Weekend Box Office (August 18 - 20, 2017)
THIS WEEKEND Hollywood's current menu of movies sent people to other places for their entertainment as the North American box office slumped to its worst point of 2017 with next weekend looking like it will sink even more.
Opening at number one with good results was the Samuel L. Jackson - Ryan Reynolds action thriller The Hitman's Bodyguard with an estimated $21.6M from 3,377 locations for a solid $6,396 average. For the back half of August - always the weakest part of the summer movie season - this was a fine debut especially since reviews were lackluster and it followed over a dozen other action offerings this season. Lionsgate saw an audience that was 52% male and 70% over 25 and those who paid to see the R-rated film were generally satisfied with it. The CinemaScore grade was a B+. With no major competition next weekend, Bodyguard will try to hold its crown for two weeks.
Falling from first place in its sophomore scare was the horror hit Annabelle: Creation with an estimated $15.5M sliding 56% which was nearly identical to the 57% second weekend fall for the first Annabelle. Cume for the new chapter is $64M going to the vicinity of $90M. Overseas, Latin America is leading the charge and the weekend saw a healthy $42M boosting the totals to $96.7M international and $160.7M worldwide on track to break $300M global just like both Conjuring films did. These are enormous returns for low cost thrillers.
Costing little, but also making little, was Steven Soderbergh's new film Logan Lucky which failed to excite audiences opening to an estimated $8M in third place. The PG-13 Bleecker Street release averaged a weak $2,656 from 3,031 theaters. Film critics were very impressed, but that did not translate into any consumer heat.
Moviegoers spent just $76.1M on the top ten films this weekend which nearly matched the $75.7M from the Super Bowl frame in February as the worst weekend of 2017. Next weekend offers a weak menu of new titles and grosses are expected to sink even lower, although this also presents an opportunity for the best-liked holdovers to catch more business. It is looking more and more likely now that this will be the first time in 17 years that August fails to produce a single film that breaks $100M domestically. Studios put together an awfully weak slate for August this year and exhibitors are now witnessing a lack of long lines.
The World War II hit Dunkirk followed in fourth with an estimated $6.7M, down 38%, for a new cume of $165.5M for Warner Bros. Offshore markets have contributed $227.2M to date for a global tally of $392.7M with Italy, China, and Japan still to open in the coming weeks.
A pair of animated comedies kept kids busy this weekend. The Nut Job 2 dropped 39% after its horrendous debut with an estimated $5.1M and only $17.7M overall for Open Road. Sony's The Emoji Movie slipped 33% to an estimated $4.4M putting the total at $71.8M.
The studio's super hero reboot Spider-Man: Homecoming enjoyed the lowest drop in the top ten with an estimated $4.3M, down just 29%. The sum has risen to $314M here and $724.8M worldwide. The year's top grossing comedy Girls Trip broke the $100M barrier last week and dropped 41% to an estimated $3.8M pushing the cume up to $104M for Universal. It has now grossed more than 2017's next two biggest comedies - Baywatch and Snatched - combined.
The sci-fi pic The Dark Tower fell 52% to an estimated $3.7M putting Sony at just $41.6M to date. Rounding out the top ten was Wind River which expanded nationwide to decent results grossing an estimated $3M from 694 sites for a moderate $4,359 average. The Weinstein Co. has collected $4.1M so far.
New global grosses for summer tentpoles below the top ten include $948.4M for Despicable Me 3 which is on track to join the billion dollar club, plus $800M for Wonder Woman, $786M for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, $601.1M for Transformers: The Last Knight, and $346.3M for War for the Planet of the Apes.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $76.1M which was down a sharp 32% from last year when Suicide Squad remained at number one with $20.9M; and down 11% from 2015 when Straight Outta Compton stayed in the top spot with $26.4M.
Compared to projections, The Hitman's Bodyguard surged ahead of my $11M forecast while Logan Lucky was on target with my $8M prediction.
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Watch the extended trailer for Justice League.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when All Saints, Leap! and Birth of the Dragon all open wide.
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: August 20, 2017 at 2:20PM ET
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