Weekend Box Office (May 27 - 30, 2016)
THIS WEEKEND For the third time in franchise history, an X-Men sequel is poised to debut at number one over the long Memorial Day holiday frame. This time it is X-Men: Apocalypse which comes two years after Days of Future Past became the top-grossing global grosser ever by far for the series in 2014. That film won rave reviews by bringing back director Bryan Singer and having the old and new X-Men casts come together under one roof. It was an event.
DOFP opened to a stellar $110.6M over the four-day Memorial Day session on its way to $233.9M domestic and $748M worldwide. Apocalypse focuses on the younger cast so not having veteran stars like Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan will take a bit away. And reviews for Apocalypse are worse than those for the last film which will give some more casual action fans some pause. However, fan love for this movie franchise is still very strong and most of that DOFP crowd will be interested in taking another trip out for a new adventure.
The X-Men audience is finite, but huge. Few newcomers are going to be joining the fun now at this stage in the 16-year-old franchise's life. But the series does offer more diversity than most super hero franchises and Apocalypse features five prominent female characters in the story. And nobody is a token love interest. This will help broaden the appeal and make it escapist entertainment for a wide audience over a long weekend when people have more leisure time and are not necessarily looking for the utmost quality in storytelling.
One advantage the new X-Men will have over the last pic will be less direct competition from other PG-13 action movies. DOFP faced over $48M from its foes in the Top 10 including Godzilla's second weekend. Apocalypse should only go up against $20M or so from Civil War.
Apocalypse opened in two-thirds of the international marketplace last weekend grossing $101.6M. Many growth markets in Asia and Latin America saw bigger openings than DOFP. But North America behaves more like non-growing markets in Western Europe and in most of those countries, Apocalypse debuted behind DOFP. Attacking 4,150 locations including 3D and PLF screens, X-Men Apocalypse could debut to about $93M over the four-day holiday span.
Johnny Depp is allegedly on the A-list, but his box office performance in recent years puts him on probation. He goes back into franchise mode with Disney's Alice Through the Looking Glass which hopes to capture plenty of family business over the long holiday frame. The PG-rated movie has not been met with praise from film critics and it is not exactly a sequel that fans asked for. Tim Burton's name is being used in marketing materials and many fans will be fooled into thinking he came back as director, when in fact he only takes on the role of one of the handful of producers here.
If any studio can make a film like this sell it's the Mouse House. But more subdued consumer interest plus the lack of dazzle that 3D has today will ensure that the opening weekend comes nowhere near the $116.1M of 2010's Alice in Wonderland when it followed Avatar as the next big screen must-see spectacle to watch with dark glasses on. But since Alice, Depp has struggled at the box office and the only live action film he has anchored since to open north of $30M was his fourth Pirates of the Caribbean pic in 2011. Alice Through the Looking Glass has a familiar feel and has the Disney stamp of approval, but it is not likely to be a supersized hit. Opening in over 3,763 theaters, it may capture about $52M over four days.
Last weekend, The Angry Birds Movie knocked the Steve v Tony battle out of the top spot. The long holiday weekend is generally good for kidpics and this one is the only major toon around. But buzz is good and not great. And the two new big-budget monsters opening up both have appeal to younger ages too. Sony may see Angry Birds slip down to about $28M for the weekend pushing the cume to $77M.
Captain America: Civil War vaulted past the $350M mark during the week and now has its sights set on the quadruple-century barrier. Super hero competition will be direct from the other team of Marvel characters so a slide down to around $21M may result. Disney would then see its total climb to $380M.
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Watch the trailer for Star Trek: Beyond.
LAST YEAR Dwayne Johnson delivered a strong debut for his disaster film San Andreas which bowed to $54.6M on its way to $155.2M domestic and $470M global for Warner Bros. Holdovers followed. Pitch Perfect 2 held steady in second place with $14.8M while Disney's flop Tomorrowland fell from first to third with $14.3M. Close behind was Mad Max: Fury Road with $14.2M while the summer kickoff film Avengers: Age of Ultron rounded out the top five with $11.4M.
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: May 26, 2016 at 12:00PM ET
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