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.


(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.


(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

ViacomCBS rom-coms zombies Reality Turner Winners king arthur stand-up comedy Peacock comedies best Stephen King Apple TV+ true crime Showtime NBA ABC Signature Disney Channel Amazon remakes LGBTQ Teen movie YouTube Red movies Baby Yoda Sundance teaser animated superman robots 007 Musical spy thriller Mudbound comic kong obituary Trailer basketball kaiju Spring TV 1990s El Rey christmas movies IFC Films science fiction new york Syfy 72 Emmy Awards monster movies emmy awards Comic-Con@Home 2021 Creative Arts Emmys Netflix Television Critics Association halloween tv Martial Arts theme song Action comiccon boxing suspense new star wars movies GLAAD finale Opinion TCA The Purge television Wes Anderson Superheroes Trivia Epix marvel cinematic universe cancelled TV series strong female leads Lifetime halloween Universal Starz legend A24 See It Skip It streaming Country all-time foreign Lionsgate BET Awards Food Network Exclusive Video The Witch revenge Cartoon Network Holiday rt archives Comedy Valentine's Day cars Certified Fresh Tumblr dexter VICE Comics on TV CBS spider-man crossover New York Comic Con Kids & Family diversity book adaptation Academy Awards news south america james bond Ghostbusters Mystery WGN DC Comics Amazon Prime Video supernatural critics FX on Hulu X-Men critic resources HBO Go 2017 cartoon SundanceTV adventure Hallmark Dark Horse Comics italian Captain marvel golden globe awards name the review TIFF jurassic park National Geographic Spike screenings Schedule The Walking Dead MSNBC international Freeform 2021 BBC America TV One mission: impossible DC streaming service 45 TV toronto Amazon Prime 99% FX psychological thriller rotten a nightmare on elm street Women's History Month Mary poppins free movies worst movies japan Esquire comics Rock fast and furious political drama universal monsters Brie Larson latino anthology LGBT HBO Max The Walt Disney Company ITV ID Fall TV Music Best and Worst TBS game of thrones ABC spinoff rt labs TCM 24 frames discovery TV movies blaxploitation young adult miniseries AMC Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt criterion telelvision satire live action kids Paramount Plus Emmys australia gangster documentary 2016 Spectrum Originals 2020 facebook travel Oscars Trophy Talk streaming movies franchise canceled TV shows Cosplay Disney streaming service PBS directors Comedy Central TNT concert 90s scene in color docuseries Super Bowl aliens king kong ESPN canceled Horror Ellie Kemper Set visit Chernobyl A&E joker APB Holidays space toy story Pride Month Comic Book 20th Century Fox aapi 73rd Emmy Awards E! Lucasfilm NYCC scary movies french PlayStation Tomatazos Red Carpet cooking Lifetime Christmas movies Pop Pacific Islander spain target TV renewals heist movie adenture hist child's play scorecard Nominations disaster marvel comics Vudu Marvel Television Quiz comic book movie Alien Legendary know your critic blockbusters Song of Ice and Fire OWN crime drama what to watch award winner Photos Extras Biopics Paramount Network crime slashers batman Awards Tour Tarantino Nat Geo MCU quibi popular Hear Us Out TruTV Pet Sematary Television Academy stoner biopic Adult Swim Election RT21 twilight Walt Disney Pictures natural history 4/20 Rocketman independent sequels TCA Awards Marathons OneApp children's TV The CW superhero crime thriller YA anime dramedy Toys Disney Plus YouTube Premium screen actors guild breaking bad Summer USA Infographic Mary Tyler Moore docudrama Reality Competition Mary Poppins Returns doctor who Nickelodeon SDCC Musicals asian-american Black Mirror Drama rotten movies we love BAFTA Sony Pictures video on demand dceu TLC Black History Month blockbuster football The Academy Cannes romantic comedy 21st Century Fox dogs Podcast hispanic period drama Tubi Crunchyroll green book DirecTV razzies SXSW video Awards festival pirates of the caribbean FXX VH1 Apple TV Plus ratings sports Pirates spanish language Countdown slasher sequel hidden camera Grammys DC Universe Chilling Adventures of Sabrina unscripted Turner Classic Movies Marvel Studios technology talk show worst GIFs Britbox hispanic heritage month Shudder nbcuniversal cops zombie Winter TV TCA 2017 Christmas Polls and Games cinemax DGA CNN Pop TV HBO CMT Tokyo Olympics Writers Guild of America Sneak Peek venice renewed TV shows women nfl jamie lee curtis vampires TCA Winter 2020 First Reviews Apple indiana jones werewolf Film rt labs critics edition Disney BBC politics History chucky laika Bravo historical drama godzilla VOD spanish Fox Searchlight based on movie Paramount Sundance TV prank Heroines justice league Hallmark Christmas movies Elton John Discovery Channel Masterpiece die hard Shondaland Broadway trailers boxoffice cancelled television debate biography fresh Travel Channel Endgame black Arrowverse wonder woman GoT medical drama Classic Film police drama First Look Amazon Studios royal family thriller richard e. Grant saw 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Premiere Dates Netflix Christmas movies comic books book ghosts Marvel classics Box Office 71st Emmy Awards Fantasy Star Wars casting cancelled TV shows dark Columbia Pictures Warner Bros. NBC MTV composers golden globes action-comedy Superheroe American Society of Cinematographers WarnerMedia Calendar versus indie ABC Family comic book movies Video Games Binge Guide Avengers mcc festivals Year in Review serial killer Emmy Nominations Sundance Now new zealand Rom-Com Pixar Animation San Diego Comic-Con BET Image Comics Western reviews japanese Character Guide social media witnail dragons The Arrangement nature series Logo Acorn TV CBS All Access elevated horror romance sitcom Hulu YouTube IFC Mindy Kaling cults cats dc Crackle Funimation President lord of the rings tv talk Fox News FOX Disney+ Disney Plus Watching Series deadpool olympics TV Land Thanksgiving high school cancelled hollywood zero dark thirty Film Festival Ovation singing competition feel good Star Trek Sci-Fi Interview USA Network sag awards stop motion E3 RT History Anna Paquin binge archives posters 2015 2019 parents transformers harry potter 93rd Oscars reboot CW Seed mutant game show psycho mockumentary documentaries 2018 PaleyFest adaptation Family war BBC One films Rocky