erik lundegaard

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Sunday June 30, 2019

Box Office: June is Strewn with Broken Tentpoles

After the blitzkrieg of “Avengers: Endgame” in April/May, this has been the summer of underperforming sequels/retreads: 

  • May 31: “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” opened in the U.S. at $46 mil, which is about half of what “Godzilla” opened to five years earlier ($93.1). After a month, it's at $106 domestic.
  • June 7: “Secret Life of Pets 2” opened to $46 million, which is far cry from the $104 the original opened to in 2016. It's now at $131 vs. the $368 the orginal brought in. Perhaps worse: “Dark Phoenix” grossed just $32.8 mil and after nearly a month looks like it won't even make triple digits. It's stuck on $63 domestic, which is the worst gross ever for any of the 12 X-Men movies. (Yes: 12.)
  • June 14: “Men in Black International,” starring Thor and Valkyrie, opened at $30. The original opened at $51 ... in 1998.
  • June 21: Finally, a movie that opened better than its predecessors! “Toy Story 4” grossed $120, which is a hair better than “3”'s $110 in 2010, but worse if you adjust for inflation. Even so, it's a huge success compared to everything else on this list.

Will all of this get Hollywood execs to change strategy and maybe give us the new? Doubtful. Execs would still point to “Endgame”'s $2.7 billion worldwide as the endgame. Do it right and you get that. Do it wrong and you'll probably still make up for it internationally. 

Or do you? 

Movie Worldwide Box Office Previous Film Worldwide Box Office Difference
The Secret Life of Pets $223 $875 -$652
Men in Black International $219 $624 -$405
Dark Phoenix $244 $543 -$299
Godzilla: King of the Monsters $376 $529 -$153

 The difference amounts to $1.5 billion. That actually might get some attention in Hollywood. 

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Posted at 01:55 PM on Jun 30, 2019 in category Movies - Box Office   |   Permalink  
Sunday June 02, 2019

Box Office: ‘Godzilla’ Doesn't Roar, ‘Rocketman’ Doesn't Soar

I remember being surprised when Elton John's Princess Di tribute “Candle in the Wind 1997,” which riffed off his Marilyn Monroe tribute 25 years earlier, became the biggest chart single in music history—selling 33 million copies.

I remember being surprised when “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a kind of blah biopic of Freddie Mercury and Queen, grossed nearly $1 billion worldwide at the end of last year—up there with superheroes and animated ice queens. 

So, surely, I thought, “Rocketman,” a biopic of Elton John, who always sold way more records than Queen ever did, will do great business this spring.

Nope. Surprised again. I guess I just don't know you people. 

“Rocketman” opened in the U.S. on Friday and over the weekend came in third, grossing $25 million in 3,610 theaters—about half of what “Bohemian” grossed during its opening weekend in 4,000 theaters last November. Domestically, “Bohemian” wound up grossing $216, so slightly more than four times its opening numbers, which ain't bad. If Elton does the same it‘ll break $100 million. But it’ll be a slog. 

Of course “Bohemian”'s true power was overseas, so how is “Rocketman” doing there? Ehh. $31 million so far. But I don't know in which countries it's opened and when. Box Office Mojo doesn't have those details yet. Odd, since overseas is where the action is. 

So what to make of all this? Is it that Freddie's popularity has eclipsed Elton's worldwide? Is it that “Rocketman” is “gayer” than “Bohemian” and turned off some homophobic people/countries? Is it that “Bohemian” opened in the fall, when the light is dying and we‘re ready for more serious fare, rather than the first days of June, when everything’s light, including our step and taste in movies? Is it that “Bohemian” has an ending while “Rocketman” really doesn‘t? Yet? 

That actually gets to the bigger point: Is it necrophilia? That explains all of my above surprises. “Candle in the Wind 1997” sells because of Diana’s death, “Bohemian” sells because of Freddie's death, “Rocketman” doesn't because Elton John is still standing.

Anyway, something to keep watching. 

No. 1 at the box office was “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” grossing $49 million. Box Office Mojo lists it as part of the “Monsterverse” series, Warner Bros. attempt to create an MCU or DCEU but with monsters, but I thought that was one and done. Oh wait, I'm thinking Universal's “Dark Universe”: Frankenstein, Wolfman, Dracula, etc., but in 2017 “The Mummy” killed all that. Hard to keep up. Warner's is just giant creatures. I guess it's leading to “Godzilla vs. Kong” next year but interest is apparently waning in the U.S. Openers:

Worldwide, “Kong” did about the same as “Godzilla” ($566/$529), so will be interesting to see how things go. But nobody is handling this as well as Marvel did. 

Second place for the weekend was the second weekend of live-action “Aladdin,” which has grossed $185 here, $445 worldwide. Fourth was the scary Octavia Spencer movie “Ma,” which earned $18. 

In sixth place, “Avengers: Endgame” grossed another $7 domestically. It's now at $815, second all-time, of course. Early on, it seemed it would vault over “Avatar”'s worldwide mark of $2.7 billion with ease, but now it's crawling there. It's finally reached $2.7 but it's still about $60 million behind. Seems only a matter of time, though. No way Disney's not going to claim that crown from Fox. Get down to it, those are the true monsterverses.

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Posted at 10:14 AM on Jun 02, 2019 in category Movies - Box Office   |   Permalink  
Sunday May 26, 2019

Box Office: ‘Aladdin’ Solid But No ‘Beauty’

Disney's live-action “Aladdin,” with a couple of good-looking unknowns in the leads, and the hugely known Will Smith as the hugely mocked genie, opened OK over Memorial Day weekend, grossing $86.1 mil. Among Disney's live-action remakes, that ranks upper tier but not top tier. It's the highest-ranking live action Disney remake to not gross $100 million opening weekend:

  Movie Gross Thtrs Open Wknd Open %
1 Beauty and the Beast (2017) $504,014,165 4,210 $174,750,616 34.67%
2 Alice in Wonderland (2010) $334,191,110 3,739 $116,101,023 34.74%
3 The Jungle Book (2016) $364,001,123 4,144 $103,261,464 28.37%
4 Aladdin (2019) $86,100,000 4,476 $86,100,000 n/a
5 Oz The Great and Powerful $234,911,825 3,912 $79,110,453 33.68%
6 Maleficent $241,410,378 3,948 $69,431,298 28.76%
7 Cinderella (2015) $201,151,353 3,848 $67,877,361 33.74%
8 Dumbo (2019) $112,701,413 4,259 $45,990,748 40.81%
9 101 Dalmatians (1996) $136,189,294 2,901 $33,504,025 24.60%
10 Alice Through the Looking Glass $77,041,381 3,763 $26,858,726 34.86%
11 Pete's Dragon (2016) $76,233,151 3,702 $21,514,095 28.22%

Reviews were mixed (57% on RT) but let's assume it does what most of these have done and gross 28-34% of its total on opening weekend. That means total domestic will be between $260 and $300. One assumes it‘ll do better abroad, where it’s already grossed $121, since all Disney live-actions general earn 60-70% of their worldwide total in other countries. If these percentages hold (28-34/60-70), “Aladdin” could gross anywhere from $650 million to $1 billion abroad. 

Of the two other openers, “Brightburn” (scary Superboy) and “Booksmart” (“Superbad” w/girls), the latter received great reviews (98%), the former meh reviews (59%), and neither blew the lid off the box office. “Brightburn” finished in fifth place with $7.5 while the critics darling finished in sixth with $6.5. Way of the world. Doesn't pay to be booksmart. I could‘ve told you that. 

Meanwhile, “John Wick 3” added another $24 for second place but first place among “Wick” movies; it squeaked over the $100 million domestic mark, which no “Wick” movie has ever done. In third place, “Avengers: Endgame” added another $16.8 for a $798 domestic total. Tomorrow, it will become just the second movie (after “The Force Awakens”) to pass $800 mil domestic, but it’ll have to settle for second place. It won't catch “Force” at $936. On the adjusted chart, it's in 21st place. On the worldwide chart, it's still more than $100 million away from No. 1 “Avatar”: $2.78 billion vs. 2.67 billion.

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Posted at 12:15 PM on May 26, 2019 in category Movies - Box Office   |   Permalink  
Sunday May 19, 2019

Whoa! ‘Wick 3’ Debuts at $57 Million, Toppling ‘Avengers’

I haven't seen any of the John Wicks but they sure are getting popular. The first one opened to $14 mil in Oct. 2014, the second doubled that debut ($30), and the third has now doubled it again ($57, est.) and in the process unseated “Avengers: Endgame” for No. 1 domestic box office champ of the weekend. “Chapter Two” also doubled the total gross of the first ($43 —> $92), and if that pattern holds, well, now you‘re starting to talk real Hollywood money.

Whoa, as someone might say. 

But the real real Hollywood money is still in the superhero genre—particularly the MCU. “Endgame” fell 53%, adding another $29.4, for a domestic total of $770, which is enough to push past “Avatar” ($760) for the second-biggest domestic movie (unadjusted) of all time. If you adjust, “Endgame” is 23rd all-time, ahead of the biggest movie of the 1940s, “Fantasia” ($748), and knocking on the door of Ben and Mrs. Robinson in “The Graduate” at No. 22 ($771). 

Since it looks like Earth’s Mightiest Heroes won't catch “Force Awakens” at $936 on the unadjusted chart, the adjusted chart is more fun to contemplate. Where might it stop? It‘ll need another $35 mil to pass “The Sting” to get into the top 20; that seems likely. But another $100 mil to pass “Avatar”’s adjusted gross of $876 to get into the top 15? Probably not. For the curious, to get to No. 1, “Avengers: Endgame” will need another $1 billion domestic to pass “Gone with the Wind”'s adjusted take of $1.8 billion. 

Worldwide, I'm not seeing much movement. Have the international numbers not come in yet? “Endgame” is at $2.564 billion, “Avatar” at $2.788. 

Among the other supers in release, “Captain Marvel,” in 14th place, added another $727k for $425 domestic, which is sixth-best in the MCU—after four “Avengers” movies and “Black Panther.” In 15th place for the weekend, the DCEU's “Shazam!” added $680k for a domestic total of ... wait for it ... $137, which would be great for a “John Wick” movie but abyssmal for a modern superhero movie. Among the seven DCEU movies, it ranks last (previous low: “Justice League” at $229), and among the 22(!) MCU movies, it would rank 21st, ahead of only the Ed Norton “Incredible Hulk” from 2008, which grossed $134 domestic. That's why not another “Hulk” movie; and sadly, probably why not another “Shazam!,” which had the advantage of being funny.

Elsewhere, “Pikichu” picked up another $24 for a 10-day total of $94 and a worldwide total of $206; and a “A Dog's Journey,” sequel to “A Dog's Purpose,” opened at $8 mil, less than half of what its predecessor opened to in Jan. 2017. Maybe they should‘ve kept this franchise in January. 

Dying in “Endgame”’s wake? Rom-coms and buddy/chick flicks, seemingly. After two weekends, “The Hustle” (Hathaway/Rebel Wilson) has grossed $23, and after three weekends “Long Shot” (Theron/Rogen) has grossed $25. Meanwhile, “The Sun Is Also a Star” (impossibly good-looking newbie actors/models on a 24-hour rendezvous with not being deported), eked out just $2.6 million in 2,000+ theaters in its debut. Are any worth seeing? Of the three, only “Long Shot” (81%) wasn't rotten; and its premise seemed so absurd to me (Theron running for president and potentially interested in Seth Rogen) that I never considered it. “Hustle” seemed more fun but it landed at 15% on RT. Ouch. 

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Posted at 11:32 AM on May 19, 2019 in category Movies - Box Office   |   Permalink  
Sunday May 05, 2019

After 12 Days, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is Second All-Time in Global Box Office

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I took this screenshot yesterday after the Friday returns came in. I knew after today it would be all “Avengers: Endgame”:

“Force Awakens” blew everything away in Dec. 2015. I mean, we'd been waiting 33 years, though several generations, for the next step in the “Star Wars” saga and this was it, and everybody wanted to see it. 

“Endgame” fans, in comparision, had been waiting only seven years, since the appearance of Thanos during the credits of “Marvel's The Avengers” in 2012, for this. And it's not like they‘ve been starved for superhero movies in the meantime. Even so, “Endgame” is blowing everything away. Its 8-day gross is bigger than “Force”’s 9-day gross, and nearly as much as its 10-day gross.

So what is “Endgame”'s 10-day gross? The estimate is $619.6 million. “Force” was the first movie with greater than $500 million domestic after 10 days. “Endgame” is now the only one north of $600 mil. Here are all the 10-day grossers greater than $400:

  MOVIE 10-DAY GROSS TOTAL
1 Avengers: Endgame $619,698,638 $619,698,638
2 Star Wars: The Force Awakens $540,058,914 $936,662,225
3 Avengers: Infinity War $453,107,350 $678,815,482
4 Black Panther $403,613,257 $700,059,566
5 Jurassic World $402,800,065 $652,270,625

Other records are falling as well, of course. “Endgame” is the first non-Chinese movie to gross more than US$500 million in China, and is currently third all-time there, behind “Wolf Warrior II” and “The Wandering Earth.” 

And after 12 days of global release, it's at $2.188 billion worldwide, which is just a hair ahead of James Cameron's “Titanic,” for No. 2 all-time (and unadjusted). No. 1 is James Cameron's “Avatar” at $2.788 billion. If it surpasses that, and it seems likely to, “Endgame” will become the first non-Cameron movie to top that chart, our most lucrative and coveted chart, in 21 years.

Domestically, it's ninth all-time, and the only real question is if it will become second all-time (must pass: “Avatar,” $760.5) or first (“Force Awakens, $936.6). I guess there's a third question: Can it reach $1 billion domestic?

Are the folks at Marvel Studios/Disney basking in all this? Or are they thinking, ”What can we do to top it?“ My immediate thought: You can‘t. My immediate thought: Be like the Beatles after ”Sgt. Pepper“ and pare down to the basics a la ”The White Album.“ Maybe that’s what ”Spider-Man: Far from Home" is. 

Anyway, we'll be sorting through this over the next few weeks and months. It is another reminder, to all the anti-Hollywood folks on the right, that few American industries dominate their market the way Hollywood does. Maybe none of them do. 

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Posted at 11:30 AM on May 05, 2019 in category Movies - Box Office   |   Permalink  
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