Warner Bros.’ The Meg dropped 56% from its surprising $45 million start to concede the number one slot this week – but don’t feel too bad for the studio. This week they released Crazy Rich Asians and it has been winning the box office since it opened on Wednesday, taking in $34 million across its first five days and $25.2 million from Friday to Sunday. Director Jon M. Chu, responsible over the years for helming sequels in franchises like Step Up, G.I. Joe, and Now You See Me, may have finally started a franchise himself with two more Kevin Kwan books out there waiting to be adapted. It’s early to make a call on whether those adaptations will make it to the big screen, but with this kind of buzz and first-week returns, we’re betting on a green light.
Since 2005, some 56 films have opened to more than $5 million on a Wednesday. Crazy Rich Asians is the latest, with $5,013,478 on its opening Wednesday, which helped add to its $34 million five-day total. That’s a more-than-solid start for the $30 million-budgeted film. What does this mean for its likely overall gross? For starters, in that same period since 2005 there have been 26 films to open on Wednesday between $4-$6 million. Only six of them managed to reach the $100 million mark: True Grit, David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Passengers all got a December holiday boost; the animated Rise of the Guardians got a similar boost, opening just before Thanksgiving. That leaves only two summer films to have completed the trek: last year’s Baby Driver and, perhaps more relevant, The Help.
Led by a strong female cast, The Help made $35.9 million in its first five days in August and went on to become a late summer sensation to the tune of over $169 million. Those are some lofty expectations to put on Crazy Rich Asians – even though word-of-mouth and critical reaction have been strong – so let’s look at the other August films on that list of $4-$6 million Wednesday openers and what they made in their first five days: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 ($19.6 million), Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters ($23.2 million), Let’s Be Cops ($26.2 million), World Trade Center ($26.5 million)
Crazy Rich Asians is currently ahead of all of them, and Let’s Be Cops ended up being the low point of the set with a final gross of $82.3 million. That’s an easy number to aim for at the moment and with a weak August still ahead, $100 million is not out of the question for CRA. Chu’s film is also just the sixth wide release of the summer to generate a Tomatometer of 90% or higher, joining Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Sorry to Bother You, Incredibles 2, and Teen Titans Go to the Movies.
Sony and Studio 8 had delayed Albert Hughes’ Alpha (formerly known as The Solutrean) for nearly an entire year. This probably had less to do with its quality (it is sitting at 83% on the Tomatometer) and more to do with not knowing how to market a Paleolithic family film with zero English spoken in its runtime. The $10.5 million it made this weekend was right in line with projections, but will hardly help in recouping the budget, reportedly between $55 and $60 million. Word of mouth and those strong reviews though could give it more staying power than the first-weekend haul suggests.
Have you heard of the film Billionaire Boys Club? It is available now on VOD and will be on DVD September 18, but it was also released in eight theaters this weekend. With eight reviews counted so far, it is at 13% on the Tomatometer; that’s an embarrassing figure, but nothing compared to the headline-line-grabbing $287 it made on Friday and Saturday. That’s right: $287! Roughly $36 per theater. If the title sounds familiar, you may be thinking of the 1987 film of the same name, which features Judd Nelson and Ron Silver in the roles played by Baby Driver co-stars Ansel Elgort and Kevin Spacey in the new movie. We’re not expecting any kind of Spacey comeback anytime soon.
Jon Turteltaub’s The Meg had 53% of its audience eaten this weekend, bringing its total to over $83 million. The lowbar final gross for a film to make that much in its first 10 days is M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, which finished with $114 million in 2004. Every other film to make that much money in the same amount of time has grossed at least $125 million. The latest Mark Wahlberg/Peter Berg collaboration, Mile 22, landed with a bit of a shrug. Still, its $13.6 million opening is better than the expansion of their last effort, Patriots Day, and the budget of $35 million is not exactly huge. The overseas box office will be fascinating on this one: Wahlberg, when in the lead role, has never reached $100 million at the foreign box office when he is not paired with taking Autobots, teddy bears, or apes; but the addition of co-star Iko Uwais, a martial arts superstar from his Raid films, may give this one a greater chance. Mile 22 has so far has grossed $538,000 overseas.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is having no issues on the foreign or domestic front, hitting the half-billion mark this weekend (with China still on the horizon in two weeks). A $200 million domestic haul is a foregone conclusion – Christopher McQuarrie’s film has its sights set on becoming the fourth highest-grossing film of the summer and the second of Tom Cruise’s career, behind just War of the Worlds. Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman had a very reasonable 35% drop after Focus added 276 theaters to its run. With $23 million earned so far, it is 30th on Focus’ all-time list and is currently ahead of the pace of the studio’s 2005 August release, The Constant Gardener (which is 19th all-time box office earner for Focus). It looks likely to become Lee’s third highest-grossing film ever behind Inside Man and Malcolm X.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard led the way with $21.3 million and would become the second-highest grossing film to open in August with $75 million – Annabelle: Creation led the month with $102 million. Steven Soderbergh’s return to the big screen with another heist movie was not as successful. Logan Lucky opened in third place with $7.6 million (less than half of what Annabelle made in its second weekend) and finished with less than $28 million. The total box office of the Top 10 on this weekend in 2017 was $75.6 million with an average just-Fresh Tomatometer of 60%. This year, the Top 10 grossed an estimated $103.8 million and the Tomatometer average is 65.8% .
Next weekend, the son of Jim Henson brings another puppet movie to the big screen, only this time with violence, sex, and swearing. STX is hoping The Happytime Murders could be an August hit the way Sausage Party was a few years ago, and it has a legitimate shot to take the top spot. It certainly won’t be too troubled by A.X.L., Global Road’s latest release destined for a less-than-$10-million opening.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]