It was not a great weekend at the box office, as audiences continue to express apathy toward sequels that are not of the Marvel or John Wick variety. The year has been littered with misfires of the sequel and reboot variety, like Godzilla: King of the Monsters, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, Hellboy, and Happy Death Day 2U, and this week is no exception as two new films open dramatically lower than their predecessors.
The $47 million opening of The Secret Life of Pets 2 doesn’t look that bad in the abstract, given its reasonable $80 million budget and its vast potential worldwide (the original scored over $500 million overseas). However, the original earned more than double that amount stateside in its opening weekend, racking up $104 million back in 2016 on its way to $368 million in America. The sequel, however, might struggle to earn as much stateside over its entire run as the original made in its first three days.
This might have been something of a rush job for Illumination, as critics largely rejected it (52 percent on Rotten Tomatoes compared to the 73 percent for the first one). That said, the audiences who did go see it were satisfied, giving it an A- Cinemascore (the same as the original). However, given the number of options geared toward kids currently available — Toy Story 4 comes out in two weeks, and Aladdin and Detective Pikachu are still in theaters — a lot of parents may have simply opted to wait and watch this one when it is released digitally.