Here’s your estimated 3-day box office returns (new releasesbolded):
1. The Angry Birds Movie – $39.0 million ($39.0 million total)
2. Captain America: Civil War – $33.1 million ($347.3 million total)
3. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising – $21.7 million ($21.7 million total)
4. The Nice Guys – $11.2 million ($11.2 million total)
5. The Jungle Book – $11.0 million ($327.4 million total)
6. Money Monster – $7.0 million ($27.1 million total)
7. The Darkness – $2.3 million ($8.4 million total)
8. Zootopia – $1.7 million ($334.4 million total)
9. The Huntsman: Winter’s War – $1.1 million ($46.6 million total)
10. Mother’s Day – $1.1 million ($31.2 million total)
The Big Stories
This weekend’s numbers begins a fascinating question about this most important season for Hollywood and its studios: Just how interested are people in what they are being offered this summer? Sure there is already one $300 million film on its way to well over $400 million but May 2016 is a pretty barren month when it comes to major releases. Only seven films are opening wider than 2000 screens, which is not all that unusual. Since 2010 the number of films released as wide in May have been anywhere from 7-9. But its the final grosses that should have everyone concerned for what could be a pretty lackluster summer overall in the U.S.
How Angry Are They?
Not counting The Darkness (and its 5% score on under 1800 screens), Sony’s The Angry Birds Movie is currently the weakest-reviewed major release of the summer. 42% at Rotten Tomatoes, which is quite a thing for an animated film since even the harshest critics often find something worth recommending about such family fare.
That puts in roughly in the league of these films:
46% – Happy Feet Two, Home, Hoodwinked, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
45% – Hotel Transylvania, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Return to Never Land
44% – Planes: Fire & Rescue
42% – The Angry Birds Movie
41% – Everyone’s Hero, Rugrats Go Wild
40% – Shrek the Third
39% – Cars 2, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything
38% – Brother Bear
37% – Ice Age: Continental Drift, Mars Needs Moms
Sony has already racked up over $94 million overseas. Another $10 million on top of that and the studio should be on their way to have a decent hit on their hand.
What? Girls? Yuck!
Speaking of stories that seem to be dominating the male film culture in the most disgusting ways, is there a deeper reason that audiences did not show up for Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising this weekend? I mean we would have to ignore that people simply felt that an assumed repeat of the original hit was not enough to bring them back. Forget suggesting that Seth Rogen is losing box office appeal since 2014’s Neighbors is still his highest-grossing live-action film to date. The Interview never had a chance as its follow-up and The Night Before may have started light but had a 4.33 word-of-mouth multiple. So could it be something along the growing issue that some basement dwellers out there (you know, the ones posting negative things about an all-female Ghostbusters) are taking the title of “Sorority Rising” a little too seriously?
The original film opened to $49 million and had a two-month headstart on positive vibes after a successful preview screening at the South By Southwest Film Festival that March. Though a 73% score hardly lit up Rotten Tomatoes. Reviews for the sequel have been decidedly mixed over whether or not the film succeeded on being a statement (ironically) about sexism and double standards in our culture, but its still positive at 62%.
Yet only $21 million for a start which I would not have believed on Monday, but after a dismal showing at a local promo screening you could sense something foul was in the air. One could point to the mediocre “B” Cinemascore, but that’s the same grade the first film got; one of just four films in May since 2001 to receive that grade and also receive a positive score at Rotten Tomatoes.
That puts Neighbors and Neighbors 2 in the group with Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia and Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. (Yes, revisionist historians, Indy 4 was liked by nearly 3 out of 4 film critics.) The average multiple of “B”‘s in May opening between $16-26 million is 2.74 which would put Neighbors 2 at around $59 million. On just a $35 million budget (and $20 million already internationally) that’s not a horrible number for Universal any more than The Boss‘ $61 million; a film savaged by critics that received just a “C+” on top of it. That’s one of the few victories women will be able to claim if a certain faction of anti-Buster folk have their say.
Tales of the Top Ten
It’s a shame to relegate Shane Black’s The Nice Guys into this section as it’s easily the best-reviewed film of the week. But that 90% at Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t mean much with a “B-” from audiences. That very closely resembles what Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell got in May 2009 and becomes just the second “B-” Cinemascore in this month since ’01 to get a critical response over 50%. The average multiple of those 12 films comes to 2.69 (Drag Me To Hellwas 2.66 with its 92%). So that would put the WB film with around $29-30 million, which is less than any single day on the opening weekend of Black’s Iron Man 3. A shame, really. C’mon you guys, it has “Guys” right in the title!
As for what appears to already be the clear winner of a summer that may struggle to produce more than three $300 million grossers, Captain America: Civil War nevertheless continued to fall off the pace of Age of Ultron. At $347 million in the U.S. after this weekend, it lost another $5 million off Ultron’s third weekend and $25 million overall. But who cares? The film is over one billion worldwide ($1.053 billion to be precise) and is now amongst the Top 20 grossing films of all time.
As the year of Disney continues, Zootopia is 27th all-time as it tries to inch itself to a cool billion and The Jungle Book is still pulling in double-digit weekends for its sixth week in the top five. Even that has its eye on surpassing Batman v Superman worldwide. (It is already about a day away from outgrossing it in the U.S. and over $857 million total.)
Beyond that, Money Monster took its expected dip of 52% and may be in danger of hitting $40 million now.
The Darkness is now High Top’s highest grossing film with over $8 million.
Mother’s Day is now Open Road’s 9th biggest film (in the U.S.) with $31 million.
Finally, it took The Huntsman: Winter’s War until this past Friday to match (worldwide) what the first film did just in the U.S. After their incredible year in 2015 with three billion-dollar films and six grossing over $150 million in the U.S. they have yet to release a single $100 million grosser in 2016. Neighbors 2 isn’t going to get there. I’m figuring under $75 million forWarcraft. It’s up to The Secret Lives of Pets and Jason Bourne to give Universal any real comfort this year as they may be the only films on their docket to officially hit $100 million in this calendar year.
– 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]