This has been one of the strangest summers in recent memory when it comes to box office analysis, not because so many high profile movies have disappointed (although that has certainly been interesting), but because so many new releases are hanging out in the grey zone between hit and misfire. In an era where the success of so many movies is determined purely by opening weekend numbers, we’ve spent the past few months watching as movies has defied expectations after a weak opening or rode a solid opening into oblivion. The cut-and-dried successes can be counted on one hand.
How much does the new Ghostbusters need to make if it wants to be a bonafide, genuine hit? The opening weekend for director Paul Feig’s reboot of the beloved franchise raises more questions than answers and the second and third weekend will ultimately prove more telling. However, here’s what we can say right now: it opened with solid numbers in second place behind last week’s massive champion, The Secret Life of Pets.
It took a movie about adorable talking dogs and cats to dethrone the movie about the adorable talking fish. The Secret Life of Pets dominated the box office this weekend, making it the third 2016 family movie about chatty animals to make a huge splash. If this concept wasn’t as old as the animation medium itself, we could call this a trend.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Finding Dory opened at number one at the box office this week and did enormous business, but the folks at Disney and Pixar must be breathing a sigh of relief. After all, last year’s The Good Dinosaur was the first film to come out of the venerable animation studio that could be considered a legitimate box office disappointment, especially since it came in the wake of the massively successful Inside Out. The massive opening weekend for the sequel to Finding Nemo repositions Pixar in its rightful place on the top of the animated movie food chain.
The 2016 summer box office hit another speed bump this week as two major releases — a sequel and a potential franchise-starter — opened to disappointing numbers. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Despite the poor starts for Warcraft and Now You See Me 2, The Conjuring 2 opened at number one with the kind of debut that proves modestly budgeted horror movies with R ratings still have a place in the blockbuster months.
This may have been one of the weakest weekends at the box office this summer, with audiences seemingly avoiding movies new and old like the plague. Even the victories feel a little half-hearted, with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows taking number one at the box office while not even coming close to matching the business of the first film. With Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping simply bombing, the only new release to show promise was Me Before You.
Despite the arrival of two major films, this Memorial Day weekend was ultimately a disappointing affair, as X-Men: Apocalypse and Alice Through the Looking Glass both underperformed. The former should ultimately emerge untarnished in the long run, likely making enough money to keep the X-Men franchise breathing. However, the second Alice adventure only confirms what everyone outside of Disney already knew. People don’t like the first Alice in Wonderland and they had no interest in a sequel.
A little movie called Captain America: Civl War came out this weekend and made the exact kind of money you’d expect it to make. The thirteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t have the biggest opening in the series’ history, but it was close enough. It’s easily the biggest opening for a Captain America solo movie (albeit ballooned by a co-starring role for Iron Man) and it managed to open bigger than its chief rival this year, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. That’s certainly a win.
For the third weekend in a row, The Jungle Book dominated the box office, taking the top spot and making it look easy. It’s been a fairly astonishing run for a movie that felt like a big question mark a few months ago, but this is what the combination of spectacle, strong reviews, and strong word-of-mouth brings you. While this weekend was ultimately all about Jon Favreau’s big-budget take on Rudyard Kipling’s beloved stories, there were a few other new releases. But as you could have guessed, Keanu, Mother’s Day, and Ratchet and Clank didn’t do solid enough business to warrant mention in the headline.
The Jungle Book was destined to take the number one spot at the box office this weekend. However, the early estimates were off by, oh, $20 million or so. Jon Favreau’s reimagining of this beloved story exceeded all financial expectations. Buoyed by strong reviews and positive word of mouth, the film had the second biggest April opening of all time, topped only by last year’s Furious 7.
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