Movies - Box Office postsMonday August 08, 2016
Box Office: 'Suicide Squad' Blasts Through Negative Reviews to Gross $135 Million
Last laugh? Maybe not.
“Suicide Squad” was so universally panned that fanboys wanted to shut down the Rotten Tomatoes site, where its shame, its 26% rating, was visible for all to see. But the American moviegoer, or at least those fanboys, still came out in droves. The David Ayer-directed supervillain slash-em-up/blow-em-away grossed $135 million domestically (and $132 abroad), which, if it holds, is our 19th-biggest opener ever.
So the critics lose again, right? Haw haw on us?
Yes and no.
As I was pondering “Suicide”'s numbers, I casually wondered whether any movie that had grossed more on opening weekend had a lower RT rating. Yes, it turns out: “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” which grossed $138 million domestically during its Nov. 2011 opening weekend despite a 24% rating.
As I was putting together this info, I also noticed something that should be obvious to everyone by now: Blockbusters with low RT ratings tend to have shorter legs than blockbusters with high RT ratings.
Here's a chart of the 20 highest-grossing openers of all time (sans “Suicide”) sorted by their Rotten Tomatoes rating:
|Rnk||Movie||Opening $$||RT%||Open %|
|7||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2||$169,189,427||96%||44.4%|
|10||The Dark Knight||$158,411,483||94%||29.7%|
|1||Star Wars: The Force Awakens||$247,966,675||92%||26.5%|
|3||Marvel's The Avengers||$207,438,708||92%||33.3%|
|5||Captain America: Civil War||$179,139,142||90%||44.0%|
|11||The Hunger Games: Catching Fire||$158,074,286||89%||37.2%|
|9||The Dark Knight Rises||$160,887,295||87%||35.9%|
|12||The Hunger Games||$152,535,747||84%||37.4%|
|6||Iron Man 3||$174,144,585||79%||42.6%|
|4||Avengers: Age of Ultron||$191,271,109||75%||41.7%|
|18||Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest||$135,634,554||54%||32.0%|
|16||The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2||$141,067,634||49%||48.3%|
|15||The Twilight Saga: New Moon||$142,839,137||28%||48.2%|
|8||Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice||$166,007,347||27%||50.3%|
|17||The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1||$138,122,261||24%||49.1%|
* Yeah, I can't believe “Spider-Man 3” got a fresh rating, either.
That last column is the percentage a movie's opening gross contributed to its overall gross. You want a low number there; it means your movie lasted. It didn't nova and then die. And generally, the lower the RT rating, the higher that percentage.
A fresh blockbuster (> 60%) makes an average of 37% of its total gross during its opening weekend; a rotten one, 45.5%. The extremes are even more extreme. A blockbuster in the 90s makes about one-third of its total gross in the first three days; a blockbuster in the 20s like “Suicide Squad”? Half. They make noise for three days, then crickets.
Here are two recent examples. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is the biggest opener ever: $247 million. But it got great reviews, great word-of-mouth, and grossed nearly four times that: $936 million. “Batman v Superman” is the eighth-biggest opener ever: $166 million. But it got shitty reviews, shittier word of mouth, and grossed just twice that: $330.
If “Star Wars” had grossed just twice its opening, it would've stopped shy of half a billion rather than bumping up against a billion. The difference between a good and bad blockbuster can be half a billion dollars. And that's just domestically.
So for “Suicide” and its shitty 26% rating, I expect to see a big dropoff next weekend, and a total domestic gross of around $270 million. Which ain't victory for critics; but it ain't exactly victory for Warner Bros. either.
'Star Trek,' 'Ice Age' Continue Summer of Sequel Sag
For box office, you should probably be looking down, Montgomery Scotty.
The fifth “Ice Age” movie, “Collision Course,” opened to shitty reviews (13% RT) and shitty box office ($21 mil, fifth place), which is the weakest opening for an “Ice Age” by far. The others opened between $41 and $68, and grossed between $161 and $196. “CC” will be lucky to top out at $100.
The third rebooted “Star Trek” movie, “Beyond,” opened to good reviews (84%) but so-so box office ($59 mil, first place), which is the weakest opening for a rebooted “Trek.” The others opened at $75 and $70.
Oddly, this is probably worse news for “Trek.”
The “Ice Age”s make most of its money abroad. Chronologically: $206, $465, $690, and $715 million. So the bigger question for “Collision Course” is: How will it play in Bonn or Beijing? The answer, so far, is: not bad: $178 and counting.
I remember seeing the original “Star Trek” in reruns in Taiwan in the late 1980s (Spock's dubbed voice sounded like it was recorded in a big empty metal box), so it's obviously disseminated abroad. It's just not big abroad—grossing, internationally, $128 and $238 for “Star Trek” and “Into Darkness” respectively. It needs those U.S. dollars more.
The poor opening of “IA” and “ST” continues a summer trend. Yes, the two top movies of the summer, “Finding Dory” and “Captain America: Civil War,” are both sequels, but after that it's originals or reboots. Most sequels are grossing only a fraction of what the previous film grossed:
|Franchise||2016 B.O.||Previous B.O.||%|
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||$81||$191||42.4%|
|Now You See Me||$64||$117||54.7%|
* Believe it or not, that's unadjusted, so it's actually much, much worse.
I hope Hollywood execs are paying attention. Probably not.
Box Office: Not Many Call Ghostbusters
Meh reviews, meh box office, but McKinnon (far right) is getting good notices.
Paul Feig's womencentric “Ghostbusters” isn't exactly a bust, raking in $46 million at the domestic box office this weekend, a bigger opening than any of his other movies (“Bridesmaids,” “The Heat,” “Spy”), but it's not exactly a smash. “Ghostbusters” is supposed to be big. The original took in a domestic total of $610 million (adjusted) in 1984, while this version didn't even win the weekend. It finished second to the second weekend of “The Secret Life of Pets,” which fell only 50% to gross another $50 mil. Hell, in the genre “Horror comedy,” “Scary Movie 3” opened bigger in 2003: $48 mil. That's unadjusted.
“Scary Movie 3” also barely grossed twice that ($110) while Feig's movies tend to have legs, grossing four times (or in the case of “Bridesmaids,” six times) their opening total. So we'll see. The movie got a positive 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which would help, but most reviews were of the “Could've been worse” variety, which won't. But SNL's Kate McKinnon is getting good notices. I'm sure I'll see it at some point.
“The Legend of Tarzan,” in third place with $11.1, crossed the $100 million mark to $103, with $90 mil in foreign sales, so it's not doing poorly for a poorly reviewed film that never finished in first place.
Meanwhile, “Finding Dory” grossed another $11.1 for a $445 million total, which makes it, according to Box Office Mojo, not only the highest-grossing Pixar movie ever but the highest-grossing animinated movie ever, passing “Shrek 2”'s $441. That's unadjusted, of course. Adjust, and it's still Disney's “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,” which is the 10th-best of all time at $935 million. Even so, impressive for “Dory,” which I found B-level Pixar.
For the year, “Dory”'s on top domestically, while worldwide it's still “Captain America: Civil War” at $1.15 billion. But since “Finding Nemo” grossed $936 worldwide in 2003, I expect “Dory” to eventually pass Cap here, too.
Is Steven Spielberg the Most Popular Director in Movie History?
Spielberg, in his heyday, with friend.
Twenty-six movies have grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, but Steven Spielberg, the man considered the most popular director in movie history, didn't direct any of them. (His biggest, unadjusted, is “Jurassic Park” at $983 million.) Thirty-nine movies have opened domestically to more than $100 million, but Steven Spielberg, the man considered the most popular director in movie history, directed only one of them: the now-thoroughly and deservedly discredited “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which wheezed across the finish line at $101 million in May 2008.
Which raises the question: Is Steven Spielberg the most popular director in movie history?
Oh yeah. By a long shot.
The above milestones, $1 bil and $100 mil, are 21st-century milestones, and Spielberg's heyday was earlier. These are the top 10 movies of all time, domestically, adjusted for inflation:
|1||Gone with the Wind||$1,733,542,900||$198,676,459||1939||Victor Fleming|
|2||Star Wars||$1,528,266,100||$460,998,007||1977||George Lucas|
|3||The Sound of Music||$1,221,923,900||$158,671,368||1965||Robert Wise|
|4||E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial||$1,217,110,200||$435,110,554||1982||Steven Spielberg|
|6||The Ten Commandments||$1,123,980,000||$65,500,000||1956||Cecil B. DeMille|
|8||Doctor Zhivago||$1,065,082,200||$111,721,910||1965||David Lean|
|9||The Exorcist||$948,940,900||$232,906,145||1973||William Friedkin|
|10||Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs||$935,220,000||$184,925,486||1937||(Six directors)|
Spielberg is the only director to make the list twice. James Cameron, a rival for the title of most popular director in movie history, adds his second film, “Avatar,” at No. 15; but then Spielberg immediately usurps him again with “Jurassic Park” at No. 17. George Lucas, another potential rival for the title, adds his second, the abyssmal “Star Wars, Episode One: The Phantom Menace,” at No. 18, before Spielberg adds a fourth, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” at No. 21.
That's right: Steven Spielberg has four of the 25 highest-grossing American movies of all time, adjusted for inflation, and no other director has more than two.
If you plunge further, into the top 100 American movies of all time, these are the only directors who appear more than once*:
|George Roy Hill||2|
|Cecil B. DeMille||2|
* Not included are the Disney directors, since as many as 11 directors worked on a single film.
Only Lucas is close, and that's where he tops out. Spielberg keeps going. He also has No.s 102 and 103. He has no rival.
This is a long lead-in to the poor domestic box office of his latest film, “The BFG,” which opened to $19.5 million this weekend. It finished behind the third weekend of “Finding Dory” ($41 mil), and the opening weekends for “The Legend of Tarzan” ($38) and “The Purge: Election Year” ($30).
It's true that most Roald Dahl stories don't do particularly well at the box office—the two Willie Wonkas being the exception. It's also true that Spielberg is turning 70 in December, and the wonder and energy felt in his earlier films has been replaced by muted tones and somber discussions. I get trying to recapture the magic of youth, and I think he did that with the underrated and underseen (in the U.S.) “Tin Tin” movie; but there's something to be said for making movies for adults—particularly in this adolescent age of movies, which Spielberg helped create.
Finding Dory's Box Office
Biggest Pixar ever? Just don't adjust for inflation.
It's been a busy few weeks, so I haven't had time for stupid stuff like box office. But now I'm a little less busy.
The big box-office story during the last two weeks has been Pixar's “Finding Dory,” which opened bigger than any animated movie ever: $135 mil. The previous highs were: 1) “Shrek the Third,” $121 in 2007; 2) “Minions,” $115 in 2015; and 3) “Toy Story 3,” $110 in 2010. Animateds tend not to open as big as other movies—“Dory” is 19th all-time, for example—but they last longer. Even something as shitty as “Shrek the Third” fell off by only 56% during its second weekend. “Toy Story 3” fell off by only 46%.
Same with “Dory” last weekend: only 46%. So its opening was the 19th best all-time, its second weekend was the 8th best all-time. Movin' on up.
Question: Can it become the biggest Pixar grosser of all time? Most certainly. That's “Toy Story 3” at $415. After 10 days, “Dory” is at $286, $60 million ahead of “TS3”'s pace. It just needs to keep up that pace.
Question: Can it become the biggest animated grosser of all time? Sure. That's “Shrek 2” at $441, and it didn't break “Dory”'s 10-day total until its 17th day.
Question: Can it become the biggest animated grosser of all time adjusted for inflation? Yeah, no. That's Disney's “Snow White” from 1937, which, in the era before DVDs, VHS, or even television, was re-released every 5 to 10 years and kept racking up the box office. Box Office Mojo has it as the 10th biggest grosser of all time at $935 million domestic. “Dory” won't come near that. But the rest is impressive.
In other news, the sequel to “Independence Day,” titled “Independence Day: Resurgence,” opened poorly, at $41 mil. That's $9 million less than the first one grossed on its opening weekend 20 years ago. Unadjusted. The first grossed nearly $600 million in 2016 dollars; this one will be lucky to do 1/4 of that.