Weekend Box Office (July 14 - 16, 2017)
THIS WEEKEND Audiences showed up for battle as the summer's latest threequel, War for the Planet of the Apes, opened at number one at the North American box office. The Fox release grossed an estimated $56.5M from 4,022 locations for a strong $14,048 average. The latest Caesar adventure debuted 22% below the last one which was Dawn of the Planet of the Apes which premiered to $72.6M this same month in 2014. War opened just 3% higher than the first film of this trilogy, 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Reviews were fantastic for War with many critics calling it the best of the three with wonderful use of technology to advance the art of storytelling. Ticket buyers were also very pleased with the film as the CinemaScore grade was an A-. Studio data showed that the crowd was 57% male, 63% over 25, and 52% non-white. War cost $150M to produce. It rolled out in parts of the world day and date with domestic and the weekend opening was $46M for a global launch of $102.5M. However, most key overseas territories will be debuting in the weeks to come.
Slipping from first to second place was the summer's latest super hero tentpole Spider-Man: Homecoming which declined by 61% in its sophomore session to an estimated $45.2M. The drop was sizable, but not unexpected for the sixth film from a comic book franchise since fan turnout is intense upfront most of the times. Spider-Man 3 dropped by 62% in its second weekend in 2007 and there were no Thursday pre-shows back then to boost opening weekend numbers. The Homecoming fall was also in line with the 60% of last year's Captain America: Civil War which introduced Tom Holland as the new Peter Parker and did not face any major competition from new releases.
Sony's cume rose on the latest Spidey pic to $208.3M after ten full days which is already bigger than the $202.9M of the last film, 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Homecoming is on track to break the $300M domestic mark in the coming weeks. Overseas markets collected an additional $72.3M this weekend boosting the international take to $261.1M and the worldwide tally to $469.4M.
Taking third place and dropping a reasonable 44% was the toon threequel Despicable Me 3 with an estimated $18.9M. Universal has banked $188M to date which is off 28% from Minions and down 27% from DM2 which were both north of $250M at this same point. DM3 may finish its domestic run just shy of that mark. But overseas audiences are still turning out in healthy numbers for Gru with the international cume now up to $431.4M (led by China's $113.6M) and global at a solid $619.4M on its way to at least $850M.
For the fifth consecutive weekend, the box office was led by a tentpole that is film number three or beyond from a big-budget franchise. The current top three were preceded by Transformers and Cars sequels. All five debuted at number one, however three, or possibly four, will end their domestic runs at new franchise lows. Plus the latest Pirates movie from May can be added into this crop too.
Following these franchise flicks were original films that have been enjoying prolonged runs thanks to excellent word of mouth. Sony's Baby Driver eased only 33% in its third lap for an estimated $8.8M pushing the cume to $73.2M. Amazon and Lionsgate went nationwide with the Sundance hit The Big Sick which jumped into the top five with an estimated $7.6M lifting the total to $16M.
Super hero sensation Wonder Woman posted its fifth straight weekend with a decline in the low 30-40% range by slipping only 30% to an estimated $6.9M in its seventh frame. Cume is up to $380.7M and the DC star has climbed up to number 30 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters. $400M seems likely. Overseas markets have contributed $384.2M for a new global tally of $764.9M on its way into the $800M club.
The horror film Wish Upon was a blip on the summer movie radar opening poorly in seventh place with an estimated $5.6M. Broad Green averaged a weak $2,483 from 2,250 locations from just the U.S. as Canada did not open this weekend. Reviews were mostly bad and buzz was never strong.
More sequels followed with Cars 3 taking in an estimated $3.2M, off 41%, for a $140M sum for Disney. It will end as the second lowest grossing Pixar movie ever with even 1998's A Bug's Life making more. Paramount's Transformers: The Last Knight fell 56% to an estimated $2.8M for $124.9M to date. This is by far a franchise low. Global is $517.3M led by China's $225M. Rounding out the top ten was the comedy flop The House with an estimated $1.8M, down 62%, and $23.1M overall for Warner Bros.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $157.2M which was up 4% from last year when The Secret Life of Pets stayed at number one with $50.8M; but down 12% from 2015 when Ant-Man debuted in the top spot with $57.2M.
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Compared to projections, War for the Planet of the Apes and Wish Upon both opened close to my respective forecasts of $53M and $7M.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Dunkirk, Girls Trip and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets all open.
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: July 16, 2017 at 3:20PM ET
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