Weekend Box Office: A Crowded Weekend Brought Wildly Unpredictable Results

There was one thing that box-office prognosticators could count on this Father’s Day Weekend, and it’s that Pixar’s Cars 3 would knock Wonder Woman of its perch atop the box office. They were right, but it was much closer than many may have thought, and it’s also about the only thing box-office analysts got right about the five new releases this weekend.

Yes, Cars 3 did take pole position, leading the way with $53.5 million. It’s an OK figure, down from the $66 million opening weekend of Cars 2 and the $60 million opening of Cars. It’s also the fourth worst opening weekend ever for a Pixar movie, placing only above Ratatouille, The Good Dinosaur and the very first Pixar film, Toy Story. The domestic box-office hardly matters with the Cars franchise, however, because not only does the Cars franchise do better internationally (the second film scored 65 percent of its grosses overseas), but it makes most of its money in merchandising, having racked up about $10 billion in toys and t-shirt sales. It’s not a bad movie, either. It’s better than Cars 2 and on par with the first Cars flick, although all three Cars films are generally inferior to most of Pixar’s output.

Meanwhile, the race for the top spot was much closer this weekend than many would have predicted three weeks ago. That’s because Wonder Woman dropped only 32 percent in its third weekend, adding another $40 million to its gross to bring it to $274 million, so far. The Patty Jenkins’ film should surpass Man of Steel next weekend, and it has a very good shot at grossing more than both Suicide Squad ($325 million) and Batman vs. Superman ($330 million) to become the biggest movie in DC’s extended universe. As good as Wonder Woman is doing stateside, it’s performing even better internationally, where it should shoot beyond the $300 million mark by weekend’s end.

The weekend’s big surprise was the movie that came in at number three. It was not Rough Night, as many people predicted. Rather, the Tupac biopic All Eyez on Me surprised almost everyone by racking up $27 million in ticket sales. No one expected the film to perform as well as it did, especially given the poor reviews (25 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), its lengthy and difficult production history, and some negative word of mouth from the likes of Jada Pinkett Smith and 50 Cent. Some were predicting a straight-up flop. The film went through a few directors (including John Singleton and Carl Franklin) before settling with Benny Boon, and it even had difficulty landing a distributor. The film obviously exceeded expectations, which probably had a lot to do with the subject material and social media, which generated a lot of curiosity around the film that was both good and bad. Moviegoers clearly wanted to see what the fuss was about, and they ended up liking it a good deal more than the critics (it received an A- CinemaScore).

In at fourth place this weekend, Tom Cruise’s The Mummy took a tumble, generating only $13.7 million in its second weekend. While it is performing very well internationally (where about 75 percent of its receipts are coming from), it’s probably not enough to allow Universal to feel secure in the future of the Dark Universe franchise.

Fifth place didn’t go to Rough Night, either. That honor went to 47 Meters Down. The Mandy Moore shark film had been left for dead, originally scheduled for a straight-to-VOD release last August, but after the success of Blake Lively’s The Shallows, Entertainment Studios purchased it from Dimension Films and decided to release it theatrically. The gamble paid off. The film looks like it will make nearly $11 million this weekend on only a $5 million budget. Reviews from critics have been mixed, although audiences have hated it, giving it a C CinemaScore.

The weekend’s biggest disappointment is Scarlett Johansson and Kate McKinnon’s Rough Night, which some had predicted would at least challenge Wonder Woman for second place at the box office this weekend. It did not, coming in with only $8 million. Reviews were mixed, but like 47 Meters Down, audiences strongly disliked it (it received a C Cinemascore). I think audiences were expecting something closer to The Hangover than Very Bad Things, so I suspect the dead prostitute came as a surprise. Personally, I think it would have been a much better movie if it had decided to go darker with the comedy. Even with the dead body, Rough Night tries to keep the comedy too lightweight.

There was another major disappointment this weekend, as well. Book of Henry got terrible reviews and finished outside the top ten, despite opening on more than 500 screens. The film will probably create some concern with Disney, as director Colin Trevorrow has been hired to direct Star Wars IX. Trevorrow has also created waves this week by becoming the latest poster boy for the double standard in Hollywood when it comes to gender. At least the film has provided some hilarious reviews.

In holdover news, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales finished in seventh place with $8.3 million to bring its domestic take to $150 million (it has surpassed $600 million globally); Captain Underpants fell to eight place in its third weekend, as it approaches $60 million overall; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 added $4.7 million to brings its total to $375 million. Finally, A24’s excellent horror flick It Comes at Night rounds out the top ten with a $2.45 million weekend and a $10 million overall total.

Next weekend should be an interesting one. There’s only one major new release, Transformers: The Last Knight, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Michael Bay series can continue to put up huge numbers or if franchise fatigue sets in the fifth time around for the series. There are a couple of high-profile indies opening in limited release, as well. The Big Sick, a semi-autobiographical romcom from Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon opens in five theaters, while Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled opens in four. Both are getting scads of positive buzz.

(Via Deadline, Box Office)