Wide releases went zero for three this weekend with two of those openers continuing the summer’s franchise-fatigue trend. For better or worse, with the number of entertainment options available at home, the threshold for summer movies has been raised, and it takes more than a familiar property and a few recognizable stars to sell a movie. The film actually has to be good, too.
Unfortunately, while I still maintain that Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson can be a potent combo (see Thor: Ragnarok), their previous onscreen chemistry did not translate into Men in Black: International, which opened with a meager $28.5 million, even less than last week’s box-office bomb, Dark Phoenix ($32 million). Reviews for the F. Gary Gray film were not kind (25 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), which probably erected a fairly sizable barrier to entry, dooming — along with the mediocre marketing — the film from the outset. The $26 million represents the lowest gross for a Men in Black film, following three entries from Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones that all scored over $50 million.
Sony probably wishes it had gone with the Men in Black/21 Jump Street crossover instead, although they at least kept the cost down on MiB: International, which cost only $110 million to produce compared to the $220 million cost of the previous entry. The good news, at least, is that MiB: International was tracking much better overseas, where it earned $73 million, so profitability is not completely out of the question, even if the film did flop in the States.