Weekend Box Office (May 19 - 21, 2017)
THIS WEEKEND Scoring a narrow box office victory, the sci-fi sequel Alien: Covenant opened at number one with an estimated $36M leading a North American marketplace that was weaker than usual for mid-May. It was the fourth R-rated film to debut in the top spot this year and the average was a solid $9,572 from 3,761 locations with no 3D boosts.
It was quite a front-loaded frame with the opening day gross accounting for 43% of the entire weekend take. Thursday pre-shows and an upfront fan base pushed sales to Friday and so-so buzz contributed to a sharp 22% fall on Saturday. Directed by Ridley Scott, Covenant opened 30% below the $51.1M of 2012's Prometheus which marked the return of Scott for the first time since the original 1979 smash.
Studio data showed that the crowd was 62% male and 66% over 25 - nothing surprising. Reviews were mostly good but the B CinemaScore grade indicated that ticket buyers were just fairly satisfied with the latest saga of space terror. Many international markets opened a week before the U.S. and the overseas gross is now $81.9M for a global cume of $117.9M. The $97M-budgeted action film still has two major Asian markets to open - China on June 16 and Japan on September 15.
After its two-week reign on top, the Marvel tentpole smash Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 slipped back to a close second place finish while displaying sturdy legs for a comic book sequel. Star-Lord and company declined by 46% to an estimated $35.1M sending the cume past the triple century mark to $301.8M. That beat the third weekend drops of recent Marvel heroes in sequels which launched on the first weekend of May including last year's Captain America: Civil War (55%), 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron (50%), 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (53%), and 2013's Iron Man 3 (51%).
The new Galaxy does have some major action competitors coming every weekend in the near future but a final domestic gross in the $375M neighborhood seems likely. The international weekend gross also fell by less than half and came in at $28M pushing the overseas total to $430.8M and the global haul to $732.6M. It will surpass the total of its 2014 predecessor next weekend. China leads all offshore markets by far with $94.2M to date.
The teen romance Everything, Everything enjoyed a good debut in third place with an estimated $12M from 2,801 theaters for a respectable $4,284 average. Warner Bros. saw most of its business come from young women not interested in violent action sequels which have been filling up multiplexes over the last several weeks. Studio data showed that the audience was 82% female and 82% under 35. Reviews were not very positive, but paying moviegoers were generally happy with the PG-13 love story.
The Amy Schumer-Goldie Hawn comedy Snatched tumbled by 61% in its second weekend to an estimated $7.6M for fourth place. The steep fall was due to coming off of last week's Mother's Day when Sunday sales rose sharply from Saturday, plus mixed word-of-mouth. The Fox release has taken in $32.8M to date.
There were few takers for the comedy sequel Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul which bowed in fifth with a weak $7.2M, according to estimates. The PG-rated film did not generate much excitement with families and tweens and the brand has become old. Fox averaged $2,281 from 3,157 locations. The first two films debuted in the $22-24M range while the threequel dropped to $14.6M.
The big budget bomb King Arthur tumbled out of the top five in only its second weekend grossing an estimated $6.9M. Falling 55%, the Warner Bros. misfire has banked a measly $27.2M to date. The period adventure cost over $250M to produce and market but will end its domestic run at under $40M. $66.2M has come from overseas with Japan being the only key market left to open.
Dropping 41% in its sixth lap was The Fate of the Furious with an estimated $3.2M boosting the domestic cume to $219.9M. Overseas grosses are on the verge of hitting $1 billion, currently sitting at $992.7M led by China's enormous $386.4M for an incredible worldwide haul of $1.21M. The Boss Baby followed with an estimated $2.8M, down 38%, for $166.2M for Fox. Global is now up to $467.9M.
Enjoying its tenth weekend in the top ten was Disney's Beauty and the Beast with an estimated $2.4M, off 50%. With a mammoth $497.8M from North America, Belle has amassed $1.22 billion globally with Japan on course to surpass China and the U.K. as the blockbuster's top international market. Lionsgate's comedy How to be a Latin Lover fell 43% to an estimated $2.2M pushing the cume to a solid $29.5M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $115.3M which was down 10% from last year when The Angry Birds Movie opened at number one with $38.2M; and down 20% from 2015 when Tomorrowland debuted in the top spot over the Memorial Day holiday weekend with $33M.
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Compared to projections, Alien: Covenant came in higher than my $32M forecast and Everything, Everything debuted a bit above my $10M prediction. Diary of a Wimpy Kid was on target with my $8M projection.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Baywatch both open.
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 21, 2017 at 3:50PM ET
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