When it comes to new movies word of mouth giveth and word of mouth taketh away. If “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” benefited from strong reviews and positive audience reaction last weekend it's clear “Fantastic Four” will suffer a different fate because of negative response over the current three-day frame.
The Josh Trank directed picture (we'll set aside the argument if he's truly disassociated himself from the film for another day) opened to $11.3 million on Friday. That means the superhero reboot could do anywhere from $27-29 million depending on Saturday's take. Considering pre-release polling showed a potential $50 million plus debut at one point this is nothing but a disaster domestically for 20th Century Fox. It doesn't help that the movie scored a rare C- Cinemascore grade with moviegoers. With a reported production budget of $125 million, “Fantastic Four” will have to be a monster overseas to even come close to breaking even.
“Rogue Nation,” a movie that's actually doing fantastic business, landed in second place with another $8.2 million million and $87.4 million in just eight days. The fifth installment in the franchise is significantly ahead of “Ghost Protocol” at this juncture and should hit the $100 million by end of day Sunday With “Straight Outta Compton” and “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” the only real competition on the horizon, “Rogue Nation” could benefit from moviegoers looking for an escape before “Black Mass” hits theaters in September.
Debuting in second place was Joel Edgerton's directorial debut, “The Gift.” The dramatic thriller took in $4.1 million for what could be a $10 million weekend. The first official STX Entertainment release, “The Gift” is on of the best reviewed films of the summer and earned a somewhat head-scratching B Cinemascore. Still most expect it to have a long shelf life and potentially cover it's $2.5 million budget and additional marketing costs while still in theaters.
The rest of the top five included “Minions” ($2.2 million and $257.5 million so far), “Ant-Man” ($2.25 million and $141.8 million to date) and “Vacation” ($2.65 million and $30.8 million in just 10 days). Where the three flicks will land by end of day Sunday is too close to call at this point, but “Minions” and “Ant-Man” are expected to get a Saturday matinee boost.
Debuting at no. 6 was Jonathan Demme's “Ricki and the Flash” with Meryl Streep. The rock and roll drama earned mixed reviews (although this writer was a fan) and $2.25 million on its opening day. Sony Pictures decided to open “Flash” in just 1,603 theaters (vs. 2,320 for “The Gift”) and is looking at $7-9 million for the three-day. It will expand into more theaters next weekend as Sony hopes for good word of mouth with older audiences.
This weekend's last new release, Aardman's “Shaun the Sheep Movie,” earned massive critical acclaim, but had a tough time striking a chord with American audiences. “Shaun” took in just $1.2 million on Friday and has earned only $2.7 million since debuting on Wednesday. The film's financiers shouldn't be too worried. It's already made $62.4 million worldwide since beginning its rollout in the UK this past February. Don't be surprised, however, if it ends up making the Best Animated Feature cut when the Oscar nominations are announced in January.
Look for a complete weekend run down tomorrow on HitFix.
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