In a rare week for this summer, there was no obvious mega blockbuster stepping into theaters to soak up some cash and enjoy a predictable weekend box office victory. So it was up to two smaller films to overperform and battle for third and fourth place: Sicario: Day of the Soldado and Uncle Drew.
Among newbies this week, Sicario: Day of the Soldado came out on top, landing in an expected third place. After $2 million in Thursday night previews, Sony was conservatively estimating Soldado’s overall weekend at $12 million, the same as what the original earned in its week-three expansion into 2,620 theaters back in 2015, when it was a Lionsgate release. The sequel actually brought in $19 million this weekend; the film has a 62% Tomatometer score, down significantly from the first film’s 93%, which went on to receive three Oscar nominations. Of the 12 films since 2000 to open in June between $17.5 and $20 million, only two (Land of the Lost and Year One) have failed to reach $50 million in total, and half stretched to over $60 million, though only two of them (Swordfish, Get Him to the Greek) were rated R. Day of the Soldado was the fifth best-reviewed film of this set, behind Chicken Run, Cinderella Man, Surf’s Up, and Get Him to the Greek.
Well ahead of Soldado this weekend were the big winners of the past two weeks. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom came in at the top with $60 million, and is up to $264 million domestically – the 17th highest figure ever for a film on its 10th day. With the upcoming holiday it will probably find itself circling a three-week total somewhere in the range of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest ($321 million) and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($336 million). Incredibles 2 is doing even bigger business. Its $439 million three-week total is now the seventh-best ever. Next weekend, expect it to pass Finding Dory to become Pixar’s highest-grossing domestic title to date, and continue on a path to becoming – at least – the ninth highest-grossing film of all time.
Lionsgate, former home of Sicario, may have been feeling a slight bit of remorse for not re-upping on a sequel few believed was necessary and some saw as a box office risk. But for roughly half the cost of Soldado (which had a $35 million budget), the studio got Uncle Drew – and the move might have been a slam dunk. The basketball comedy, featuring the likes of Get Out’s Lil Rel Howery, Tiffany Haddish, and a cadre of NBA stars, opened to $15.5 million and has a current Tomatometer score of 66%. It is not the studio’s best June opening – it ranks behind All Eyez On Me ($26.4 million), Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection ($25.3 million), and Fahrenheit 9/11 ($23.9 million), all of which had wildly varying final gross multiples from their first weekends. But if Uncle Drew can match the 2.58 multiple of Madea – and given that score and expected strong word of mouth, it might — it could just about get to $40 million domestic.
Meanwhile, India’s Sanju broke into the top 10 with $2.5 million and the Mr. Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, spent its second weekend there. It is the fourth weekend this summer to have a documentary break into the top end of the charts. Ruth Bader Ginsburg doc, RBG, spent two non-consecutive weekends on the chart, May 11-13 and Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-28. It has grossed $11.5 million to date. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is up to nearly $7.5 million.
Avengers: Infinity War has finally dropped out of the top 10 after nine weeks, earning $1.43 million and coming in 12th. With over $2.03 billion globally, it is the fourth highest-grossing film of all-time. Hereditary has also exited the top 10, but remains A24’s second-highest domestic grossing film to date, with just under $40 million so far. On the documentary front, Neon’s Three Identical Strangers might be one to keep your eyes on; it opened to $163,023 on five screens – a screen average of $32,600, the highest of the week. Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace, her first feature since the Oscar-nominated Winter’s Bone, made $24,018 on nine screens. It is one of the best reviewed movies of the year, sitting on 100% on the Tomatometer from 91 reviews.
Despicable Me 3 led the way with $72.3 million, just a portion of the billion dollars it would go on to make. Baby Driver had opened on the Wednesday prior, but still managed another $20.5 million for second place. Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler’s The House was a bust with just $8.7 million (it found a big fan in Chance the Rapper, though). Some $157.2 million total was spent on films in the top 10 in 2017 compared to this week’s estimated haul of $164.3 million. The average Tomatometer score of the top 10 last year was just 52.4%, dragged down by just four Fresh films, as well as Transformers: The Last Knight, The House, and The Mummy, all with Tomatometer scores below 20%. This week there were seven Fresh releases among the list, with a strong Tomatometer average of 68.9%
Next week, the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man and the Wasp, is going to lead the box office, likely besting the first film’s $57 million start in July 2015. Despite a half-billion total worldwide, Ant-Man still ranks 17th out of the current 19 MCU films domestically and 16th worldwide. Ant-Man and the Wasp’s family-friendly tone should boost it on the overall chart. It currently has a Tomatometer rating of 88%. Less family-friendly is Universal’s The First Purge, the fourth in the series that has seen its grosses go up with each successive film. Will there still be an appetite given the timely un-civility in the real world? With just a $13 million budget, even a passing interest is going to turn a profit. On the indie front, Sundance hit Sorry To Bother You, which stars Tessa Thompson and LaKeith Stanfield and has a Tomatometer score of 95%, is one to watch for overperformance.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]