With studios and distributors loading up on a pre-launch campaign against Disney’s dominance at the box office – something that will be amplified with next week’s release of The Lion King – there were not a lot of alternatives for moviegoers to get behind this weekend. Marvel and Pixar both led the way again and the two newcomers could barely combine to beat the film in second place. For those in a Chicken Little panic over supposed dwindling ticket sales this year, this weekend certainly gave fuel to that fire with the top 10 films adding up to the lowest July weekend total since 2009.
Spider-Man: Far From Home took the lead again to no surprise for a second straight week. With $229.2 million on Thursday, it ranked as the 32nd highest-grossing film ever after 10 days in theaters. However, the drop to $45.3 million this weekend has put its numbers closer to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 than many of the top-tier MCU films. Raimi’s film had $225.1 million after 10 days and a $45.1 million second weekend. It finished its run with $373.5 million. Spider-Man: Homecoming made $44.2 million in its second weekend. Just remember that Far From Home also had a Tuesday opening (and the biggest one of all-time). Amongst the 35 films to have reached $375 million domestic, only Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Titanic, and Frozen made less in their second weekends than Far From Home. (Titanic’s $35.4 million in 1997 would be about $56.5 million today.) Worldwide the film has grossed over $847 million and will soon become the ninth film of the MCU to gross over a billion dollars.
Stuber may not be a mega-budgeted production at $16 million, but unless you are a true indie or working under the Blumhouse margin, an $8 million opening is just not going to cut it. Thirty six films in 2019 have opened in 3,000 theaters or more and only Missing Link ($5.9 million) and Fox’s The Kid Who Would Be King ($7.1 million) – both Certified Fresh at 89% on the Tomatometer, incidentally – grossed less in their opening weekends. (A Dog’s Journey made $8.03 million.) Stuber, with a Tomatometer score of 46% currently, joins Winnie the Pooh, Ramona and Beezus, Monte Carlo, and Katy Perry: Part of Me as the films this past decade to open between $7 million and $8 million in July. They all posted final tallies between $23.1 million and $26.7 million. None of those films were rated “R” though.
Toy Story 4 crossed the $750 million line worldwide this weekend. Plus, the once-dubbed “disappointment” from burned analysts is only the 23rd highest-grossing film ever after 24 days with over $346 million at the domestic box office. Though the film is right in line with Toy Story 3’s fourth weekend of $21 million, it did slip slightly behind during the week from being $17 million ahead of the third film’s pace to just around $7 million. No worries, however, as it is still on pace for a $400 million haul in North America. The fim is over $771 million worldwide.
To finish up the Disney dominance news this week, their live-action version of Aladdin has officially become one of the 50th highest-grossing films of all-time in the world with over $960 million. The Lion King is already gearing up to join that list having grossed $54.7 million in China this weekend. Then, of course, Avengers: Endgame grabbed an additional $2.8 million across the globe and is now less than $8 million away from capturing Avatar’s all-time record with $2.780 billion.
Over to the horror side of the top 10, Paramount chose not to screen Alexandre Aja’s alligator horror film, Crawl, for critics this week. Nevertheless those that reviewed it gifted it with an 88% on the Tomatometer and it’s already Certified Fresh. It may have bested Stuber for the newcomer crown this weekend, but its $12 million start is not entirely a cause for celebration, even with just a $13.5 million budget. That is more than the $10.9 million that another mid-July alligator film called Lake Placid opened to back in 1999. That film would have opened to about $16.7 million in today’s dollars and finished with $31.7 million. The smart money is on Crawl finishing with less, unless word-of-mouth – which again, is good – pushes it further.
Ari Aster’s Midsommar has $18.4 million after 12 days, which puts it between fellow Wednesday openers No Escape, the 2015 terrorist thriller, and the 2004 remake of Around the World in 80 Days. That may suggest a finish in the $24-$27 million range. Except Midsommar’s $3.5 million weekend was less than either of theirs. The film would need $25.2 million to pass A24’s first wide opener, The Witch, for fifth place on their all-time chart. Midsommar is nevertheless going to finish no worse than right behind it in sixth place with more than The Disaster Artist’s $21.1 million. Annabelle Comes Home is now over $60 million, placing the film firmly between the third weekend grosses and totals of The First Purge ($5.10 million, $69.48 million) and Rocky Balboa ($6.01 million, $70.27 million), so figure a final tally in there while it currently stands at over $173 million worldwide – far less than either of the previous films but more than enough to turn a profit.
Coincidences in box office are always fun to find and this week’s example comes with Danny Boyle’s Yesterday, which has become the director’s second highest-grossing film ever. That has nothing to do with coincidence though. Actually the $6.75 million it grossed this weekend and a total at $48.3 million puts the film in league with another tale of a singer from the U.K. that opened in June and was released by Universal some nine years ago. That film was Get Him To The Greek. It grossed $6.1 million in its third weekend and had $47.8 million after 17 days on its way to $60.9 million.
Finally, in limited release news, Bleecker Street’s The Art of Self-Defense (Certified Fresh at 92%) grossed $121,000 in seven theaters. That per-theater-average of $17,285 is just a bit less than Late Night’s $17,593 average in 14 theaters when it first opened. Amazon expanded that film into over 2,200 theaters in weekend two and it has grossed more than $14 million to date. Bleecker will expand Art into over 500 theaters next weekend and it is the ninth film in Bleecker’s history (out of 32 releases) to score 90% or higher on the Tomatometer.
But the developing story may be that of Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, with Awkwafina. One of the most beloved films out of Sundance this year grossed $351,330 this weekend in just four theaters. That is the 15th best opening ever for a film launched in just four venues and the third best for A24. Moonlight ($402,075) and Lady Bird ($364,437) opened just a bit stronger and they, respectively, rank third and first amongst all A24 releases. The Farewell also maintains a perfect Certified Fresh score of 100% on the Tomatometer. It is the 28th A24 film to score 90% or higher out the distributor’s 77 releases.
Adam Sandler’s ghoulish animated series showed no signs of wavering as Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation got its first taste of the box office outside of September and opened at number 1 with $44 million. Ant-Man and the Wasp dropped 61% to second place, but that was still good enough to keep back Dwayne Johnson’s attempt at Die Hard in Skyscraper, which opened to just $24.9 million. In limited release, Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade opened to $263,797 in just four theaters. The Top 10 films grossed $154.03 million and averaged 67.7% on the Tomatometer. This year’s Top 10 did an estimated $113.04 million and averaged 66.9%. It was actually the lowest Top 10 total for a weekend in July since the July 31-August 2, 2009 weekend when Funny People led the way with $22.65 million and a top 10 total of $107.14 million.
Stories written about the trailing box office for this summer – and the year – might change in tone a bit when Disney’s The Lion King goes unchallenged next weekend. Jon Favreau’s latest live-action reimagining of a Disney classic is likely to easily surpass the total $966 million that 2016’s The Jungle Book grossed worldwide and join, if not also surpass, both 2017’s Beauty and the Beast and 2010’s Alice in Wonderland in the billion dollar club (they will also soon be joined by this year’s Aladdin). The Lion Kingis also likely headed to become the second highest-grossing film of the year after Avengers: Endgame and could also have one of the biggest opening weekends of all-time.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]