After the unimpressive debuts last weekend of Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Amy Schumer’s Snatched, the summer box office heated back up again with the release of Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant. But the results were a mixed bag for Fox.
The good news is Alien: Covenant easily led the weekend with roughly $36 million over the three-day frame. That opening was good for the third highest opening among the eight films in the Alien franchise. The bad news is, it’s $15 million less than what the last film in the franchise, Prometheus, put up on its opening weekend, and two million less than the $38 million opening weekend of 2004’s Alien Vs. Predator. In other words, Covenant played like a sequel, and when the original — in this case, Prometheus — only ended up with $126 million, it doesn’t bode particularly well for the long-term prospects of Covenant, which may struggle to reach the $100 million mark on a $110 million budget.
In other words, while Covenant‘s performance was OK stateside, it didn’t provide the kind of numbers one would like to see for a franchise hoping to add more sequels. However, Prometheus did nearly 70 percent of its business overseas, and if Covenant can match that (and it’s already added $62 million before opening in China), it should eke out enough profit to ensure another installment in the series.
There are a few things Covenant still has going for it. It’s well-liked by critics (it sits at 73 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and it should continue to perform well over the Memorial Day weekend despite competition from both Baywatch and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. One thing that it has going against it, however, is a lackluster B Cinemascore, which portends less than enthusiastic word of mouth. That’s the same Cinemascore that Prometheus received, and Prometheus hasn’t held up particularly well with moviegoers, especially hardcore fans of the franchise. The franchise is also suffering from some brand confusion, as it is a sequel to a prequel and casual Alien fans are probably wondering where the hell Sigourney Weaver is.
Meanwhile, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues its impressive run, falling to number two this weekend but still putting up a tidy $33 million in its third weekend. That gives James Gunn’s sequel about $300 million, so far, good enough for the second highest-grossing film of the year, behind only Beauty and the Beast (which clung to the lower rungs of the top 10 with around $2.6 million, which is $2 million shy of the $500 million mark). Globally, Guardians will also cross $700 million this week.
Third place this weekend went to Everything, Everything, the YA romance entry of the summer. It opened with around $12 million, which is well short of the $48 million that Fault in Our Stars earned in its opening weekend in 2014, but in line with another John Green adaptation, Paper Towns from 2015. It’s also only $2 million short of what Edge of Seventeen earned in its entire run last year, proving that the young female demographic still remains elusive for Hollywood studios. Middling reviews didn’t help, but an A Cinemascore should keep Everything, Everything in theaters for a few more weeks despite an onslaught of summer competition.
The weekend’s other new release, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul , didn’t fare particularly well at all, amassing only $7 million, good for 5th place this week. The Wimpy Kid movies are made on the cheap (around $20 million), but they have little upside in the international market, so The Long Haul may be the last installment we see of the series. That’s probably for the best: Reviews were terrible (17 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and the all new cast gives Long Haul the feel of a straight-to-streaming knock-off.
Fourth and sixth place this week were held by the two entries last week, Snatched and King Arthur, respectively. Snatched had a decent enough hold for a Mother’s Day comedy, adding $7.6 million to bring its total to around $33 million, still short of its $42 million price tag. King Arthur, however, continues to badly limp at the box office, adding only $6.6 million to bring its total to less than $27 million on a $175 million production budget. That is hugely disappointing, and unfortunately, international box office isn’t doing much to bail it out yet (it’s only earned $35 million overseas, and it has already been released in China).
Holdovers occupied slots seven through ten this week. The Fate Of The Furious is up to $219 million, so far; Boss Baby is up to $166 million; Beauty and the Beast, as mentioned, is up to $498 million, and in at number ten, How To Be A Latin Lover has almost reached the $30 million mark for Ken Marino (yes, that Ken Marino).
There’s not much else to report this weekend, but next weekend is shaping up to be a good one with Guardians and Alien: Covenant taking on Baywatch and Pirates of the Caribbean. Johnny Depp’s recent box-office has not been good, but we’ll see how he holds up within the confines of the Disney franchise.