It is the third straight summer we have had a shark movie. Blake Lively took one on in The Shallows in 2016. Mandy Moore and Claire Holt were also trapped by them in last year’s 47 Meters Down. Now we have Bruce the Shark times three with a Megalodon, also known as The Meg and not only has it doubled expectations of the continuing failing tracking services, it has bested the combined openings of those last two shark weekends. You can even add in a Shark Night 3D or the expansion of Open Water and The Meg still ate them up. But does that mean it will still be a Warner Bros. success?
Until his appearances in The Fast and the Furious franchise, Jason Statham was never in a movie that opened to $40 million. Not The Expendables ($34.8), not Spy ($29) and not even The Italian Job ($19.4). In fact, Statham’s best opening as the headliner was Transporter 2 and even that was just a $16.5 million start. The Meg has already passed Transporter 2’s total gross on $43 million. The most optimistic tracking had Jon Turtletaub’s shark film opening with $20-22 million, which was already deemed potentially disastrous. While Warner Bros. is putting out a more conservative budget estimate of $130 million, reports suggest the number could be as high as $178. Add in another $140 million for advertising and the film is looking at a break-even number for all its investors (many from China where the film is set) between $540-636 million. Is that even possible?
Only eight films thus far in 2018 have even hit the half-billion mark and two of those are Operation Red Sea and Detective Chinatown 2. Starting just domestically, the 49% Tomatometer-rated film is looking at a history where every film to open over $40 million in August has at least reached the $100 million mark. Though only one of them (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) dropped less than 50 percent in their second weekend. And even that was 49.2 percent. Even if we were to be generous and apply the average opening-to-final-gross multiple of those films (3.06) and peg The Meg for a $136 million gross (I’ll take the under on that), that is still another $404 million it would have to clear with WB’s most conservative estimate. Apart from Red Sea and Chinatown 2, is The Meg really going to be in the same company with Avengers: Infinity War, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Black Panther, Incredibles 2, Ready Player One, and Deadpool 2 as the only films this year to clear that international number? Not even Dwayne Johnson could clear that number with Rampage ($326.9) or Skyscraper ($215.2), and Jason Statham’s highest international haul as a solo act was Mechanic: Resurrection’s $104.5 million. At least he has a 70- to 90-foot shark as a scene partner, but it may not matter.
It may not seem like a huge number, but BlacKkKlansman’s $10.7 million is a decent one and did, as predicted, beat expectations. Spike Lee’s film was released by Focus Features into 1,512 theaters. If we look at launches into 1,450-1,550 theaters, you can almost see a trend with additional films about undercover work including Donnie Brasco ($11.6 million opening in 1,503 theaters) and Breach ($10.5 million in 1,489.) But if we go back as far as 1994, here is how Spike’s film fits into this exclusive group:
Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman ($21.9 million in 1,483), Enemy at the Gates ($13.8 million in 1,509), Nine Months ($12.5 million in 1,458), Donnie Brasco ($11.6 million in 1,503), Natural Born Killers ($11.16 million in 1,510), Something To Talk About ($11.11 million in 1,510), Up Close and Personal ($11.10 million in 1,506), BlacKkKlansman ($10.79 million in 1,512), Breach ($10.5 million in 1,489), The American President ($10 million in 1,508), A Walk in the Clouds ($9.5 million in 1,534 theaters), Gangs of New York ($9.4 million in 1,504), Baby Boy ($8.6 million in 1,534), Jersey Girl ($8.3 million in 1,520), and It Could Happen To You ($8.1 million in 1,506).
BlacKkKlansman is 8th place there and is the 12th best opening for Focus ever and their best on openings under 2,000 screens.
Ken Marino’s PG-rated rom-com, Dog Days, could not even make the Top 10 even if you included its total since opening on Wednesday. Despite a just-Fresh 60% on the Tomatometer, the film grossed $2.6 million this weekend and just $3.6 million for its five-day run. It was LD Entertainment’s first release since 2013’s Disconnect. Despite a 2,442-theater launch, it failed to even beat the company’s release of horror film, The Collection, in 1,403 theaters where it grossed $3.1 million the weekend after Thanksgiving in 2012.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout continues its path to become the highest-grossing domestic film in the franchise, growing its pace over Part II to over $15 million with $161 million. Of the films to have grossed between $156 million–166 million by its 17th day, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax set the low bar for a final gross by ending with $214 million. Seven of the 12 films on the list grossed between $214 million-228 million (including The Bourne Ultimatum’s $227.4 million) and seems like a good bar for Fallout. The other five films were Cars ($244 million), Men in Black ($250.6 million), Monsters Inc. ($255.8 million), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl ($305.4), and, well, Titanic ($600.7 million). It has grossed over $275 million overseas and does not open in China until Aug. 31.
Ant-Man and the Wasp has hit the $200 million mark, but is still staring up at the half-billion line worldwide with only $448 million. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again has hit $100 million, though it is $13 million behind the original at this point. It has grossed over $280 million worldwide. Equalizer 2 is still hoping to squeak by the nine-digit milestone (both domestically and internationally where it stands at $99.8 million.) The first film had $93.7 million at this point, $4.1 million ahead of its sequel and it finished with $101.5 million.
As horror films in August go, Slender Man’s $11.3 million finished in between Mirrors ($11.1) and Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid ($12.8). Expect the 15% Tomatometer–rated film that capitalizes off the real-life tragic Wisconsin case in which two 12-year-old girls stabbed another girl 19 times to be nearly forgotten about by next weekend. Can it best the 64.1-percent drop that The Darkest Minds had in its second weekend? Only Deadpool 2 (-65.4 percent) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (-65.2 percent) had bigger drops this summer, but those were from opening weekends of $125 million and $84 million, respectively.
A24 tried to boost word-of-mouth for Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade with free screenings this past Wednesday, but it still dropped 43 percent down to $1.6 million. It has grossed over $10 million making it the 10th film in the studio’s history to do so, and it is the fifth highest–grossing film from Sundance this year so far. Disney’s Christopher Robin is a little ahead of Pete’s Dragon from a few years ago suggesting a final gross in the low $80-millions. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is on the verge of passing Frozen to become the 12th highest-grossing film worldwide of all-time.
Annabelle: Creation grossed more in its opening weekend than the next four films in the top 10 combined. Dunkirk and Girls Trip were in their fourth weekends, sure, but Annabelle’s $35 million was nevertheless impressive. Much more so than Open Road attempting a sequel to its biggest hit to date with The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature, which started with just $8.3 million. Brie Larson’s reunion with her Short Term 12 director Destin Daniel Cretton, The Glass Castle, split critics (50% Tomatometer score), but received even less interest from audiences with $4.6 million. The top 10 films in 2017 average 54.5% on the Tomatometer and grossed $89.2 million. This week’s films averaged 65.0% on the Tomatometer and grossed an estimated $126.1 million.
Warner Bros. goes back-to-back and gets a head start on next weekend by opening Crazy Rich Asians on Wednesday. Based on the 2013 book by Kevin Kwan, there are expectations that this could provide this solid summer with one last breakout success. With the numbers put up by The Meg, look for the studio to own the top two spots next week. Mark Wahlberg teams up with director Peter Berg for a fourth time (with a fifth on the way) in the action film Mile 22, though the real star may end up being The Raid’s Iko Uwais. Will it generate enough interest to even beat Mission: Impossible in its fourth weekend? Finally, Albert Hughes returns (without brother Allen) to the director’s chair for the first time since 2010’s The Book of Eli going from apocalyptic to prehistoric with Alpha, a survival adventure with a boy and his dog companion.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]