The Fast & Furious franchise – now in presenting mode – continued a long tradition of dropping sharply in its second weekend, though Hobbs & Shaw still made enough to hold on for the top spot at the box office for at least one more week. Teenagers did actually come close to dethroning Statham and The Rock, but it was not the kids most expected to lead the way among five new wide releases.
Since the 50% drop of the surprise hit original back in 2001, the lowest drop among its sequels in their second weekend was the 59.1% for 2006’s Tokyo Drift. That was also the one film that didn’t feature Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, and it had the lowest opening ($23.97 million) and is the only film in the franchise to not gross $127 million or higher. It grossed $62.51 million, which Hobbs & Shaw nearly bested in its opening weekend. Nevertheless, the film – which had the sixth best opening of the series – dropped 57.7% from its first weekend, putting it in the league of the sequels which have fallen 59.1% to 63.9% over time.
That brings the film’s total to $108.5 million after 10 days, which is also the sixth best in the series, trailing the $116.49 million of the fourth entry, 2009’s Fast & Furious. That film made $27.23 million in weekend two (after a 61.6% drop) and finished with $155.06 million. Hobbs & Shaw is currently hovering just over Rise of the Planet of the Apes for the eighth best gross for an August release after 10 days, but that film also had a stronger second weekend with $27.83 million. The first spinoff of the Furious franchise is currently looking at a final gross between $150 million and $161 million. The global total for the $200 million production stands at $332 million.
CBS Films, under the Lionsgate banner, look like they may have a little hit on their hands. The $25 million production Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark had a strong start with a $20.8 million opening. Lionsgate has had a back-and-forth summer, first with the weaker-than-expected performance of Charlize Theron/Seth Rogen romantic comedy, Long Shot, and then with Luc Besson’s Anna grossing less than $8 million. But in between that they had John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. The ending of Scary Stories suggests there is hope of turning this into a series (so many stories to still tackle), and surely Lionsgate hopes it can outlast some of its 2019 horror counterparts until It: Chapter Two opens after Labor Day and leaves them all in the dust.
The Stories opening is slightly better than Annabelle Comes Home’s $20.26 million. (The Wednesday opener had $17.46 million in its first three days.) The Pet Sematary remake and The Curse of La Llorona (both “R”-rated) opened to $26.34 million and $24.50 million, respectively, and finished with nearly identical grosses of $54.73 million and $54.72 million. The “PG-13”-rated Escape Room opened to $18.23 million and finished with $57 million. Scary Stories ranks as the eighth best horror opening ever in August, ahead of The Last Exorcism ($20.36 million) and Exorcist: The Beginning ($18.05 million), both of which also finished with nearly identical totals of $41.03 million and $41.82 million, respectively. On first glance, Scary Stories sets a first estimate somewhere between $41 million and $59 million.
Audiences were either unaware or unwilling to attend the true story of a 2002 NFL prospect falsely accused of rape, Brian Banks. This was only the fifth wide opening in Bleecker Street’s five-year history and the $2.1 million start – not enough to crack the top 10 – translated into their third-worst per-theater-average ($1,492), ahead of only Elvis & Nixon’s $1,224 PTA in 381 theaters back in 2016 and their release of Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation ($1,645 in 31 theaters). The studio had their fourth highest-grossing film ever this year back in March with Hotel Mumbai ($9.65 million) and released The Art of Self-Defense last month, which has grossed $2.41 million to date.
Looking even worse, though, is Warner Bros.’ The Kitchen. The movie’s 20% Tomatometer score makes it not just one of the worst-reviewed films of the summer – down with The Hustle (14%) and Men In Black International (22%) – but one of the 10 worst-reviewed wide releases of 2019. Last year, WB did not have a film open to less than $10 million; with $5.51 million this weekend, The Kitchen becomes the third WB movie to open with less than $10 million this summer after The Sun Is Also A Star ($2.51 million) and Shaft ($8.90 million). They had four films open with less than $10 million in 2017. Last summer’s The Happytime Murders, with Melissa McCarthy, opened to $9.53 million. It was her lowest opening as a headliner to date – until The Kitchen.
There were still two more wide releases this week and the results were not great for either. Many actually gave Dora and the Lost City of Gold a puncher’s chance of knocking Hobbs & Shaw from the top spot, but it could not even beat Scary Stories. A $17 million opening is not the end of the world, but the $49 million production is going to need some help to turn a profit. That opening is about on par with the August release of Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams ($16.71 million) back in 2002, a film which went on to gross $85.84 million. Though that would require a 5x multiple over opening weekend, something only four films opening in more than 2,000 theaters have achieved this millennium: Crazy Rich Asians (6.58x), The Help (6.51x), We’re the Millers (5.69x), and The 40 Year-Old Virgin (5.1x).
The Art of Racing in the Rain, this week’s final wide release, did about half of Dora’s business, making just a little more ($8.1 million) than this summer’s sequel to A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Journey ($8.03 million). Advertised as being from the studio that brought you Marley & Me, nobody expected it to reach that film’s heights. Though without any decent word-of-mouth, the film will likely not even reach the $32.64 million that Fox’s 2005 dog drama, Because of Winn-Dixie, made nor will it touch the $36.35 million that Marley grossed in its opening weekend.
Over to some films that can certainly register as success stories. The Lion King has grossed $473.1 million, which is the ninth best ever after 24 days of release. Even though the top 15 films on that list had stronger fourth weekends, the film is still headed for $530 million-to-$540 million domestic. With $1.33 billion worldwide, the film is just $12.3 million away from becoming one of the 10 highest-grossing films of all time. Then we have Toy Story 4, which is just $10 million away from crossing the billion dollar line and is currently the 43rd highest-grossing film ever; it is also just $7.3 million away from passing Captain Marvel to become the 3rd-highest domestic grosser of 2019. Spider-Man: Far From Home was already over the billion mark before the weekend; this week it will crack the $1.1 billion mark and is close to entering the top 25 all-time earners, even if it will come up short of $400 million domestic.
Then we have a film that is not a sequel, not a comic book film, not a live-action remake, and not a Pokémon. Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood became the first original film of the summer – and just second of 2019 joining Jordan Peele’s Us – to gross over $100 million. Speaking of gross, Tarantino’s acclaimed film is actually right on pace with, of all films, Grown Ups 2, which grossed a virtually identical $11.6 million in its third weekend and had $101.76 million after 17 days. It ultimately grossed $133.66 million and there is a good chance that Hollywood will eventually pass that number, too.
Finally, A24 brought The Farewell into wide release this weekend, putting it in 704 theaters (up from last week’s 409). Lulu Wang’s film, Certified Fresh at 99% on the Tomatometer, grossed just $2.2 million this weekend, which pales in comparison to other fifth-week releases between 650-750 theaters. The bulk of them are films which got their expansions during awards season, which is an entirely different beast. But there are comparable summer releases out of Sundance like Zach Braff’s Garden State, which was in its second week of wide release in 745 theaters grossing $2.79 million, and the documentary sensation, March of the Penguins, which expanded into wide release on weekend five (695 theaters) and grossed $4.38 million.
Though there is also a glass-half-full situation as well, as long as A24 continues to expand and keeps chipping its way forward with a million or two each week. Garden State had $8.85 million after a month of release (The Farewell is at $10.32 million), never grossed higher than $3.02 million in a weekend, and was never in more than 813 theaters. It ended up grossing $26.7 million.
All 75 feet of The Meg took the number 1 spot at the box office. The giant shark film grossed $45.4 million and began a climb to over $530 million worldwide. The horror film Slender Man grossed $11.37 million for fourth place, while Spike Lee’s Oscar-winning BlacKkKlansman opened to $10.84 million. In milestones, Ant-Man and the Wasp crossed the $200 million mark and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again passed $100 million. The top 10 films grossed $126.97 million and averaged 64.7% on the Tomatometer; this year’s top 10 grossed $120.32 million and averaged 67.1% with critics.
It is another packed weekend that could be led by Good Boys, the Seth Rogen production featuring the “R”-rated adventures of Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon, and Keith L. Williams. Will audiences return for a second flock of The Angry Birds Movie 2 or will it fall victim to the August animation trap right as kids return to school? The same question can be asked of 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, the sequel to the minor sharkbait hit of 2017. Richard Linklater teams with Cate Blanchett on the delayed Where’d You Go, Bernadette, which is his first film not to play any film festivals prior to release since his 2005 remake of Bad News Bears. Finally, one of the sensations of this year’s Sundance was Gurinder Chadha’s Blinded by the Light, starring Viveik Kalra as a guy who becomes inspired to live out his dream as a writer thanks to the music of Bruce Springsteen.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]