if you were hoping to see something that doesn’t involve sorcery. On the plus side, it’s a great time to catch up on Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Damn you, this is why we can’t have nice things.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows $35,250,000 $8,659 $35,250,000
2 X-Men: Apocalypse $22,325,000 (-66.1) $5,376 $116,498,000
3 Me Before You $18,270,000 $6,757 $18,270,000
4 Alice Through the Looking Glass $10,691,000 (-60.2) $2,841 $50,772,000
5 The Angry Birds Movie $9,775,000 (-47.9)
$2,806 $86,677,000
6 Captain America: Civil War $7,591,000 (-50.7) $2,461 $388,940,000
7 Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising $4,700,000 (-49.8) $1,945 $48,560,000
8 Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping $4,630,000 $2,003 $4,630,000
9 The Jungle Book $4,247,000 (-40.1) $2,134 $347,469,000
10 The Nice Guys $3,520,000 (-46.0) $1,864 $29,120,000

[chart via ScreenCrush]