No surprise, but Ocean’s 8 easily won the weekend box office, earning exactly as box-office tracking suggested it would: Between $40 and $45 million (the exact number was $41.5 million). Interestingly, the gender-flipped continuation of the Ocean’s series not only debuted with the highest opening weekend of the franchise (besting the $39 million earned by Ocean’s 12), but it earned similar numbers to the gender-flipped reboot of Ghosbusters, which opened with $46 million. However, while the 2016 Ghostbusters was ultimately considered a disappointment (tapping out with $129 million), Ocean’s 8 will be considered a big win for Warner Brothers.
The difference? It’s all about the budget. Ocean’s 8 earned back more than half of its budget ($70 million) in its opening weekend stateside while Ghosbusters earned only slightly more than one-third of its budget ($144 million) in its opening weekend. Budget matters, which is why a $41.5 million opening for Ocean’s 8 will be celebrated by the Brothers Warner while the $84 million opening of Solo: A Star Wars Story is seen as a major disappointment. It helps, too, that Ocean’s 8 should have strong legs throughout the month, as one of the few choices outside of traditional blockbusters for older adults, who are more likely to wait until the second and third weekends to see a movie.
Audiences and critics likewise received Ocean’s 8 warmly, though not ecstatically. It received a fresh score from Rotten Tomatoes (69 percent) and a solid but not spectacular B+ from Cinemascore. The cast — including Anne Hathaway, Sandra Bullock, and Cate Blanchett — was the big draw, and females turned out in huge numbers, representing 69 percent of the audiences (compared to 55 percent female for the Ocean’s sequels starring Clooney and Pitt, meaning it was already female-skewed). Better news still is that Ocean’s 8 — like the previous Ocean’s movies — is likely to play even better overseas, where its release will be staggered over the coming weeks.