Weekend Box Office: ‘Apes’ Solid, Kumail Nanjiani’s ‘The Big Sick’ Opens Well

It’s no surprise that War for the Planet of the Apes took the top spot at the weekend box office. The big question is whether the third installment in the trilogy would give way to franchise fatigue like so many other franchises have this summer (Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers, Alien). With a $57 million opening weekend, it falls well short of the second installment, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ($72 million), but it’s about even with the first installment, Rise of the Planet of the Apes ($54.8 million). Solid reviews and great word of mouth should also give Rise solid legs, especially as the movie skews older and the 35+ set is less anxious about seeing a movie on opening weekend. With only two major blockbusters left this summer (Dunkirk and The Dark Tower), it should also have plenty of runway to continue performing solidly for 20th Century Fox through August.

$150 to $200 million is well within reach domestically, and this franchise performs even better internationally (Dawn scored $500 million overseas), so it should easily earn a profit for its studio, which (presumably) knew exactly when to stop, concluding the trilogy with a near-perfect ending. Hopefully, no one at 20th Century Fox gets the idea to force a fourth movie.

While the Planet of the Apes franchise is winding down, the third iteration of the Spider-Man is just getting started, and in its second weekend, Spider-Man: Homecoming continues to perform solidly, adding $47 million to bring its ten-day total to $210 million (and it’s performing just as well overseas). Marvel has another hit on its hands, and it finally gives Sony a movie franchise it can count on after a string of disappointments (Ghosbusters, Men in Black 3 and the fading/ending Resident Evil and Underworld franchises). It’a amazing what a great script and Robert Downey Jr. can do.

Third-week holdovers occupy the third and fourth positions this week. Despicable Me 3 continues to perform well, adding $19 million to bring its domestic total to $188 million. It’s also earned more than $430 million overseas. Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is also holding well and making a case for the sleeper hit of the summer. It added another $8.7 million and is quietly approaching $75 million on a $40 million price tag.


Meanwhile, a huge congratulations to Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, whose The Big Sick expanded nationwide this weekend and earned $7.5 million. Including its limited run, it’s now earned $15 million after being purchased for $12 million out of Sundance. It’s the best romantic comedy of this decade, so far, and I am hopeful that it can jumpstart the genre again and ultimately make Nanjiani a leading man. It really is such a great movie, and in my demo (35+ married folks) it has been the most anticipated movie of the summer, and the first “date” movie in months, if not longer. At least in my area, The Big Sick has been a boon for babysitters.

In sixth place, Wonder Woman added $6.6 million to bring its total to $380 million, and it should overtake Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($386 million) for the second highest grossing film of 2017 by next weekend.

Ryan Phillippe’s low-budget horror entry, Wish Upon, didn’t do so hot in its opening weekend. generating a meager $5.6 million on a $12 million budget. Bad reviews didn’t help, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

The rest of the top ten looks like this: Cars 3 ($2.9 million, $139 million cume); Transformers: The Last Knight ($2.7 million; $124 million); and The House with $1.8 million as it makes its way out of the top ten with a paltry $23 million.

Next week, we’ll see just how big Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk will be, plus Luc Besson’s $200 million movie, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Regina Hall will counter-program with Girls Trip.