Another summer 2019 weekend, another box office frame where the new releases came up short, including the top title of the weekend, Men in Black: International. Though it was the first Sony/Columbia movie to top the domestic box office in six months (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was the last title from the studio to achieve that), Men in Black: International only grossed $28.5 million over the weekend, a 48% drop from the $54.5 million opening weekend of MIB 3, the last entry in this Men in Black series. It’s also the first the live-action movie in history to open under $30 million despite playing in over 4,000 theaters.
Only good news for Sony/Columbia here is that Men in Black: International cost only $110 million (or even reportedly as little as $94 million) to make, so the financial loss on this one will be minimal. Still, relaunching the Men in Black series was clearly meant to generate far larger grosses than this, a feat that was impossible to pull off thanks to a tepid marketing effort that just couldn’t convince audiences why this newest Men in Black adventure was a must-see. Chris Hemsworth hasn’t proved to be much of a box office draw outside of his Thor adventures, which didn’t help either. Sony/Columbia may have struck gold with a Jumanji sequel, but between Men in Black: International, Flatliners, Ghostbusters (2016) The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Inferno and Goosebumps 2, maybe making a sequel to everything remotely successful in the studio’s library isn’t the best plan.
In second place was last weekends box office victor, The Secret Life of Pets 2 grossed another $23.8 million, a 49% drop from opening weekend, actually a better second-weekend hold than the 51% second-weekend drop its predecessor experienced. Pets 2 has grossed $92 million after ten days of release and will crack $100 million before Toy Story 4 arrives on Friday. Fellow family movie holdover Aladdin dipped only 32% this frame to add $16.7 million to its massive domestic haul of $263.4 million. making it only the seventh live-action Disney movie not under the Lucasfilm or Marvel Studios banners to crack $300 million domestically. Holding far worse this weekend was Dark Phoenix, which plummeted 72% to have the largest second-weekend drop ever for a high-profile superhero movie. Grossing only $9 million this weekend, Dark Phoenix has only taken in $51.7 million after ten days of release, a smaller sum than any of the opening weekends of the previous twelve X-Men movies. Rounding out the top five this weekend was Rocketman, which also experienced a strong hold this weekend, dipping only 36% for another $8.8 million and a domestic haul of $66.1 million.
Shaft came in way behind pre-release box office tracking and expectations with only a $8.3 million opening weekend, a disastrous bow for the $35 million budgeted title that serves as one of the lowest opening weekends in recent memory for Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson’s been a major box office draw in recent years, but not since the dismal $6.4 million December 2008 bow of The Spirit has a Jackson-headlined feature performed this poorly. Heck, this new Shaft movie made only 40% of the $21.7 million opening weekend of the 2000 Shaft movie Jackson starred in. It’s astonishing to see Shaft come in so far behind expectations like this and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why this happened. Maybe the Shaft brand isn’t viable to modern audiences while the overtly comedic tone of the marketing turned off fans of the classic Shaft movies? Who knows, but this is a terrible opening and one that continues the rough time Warner Bros. has had at the domestic box office in the summer of 2019 with movies that don’t star Pikachu.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters dropped another 47% this weekend, a much better third-weekend hold than its predecessor, and grossed another $8.1 million for a $93.4 million domestic total. After seventeen days of release, King of the Monsters has now narrowly outgrossed the opening weekend of the 2014 Godzilla movie. John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum dropped a tiny 17% in its fifth weekend of release, grossing another $6.1 million in the process and bringing its domestic gross to $148.6 million. John Wick’s newest adventure is currently the biggest movie of 2019 domestically not released by either Disney or Universal.
Despite Amazon Studios giving it a mighty marketing push, Late Night got off to a weak $5.1 million start at 2,220 locations, a drop of about 37% from the wide-release opening weekend of fellow summertime Amazon Studios title The Big Sick. Despite positive reviews and the star power of Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling, Late Night just couldn’t draw in viewers. Opening on a weekend entirely populated by comedies likely wasn’t a smart move, lots of options this weekend for audiences looking for laughs and a smaller title like Late Night got lost in the shuffle. One piece of good news: Late Night will clear $10 million domestically, making it the first ever title for Amazon Studios as a self-distributed studio to crack that box office benchmark. It will also be only the second limited release title of 2019 (following Fighting with my Family) to crack $10 million.
Rounding out the top ten was Ma, which fell 54% this weekend to gross another $3.6 million for a $40.3 million domestic haul. Avengers: Endgame had by far its strongest weekend-to-weekend hold this weekend as it dipped just 27% for an eighth weekend gross of $3.5 million for an $830.4 million domestic total.
Surprisingly, The Dead Don’t Die actually did solid business this weekend, grossing $2.3 million from 613 locations for a per-theater average of $3,834. For comparison’s sake, fellow mid-June Focus Features release The Book of Henry opened to only $1.4 million 579 locations, a number The Dead Don’t Die improved 85% on. It’s no sleeper hit, but in a summer where a number of comedies have ended up more dead than a rotting corpse, The Dead Don’t Die managing some better-than-expected numbers in a restrained theater count is a minor win, especially since Focus Features has been struggling big time at the box office in 2019 so far.
Losing 1,177 of its theaters this weekend, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu fell 60% in its sixth weekend of release and grossed $1.28 million for a domestic gross of $140.7 million. Despite losing half of its theater count and falling out of wide release (it’s now playing in 577 locations), Booksmart, in its fourth frame, fell only 46% this weekend and actually improved on its per-theater average from last weekend. Grossing another $$859,214 this frame, Booksmart has now grossed $19.7 million and is guaranteed to become the second movie (following Vice) Annapurna has released as a stand-alone distributor to clear $20 million domestically. Meanwhile, A Dog’s Journey fell 60% for a fifth-weekend of $500,000 and a domestic total of $21.8 million.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco actually held quite nicely in its second weekend of limited release, grossing $361,120 from 36 locations for a per-theater average of $10,031 and a domestic gross of $713,286. BrightBurn fell 56% for a fourth-weekend gross of $250,000 and a domestic gross of $17 million. Pavarotti neither expanded or shrunk its theater count this frame, instead, it stayed in 48 locations for its second weekend of release, and actually managed to increase 39% from its opening weekend. Grossing another $200,000 this frame for a per-theater average of $4,167, Pavarotti has now grossed $429,005. Fellow Summer 2019 documentary Echo in the Canyon expanded into 68 locations and grossed $197,200 (a 2% dip from last weekend) for a per-theater average of $2,900 and a domestic gross of $795,488. Next up is yet another documentary title, The Biggest Little Farm, which fell 49% this weekend and grossed $194,000 from 176 locations for a per-theater average of $1,102 and a domestic gross of $2.9 million.
All Is True fell 61% this weekend and grossed $87,184 for a domestic gross of $968,513. Newbie release 5B grossed $40,000 from 127 locations for a dismal per-theater average of $327. Hampstead opened to $24,144 from 12 locations for a per-theater average of $2,012 while a theatrical re-release of Paris is Burning grossed $11,000 from a single location, the nineteenth biggest opening weekend ever for Janus Films. Our Time opened to $3,000 from a solitary movie theater while opening weekend numbers are not yet in for American Woman.
The top 12 movies this weekend grossed a total of $123.9 million, a measly sum for the 24th weekend of a year. Only three other frames from this time of the year in the 21st century have done worse. It’s also a 53% drop from this same weekend last year when Incredibles 2 scored the biggest opening weekend in history for an animated movie. Luckily, business should pick up immensely this next weekend when Toy Story 4 opens. Could it dethrone Incredibles 2 for the honor of biggest animated movie opening weekend of all-time? We shall know soon enough.