Well, for those hoping the summer box office blues would improve once we got into August, some of those hopes got dashed by the underperforming nature of this weekends newcomers. Considering we had a whole swatch of massive overperformers in the first three months of the year, the blah box office seems to be less of “moviegoers abandoning theaters” (as I’ve seen many hot takes declaring this week) but rather audiences staying far away from generic looking material like The Dark Tower, which grossed $19.5 million. That’s actually not bad for a $60 million budgeted blockbuster, but it’s definitely not something that’ll kick off a franchise like Sony and Media Rights Capital had hoped.
From a marketing perspective, The Dark Tower was trapped in an odd position of not really pleasing fans with trailers that made it clear heavy alterations to the source material had been made while the trailers and TV spots couldn’t quite coerce general audiences to give this a shot with the only real stand-out factor being the promise of getting to see Matthew McConaughey as a bad guy. Dismal reviews likely further deterred audiences not totally familiar with the source material. Thanks to no new blockbusters opening up this month, it’s likely The Dark Tower gets past $50 million domestically but it’s also likely that Sony/Media Rights Capital had much higher financial ambitions for this project.
Continuing to hold nicely was Dunkirk, which went down 34% to gross another $17.6 million. In 17 days, this one’s grossed $133.5 million and looks to be headed for a final domestic cume of at least $180 million. The Emoji Movie went down 49% to gross another $12.3 million in its second-weekend, a slightly larger than average second-weekend decline for an animated kids movie, which brings it up to a 10 day gross of $49.4 million. Girls Trip, meanwhile, went down another 41% to gross an additional $11.4 million, for an $85.4 million domestic cume. Looks like this one’s aiming for $115-120 million in terms of a domestic total.
Debuting to decent numbers this weekend was Kidnap, which grossed $10.2 million in its opening weekend, which is only down 42% from the opening weekend of her last thriller, The Call. While not a big breakout hit, that’s actually not a bad opening for a title that had such a troubled time getting released. Originally scheduled for release in October 2015 by Relativity Media, it kept getting delayed as Relativity Media suffered continuous financial hardships before going bankrupt. Kidnap has now seen the light of day nearly two years after its initial planned release and has produced some decent numbers as the inaugural release of newbie indie studio Aviron. This and 47 Meters Down serve as a reminder of how small-scale thrillers with easily explainable premises can easily flourish in the summertime season.
Spider-Man: Homecoming had its best weekend-to-weekend drop yet, going down only 33% to gross another $8.8 million and bringing its domestic gross to $294.9 million. I’d wager this one ends its domestic gross just under or above $320 million. Meanwhile, Atomic Blonde grossed another $8.2 million in its second frame, a 55% drop which means it’s now grossed $34.1 million in ten days. It appears this one’s headed for a final domestic total between $50 and $55 million.
Annapurna became a self-distributing studio this weekend with its inaugural release Detroit, though it was an underwhelming bow for the studio as the $40 million budgeted Kathryn Bigelow drama grossed only $7.2 million at 3,007 locations. The massive theater count and notable marketing effort showed that Annapurna was putting a lot of muscle behind this one but the grim and bleak subject matter meant Detroit was never going to really be a breakout hit like past August dramas dealing with drama in the Civil Rights era that had more inspirational overtones like The Help and Lee Daniels’ The Butler. With a bevy of new releases on the way, Detorit will be lucky to crack $20 million domestically. Interestingly, one note of positivity can be found in that audiences seemed as receptive to Detroit as critics as the film garnered an A- CinemaScore, not only the best CinemaScore grade among new releases this weekend but also much better than conventional grades given by audiences to bleak dramas.
Finally easing its weekend-to-weekend drops a tad was War For The Planet Of The Apes, which went down 42% to gross an additional $6 million for a $130.2 million domestic cume. If it doesn’t lose all of its screens by Labor Day, this one may just squeeze past $150 million domestically. Rounding out the top ten was Despicable Me 3, which grossed $5.2 million, a 30% dip from last weekend, meaning it’s now grossed $240.7 million, putting it within spitting distance of the domestic cume of the first Despicable Me movie. Right outside the top ten was Baby Driver, which kept right on chugging with an additional $2.5 million (a 36% drop from last weekend), bringing it up to a fantastic $97 million domestic haul. In its third domestic weekend, Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets plummeted another 63% to gross an additional $2.3 million for a dreadful $36.1 million domestic haul to date.
Wonder Woman will be cracking $400 million sometime during the week after amassing another $2.3 million, a 29% dip from last weekend that brings it up to a massive $399.5 million. Kudos are in order too for The Big Sick, which had its second straight weekend of losing over 500 theaters yet has been holding incredibly steady and has even been improving its per-theater average on a weekly basis for three straight weeks now. This weekend, it grossed $2.2 million at 1,005 locations for a $2,189 per-theater average and a domestic total of $33.9 million. It appears this one will end up cracking $40 million domestically, a phenomenal feat for this low-budget Sundance drama. Meanwhile, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power did OK business in 180 theaters this weekend as it took in $900,000 for a per-theater average of $5,000 for a domestic gross so far of $1 million.
Let’s also spend some time talking about Wolf Warrior II this morning, a movie you may not have heard of but is tearing up box office records in China, where it just exceeded $400 million to become the biggest movie in China in 2017 and looks to surpass Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid to become the biggest movie ever in China. Interestingly, it really seems to have taken off this weekend in the U.S. as it actually lost 21 theaters from last weekend for a theater count of 32 locations, yet it increased business exponentially this weekend, grossing $460,000 (a whopping 110% increase from last weekend) for a per-theater average of $14,375 and a 10-day domestic total of $1 million. Will this one be getting further theater count expansions here in the U.S. to help it exceed the $3.3 million domestic gross of The Mermaid? Who knows but both its massive business in China and unexpected financial increases here are worth keeping an eye on.
In the rest of the world of limited releases, Landline grossed another $240,000 at 141 locations for a per-theater average of $1,702 and a domestic total to date of $503,128. Wind River actually got off to a great start in limited release, taking in $164,167 at 4 locations for a per-theater average of $41,042. Step, meanwhile, bowed to underwhelming numbers, grossing $145,000 at 29 locations for a per-theater average of $5,000. Finally, Menasche grossed $80,317 at 10 locations for an $8,032 per-theater average and a domestic gross of $178,834.
The Top 12 movies this weekend grossed a total of $111.5 million, which is waaaaaay down from the average sums seen by past first weekends of August. This frame, the 31st weekend of 2017, is the second-worst 31st weekend in any given year of the 21st century save for the 31st weekend of 2005 when The Dukes Of Hazard were riding high. That is very very very unpleasant box office news and I’m sure Hollywood is hoping like h*ck that soon to be released titles like Annabele: Creation, The Hitman’s Bodyguard and Logan Lucky help reverse things even a tad.