Three words you shouldn’t hear this weekend: comic book fatigue. With the last five films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe opening to $100+ million weekends, does the streak being broken by Ant-Man and the Wasp‘s $76 million engenders a downturn in interest for superheroes? Not quite.
It is true that Ant-Man and the Wasp is in the bottom five openers for the MCU (16th out of 20) but you know what else is? Ant-Man, which opened to $57.2 million in July 2015. (At that point Marvel’s $100 million openings consisted of both Avengers films and the Iron Man sequels.) Consider the leaps that each of the Marvel films made from original-to-sequel. Iron Man and Thor had similar bumps in opening weekends with 29.9% and 30.4%, respectively. Captain America’s Winter Soldier had a 46% jump over The First Avenger and the second Guardians of the Galaxy had a massive 55.3% boost, aided by moving Vol. 2 out from the original’s August frame to being Summer 2017’s opening film. Wasp falls right in the middle of these with a healthy 32.8% growth over original Ant-Man.
Commuted skeptics can certainly look at Wasp‘s robust $11.2 million on Thursday night (more than Wonder Woman, Winter Soldier and Doctor Strange), and then notice that it had the lowest opening of any Friday opener that made eight digits in night-before previews. Wasp is establishing a path to be somewhere around $140 million through next weekend and should have no problem crossing the $200 million threshold. (Only two films – out of 95 – have failed to reach that number after an $75+ million opening: X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Fifty Shades of Grey.) That will make Ant-Man and the Wasp the 16th MCU film to reach the $200m milestone, while passing Solo to become the 6th highest-grossing film of 2018.
Meanwhile, Incredibles 2 has just crossed the $500 million mark with the 7th largest gross for a film after 24 days. It is just $12 million behind the pace of Marvel’s The Avengers and is targeting the $600 million mark. That means Disney would then hold six of the nine films to reach that milestone ever, and the third to do so just in 2018, after Infinity War and Black Panther. And in other blockbuster news, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has crossed the billion dollar mark worldwide, while on target to reach $400 million domestically.
This is the fifth weekend this summer that a documentary has made it into the top ten grossers. Magnolia’s RBG spent two non-consecutive weeks there and now the 99%-Tomatometer doc about Fred Rogers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is doing it for the third straight week. And it’s only getting stronger, as Focus recognizes people are showing up and adding theaters every week, including another 239 this weekend. That’s a total of 893 theaters for a $2.6 million in 9th place. Neighbor is now the 24th highest-grossing documentary ever.
Documentaries spending multiple weeks in the top ten are rare feats. Those that matched Neighbors‘ three weeks are One Direction: This Is Us, Dinesh D’Souza’s 2016: Obama’s America, and Michael Moore’s Sicko. Four-weekers include Disneynature’s Earth and Chimpanzee, Michael Jackson’s This Is It, and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. All-time top-grossing doc Fahrenheit 9/11 spent six weeks, while second all-time grosser March of the Penguins is champ with a nine week residency in the top.
The First Purge is, well, the first Purge film to open mid-week on a Wednesday. The previous films opened to $34, $29.8 and $31.5 million, respectively. And each grew final returns from $64.4 to $71.9 to $79.2 million. The latest Purge has made $31 million in five days, well below the previous installments’ $40, $36.7 and $40.4 had during the same time frame. Diminishing returns are frequently moot points when it comes to Blumhouse movies, though The First Purge is the costliest film of the batch with a whopping $13 million budget. How long until a date is set for The Second Purge?
Boots Riley’s Sorry To Bother You exploded with an estimated $717,302 this weekend for the largest per-theater-average on the chart at $44,831. All eyes will be on the film when it goes wide next week; Annapurna hopes to have one of the biggest hits out of all the Sundance acquisitions this year. Sorry’s total was just slightly higher than Neon’s documentary, Three Identical Strangers which made $717,008 and crossed the million dollar mark while upping theater count to 51. Roadside, hoping to ride the summer doc wave, just missed the Top Ten with Whitney, which made $1.25 million on 452 screens. Bleecker Street added 28 theaters for Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace and averaged $11,500 per screen. It’s total stands at $800,422
Spider-Man: Homecoming was the sole opener of the weekend and started with $117 million for a $26,915 per-theater-average. A24’s A Ghost Story nearly matched that with $26,008, albeit on just four screens. But Lionsgate’s expansion of The Big Sick muscled up a $10,971 average in 326 theaters. The top ten in 2017 took in $198.3 million (with an average 66.9% on the Tomatometer) while this weekend’s haul was an estimated $177.3 million (with a 71.8% average.)
With Skyscraper hoping to lure away the older boys and Hotel Transylvania 3 going for families, it will be a real test for the word-of-mouth on Ant-Man and the Wasp. Signs point to the animated film winning the battle of the newbies and it will require a strong 2nd-weekend hold for Marvel to retain the top spot. Also starting its run in limited release will be Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade. A24 has already had a very nice summer with Hereditary’s grosses and they are hoping to turn this into another indie hit of the season.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]