Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office: Space Jam: A New Legacy Smashes Expectations with $31.7 Million Opening

The sequel proves it's never wise to bet against LeBron (or nostalgia). Plus, Black Widow's big fall – and why it's no reason to panic – and more from the weekend box office of July 16-18, 2021.

by | July 18, 2021 | Comments

Space Jam: A New Legacy

(Photo by © Warner Bros. )

Space Jam: A New Legacy is no Jurassic World, but never underestimate the appeal of a film that has become a generational security blanket. Twenty-five years after the release of the original Space Jam movie, the sequel has topped the box office and given some hope to a family box office market struggling to bring kids ineligible for vaccinations back to the theaters. (Not to mention that other added barrier: the convenience of family films like Space Jam: A New Legacy being available to stream at home.) This week was a more than solid opening for A New Legacy, but is it just another front-loaded event picture that will leave its studio wishing for more?


King of the Crop: A New Legacy Hopes to Go Strong For All Four Quarters After Blistering Opening 

First, let’s go to the charts. Space Jam: A New Legacy opened in first this weekend with $31.7 million. That is the fifth best opening of the year – just ahead of WB’s Godzilla vs. Kong’s $31.6 million, if the estimates hold (and GvK had a two-day head start). That is also the best family-oriented opening of 2021, surpassing even Cruella’s four-day Memorial Day opening of $26.5 million. LeBron James fans may even point out that it is better than the $27.5 million start that Michael Jordan’s Space Jam kicked off with back in 1996. Though with inflation that was about a $47.6 million opening and the movie went on to make more than $156 million. (At the time of its release, that was the fifth best opening of 1996, but the movie dropped to seventh in subsequent weeks when Star Trek: First Contact and the live-action 101 Dalmatians opened bigger.)

GOAT debate aside, there was not a lot of chatter that Space Jam was going to dethrone Black Widow in its second weekend after a record-breaking pandemic opening. And yet here we are. But long term is the question now, with watchers wondering whether A New Legacy will join the exclusive company of $100 million films. So far it has taken at least a $47 million opening to achieve the ranks of $150 million. By next week we will have three films in that bracket: A Quiet Place Part II, F9, and Black Widow. Godzilla vs. Kong is still a bit of an anomaly in that it had very little competition; it was in the top 5 for six weeks and the top 10 for 10 weeks, and it still stands at just $100.5 million.

Emma Stone in Cruella

(Photo by ©2021 Disney Enterprises)

The good news for Jam is that family films, while not breaking the bank, have been pretty consistent in bringing in audiences post-opening weekend. Raya and the Last Dragon had a disappointing $8.5 million start back in March, but is now up to over $54 million (or 6.42 times its opening). Cruella and Peter Rabbit 2 were at 3.82x and 3.83x their openings entering this weekend and The Boss Baby: Family Business is approaching getting over the 3x hump. Cruella’s number, though a far cry from being a success against is budget, is interesting given its availability on Disney+ via Premier Access. The Boss Baby sequel may be a better gauge for A New Legacy, given it is also available as part of a streaming subscription (Peacock) with no extra cost. As of this weekend the film is at a 2.76 multiplier, but also opened to just a bit more than half of A New Legacy’s start. Can this be the second Warner Bros./HBO Max title to reach $100 million – after Godzilla vs. Kong? A new generation will tell.


The Top 10 and Beyond: Black Widow Has Big Second-Weekend Drop, But Still Aims for $200 Million

Marvel’s Black Widow reached one high peak already during the pandemic box office, which means it had the furthest to fall too. Its 67.2% drop from its opening of $80 million down to $26.3 million this weekend was the third-highest drop of the year for a wide release after Mortal Kombat fell 73.2% and Demon Slayer fell 69% in the same weekend. The positives still outweigh the setback, though, as the film managed to gross over $105 million in its first full week and will eventually be passing both F9 and A Quiet Place Part II to become the highest-grossing film (domestically) of the pandemic so far.

But is a $200 million total now in jeopardy? The film has fallen behind the pace of Ant-Man and the Wasp already, which had $133 million after 10 days with a $29 million second weekend – it finished with $216 million. Black Widow is at $132 million and could actually become the first July release to have over $130 million in its first 10 days and not reach the $200 million milestone. Disney also chose not to report its Premier Access numbers this week.

F9

(Photo by ©Universal Pictures)

Checking in on the films that Widow is chasing for the top spot, we have F9 making $7.6 million this weekend, driving its total to $154.8 million after 24 days of release. Last week, we put the film in line with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which had $150.5 million in the bank after an $8.9 million fourth weekend. Somewhere around that film’s total haul of $172 million still looks right and F9 continues to lead the way internationally with over $591 million to date. A Quiet Place Part II just finished a seven-week stay in the top 5 and is still holding onto a narrow lead over F9 with $155 million. In many ways this is the truest success story of the pandemic so far. An exclusive theatrical run from Memorial Day weekend through last weekend and a consistent audience that is going to drive it to over $160 million: This is the film most deserving of the “theaters are back” title.

The other sequel unleashed in theaters this week, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, grossed just $8.8 million this weekend. That is down nearly $10 million from the $18.2 million the first film did when it became a modest hit in January 2019, finishing with $57 million. The critical consensus on the Escape Room sequel is not so far off from the original, with a Tomatometer of 42% compared to the first film’s 51%. It’s worth noting that franchise horror has been going lower and lower in terms of box office pull this summer since A Quiet Place Part II opened to $47.5 million. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It did $24.1 million the week after Quiet Place opened, then The Forever Purge started with $12.5 million a month later. Lest we not forget Spiral starting with just $8.7 million in mid-May. The third Conjuring film was the only one of the bunch not exclusive to theaters upon opening. An original horror film, M. Night Shyamalan’s Old, will test the audience’s thirst this upcoming week and the genre could reclaim the number 1 slot.

Pig

(Photo by © NEON)

Opening in 927 theaters was the acclaimed but controversial documentary Roadrunner about Anthony Bourdain, which took in $1.9 million or about as much as Apollo 11 opened to in just 120 theaters in 2019. In only 552 theaters is Pig, with Nicolas Cage as a truffle hunter searching for his stolen companion. It scrounged up $945,000 for a $1,712 per-screen-average compared to Roadrunner’s $2,000. A24’s Zola is out of the top 10, but is up to $4.2 million with another $270,000 this weekend.


On the Vine: M. Night Shyamalan Returns To Battle Henry Golding in Action Mode

Next week, M. Night Shyamalan turns the Fountain of Youth – or its complete opposite – into the Beach in his latest thriller, Old. Its challenger for the week is the latest in the G.I. Joe series, an origin story for Snake Eyes with Henry Golding stepping into the role. It could make for an interesting box office battle, one that is rife with potential for both major surprise and crushing disappointment.


Full List of Box Office Results: July 16-18, 2021


  • $31.7 million ($31.7 million total)

  • $26.3 million ($132 million total)

  • $8.8 million ($8.8 million total)

  • $7.6 million ($154.8 million total)

  • $4.7 million ($44.6 million total)

  • $4.1 million ($35.9 million total)

  • $2.3 million ($155 million total)

  • $1.9 million ($1.9 million total)

  • $1.1 million ($83.4 million total)

  • $945,000 ($945,000 total)


Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on WGN Radio with Nick Digilio as well as on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

politics Masterpiece die hard Funimation The Purge LGBT Trophy Talk christmas movies talk show blockbuster Creative Arts Emmys The Arrangement YA Starz Fox Searchlight Infographic spider-man adventure all-time Sci-Fi international book blockbusters Arrowverse king kong BBC aliens psycho spanish language Musical crime thriller anime satire Peacock dark teaser crime composers comics social media Holidays supernatural GIFs dceu Countdown Mudbound E! sequels MTV A24 FX cinemax ghosts classics japan miniseries unscripted stand-up comedy Nominations TruTV anthology Winter TV 24 frames game show Awards Tour 72 Emmy Awards Rom-Com BBC America name the review Tokyo Olympics new york chucky Amazon aapi justice league 99% nature television BAFTA remakes Spring TV black Chernobyl DGA CW Seed LGBTQ CNN BBC One cars HBO Go Universal tv talk award winner Fox News Legendary Travel Channel Disney Plus 90s superhero Walt Disney Pictures First Reviews theme song comiccon Cannes GLAAD Nat Geo deadpool marvel cinematic universe high school canceled TV shows A&E dc popular TNT elevated horror cats 45 police drama Turner scorecard Superheroes comic SXSW jamie lee curtis cancelled TV shows harry potter Hulu batman basketball Marvel Studios revenge 2017 Paramount Plus CBS TCM SDCC Rocketman YouTube Premium Marathons crime drama period drama werewolf golden globes kids Premiere Dates 20th Century Fox Ellie Kemper Martial Arts TV Land finale trailers 2020 festivals TV One facebook worst movies Holiday Academy Awards Summer Endgame Marvel USA Network blaxploitation Amazon Prime E3 Avengers Film Festival political drama superman streaming movies 2019 documentaries medical drama VH1 Year in Review Television Critics Association know your critic NYCC natural history quibi Reality MSNBC strong female leads TCA Winter 2020 Teen Reality Competition kong Spike OWN spy thriller Valentine's Day RT21 Writers Guild of America child's play Sundance Now heist movie DC Comics Certified Fresh Netflix RT History slashers Awards Thanksgiving legend Mystery Elton John Winners Music 71st Emmy Awards target NBA Warner Bros. joker Western Ghostbusters Amazon Studios latino canceled Crunchyroll Brie Larson cancelled television diversity Disney+ Disney Plus Discovery Channel Action Alien Rock GoT Comedy Election Schedule football Syfy Mary Tyler Moore Quiz Sneak Peek adenture true crime james bond Spectrum Originals disaster Women's History Month Food Network IFC hist Hallmark Christmas movies crossover The Walking Dead Britbox Vudu doctor who breaking bad Video Games Drama First Look X-Men 2016 italian kaiju Emmys scene in color See It Skip It cults ABC Signature dogs Showtime PlayStation IFC Films Paramount indie Podcast Turner Classic Movies saw comic books travel Shondaland YouTube Anna Paquin The CW Hallmark Pixar Polls and Games women biography CMT Shudder TCA Awards HBO Apple TV+ Tumblr 1990s razzies movies ratings toy story Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt FXX Star Trek green book 007 Lucasfilm nfl Emmy Nominations Trivia spain Mindy Kaling Pop TV free movies animated Columbia Pictures Pirates documentary vampires Pop Esquire directors mutant National Geographic robots Interview Disney Channel TLC PBS American Society of Cinematographers rotten movies we love Apple TV Plus movie PaleyFest independent toronto what to watch Fantasy emmy awards DC streaming service binge space criterion 4/20 Bravo australia Song of Ice and Fire Adult Swim ABC Family ESPN dragons MCU HBO Max ITV spanish APB cooking FX on Hulu boxing spinoff Best and Worst discovery archives OneApp 2021 Captain marvel Trailer WarnerMedia olympics Pride Month Acorn TV Cartoon Network Image Comics Comic Book Pacific Islander sitcom Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Pet Sematary Marvel Television comedies Super Bowl japanese Epix indiana jones TIFF critics Family news Mary poppins venice telelvision New York Comic Con Dark Horse Comics sports Musicals hispanic Cosplay Red Carpet dramedy The Walt Disney Company TV renewals king arthur parents Kids & Family prank Grammys Sundance TV TBS Black Mirror historical drama Paramount Network halloween franchise stop motion game of thrones Watching Series Sundance docudrama Comics on TV french USA Character Guide foreign technology Heroines science fiction boxoffice suspense Lifetime Amazon Prime Video zombie Hear Us Out Lifetime Christmas movies Netflix Christmas movies Apple Rocky video on demand ID obituary Box Office Black History Month reboot casting Wes Anderson Classic Film Baby Yoda President Sony Pictures a nightmare on elm street singing competition fresh renewed TV shows book adaptation fast and furious asian-american ViacomCBS Comic-Con@Home 2021 live action Logo children's TV versus zero dark thirty stoner Photos SundanceTV thriller Oscars zombies Disney Country rotten VICE Biopics 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards scary movies 2018 richard e. Grant golden globe awards cancelled wonder woman adaptation transformers romance WGN 21st Century Fox TV movies Tomatazos Star Wars hidden camera Stephen King Animation BET Disney streaming service festival Television Academy Fall TV DC Universe History Exclusive Video CBS All Access godzilla Set visit Calendar 93rd Oscars halloween tv docuseries Mary Poppins Returns Extras jurassic park Crackle AMC San Diego Comic-Con new zealand Christmas best Lionsgate lord of the rings reviews rom-coms cancelled TV series TCA The Academy witnail Freeform YouTube Red screen actors guild TCA 2017 Tarantino universal monsters El Rey VOD south america Ovation 2015 ABC rt archives Horror sequel Broadway twilight based on movie pirates of the caribbean Tubi Opinion monster movies mockumentary video films series cartoon FOX streaming NBC TV nbcuniversal BET Awards Film Nickelodeon romantic comedy The Witch mission: impossible DirecTV serial killer concert laika worst Comedy Central war Binge Guide psychological thriller new star wars movies screenings Toys Superheroe hollywood sag awards cops