‘Meg’ Chomps On the Box Office

It was smooth swimming all the way for Warner’s sci-fi shark epic The Meg at the North America box office this weekend. The Jason Statham feature –unfortunately, he doesn’t play the shark- helped keep multiplexes lively at a time that is usually a cinematic dead zone. The big shark flick helped the top ten surge 32% over last year at this time when Annabelle: Creation opened with $35 million.

While critics weren’t crazy about The Meg, ticket buyers appeared to be. They ignored the bad notices and shelled out an estimated $44.5 million on 4,118 screens nationwide to check it out. Given the film’s production budget of nearly $130 million -some say higher- , those numbers came as good news for Warner Brothers.

The Meg scored a 49% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 45/100 on Metacritic while ticket buyers polled on CinemaScore gave the Statham underwater adventure a “B+.”

Overseas, The Meg chomped on a muscular $97 million this weekend. An estimated $50 million of that total came from China alone, who co-financed the feature with Warner Brothers.

Meg’s big debut wasn’t enough to slow down Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout in its third weekend. The Tom Cruise blockbuster continued its successful late summer mission, earning an estimated $20 million on 3,888 screens. Down 43% from one week ago, the new domestic total for Fallout is a great $162 million. Overseas, the film has banked $275 million.

Disney’s Christopher Robin also held well, easing a moderate 49% in its second round on 3,602 theaters. The Ewan McGregor drama scored an estimated $12.4 million to bring its ten-day total up to the $50 million mark. Christopher Robin should wind down its summer stint with a decent $80 million in ticket sales.

Arriving in fourth place with a collective shrug from 2,358 theaters was the ScreenGems release Slender Man with an estimated $11.3 million. Reviews were downright scary for the latest PG-13 frightfest. Slender Man secured a 15% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, a 28/100 on Metacritic and a glowing “D-“ from viewers via CinemaScore.

Rounding out the top five this weekend was the acclaimed Spike Lee drama BlacKkKlansman with a solid $10.8 million from 1,512 theaters. The $7,142 per screen average was the second highest in the top ten this weekend after The Meg. The opening for the $15 million Focus Features release is the biggest opening for a Spike Lee-directed feature since Inside Man in 2006.

Reviews were through the roof for the fact-based feature, directed by Lee, produced by Jordan Peele (Get Out) and starring John David Washington, Adam Driver and Topher Grace. BlacKkKlansman scored a near-perfect 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 82/100 on Metacritic. Ticket buyers also championed the film, giving it an “A-“ on CinemaScore.

  1.  The Spy Who Dumped Me (Lionsgate) $6.6 million (-45%); $24.5 million
  2.  Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (Universal) $5.8 million (-35%); $104 million
  3.  The Equalizer 2 (Sony) $5.5 million (-37%); $90 million
  4.  Hotel Transylvania 3 (Sony) $5.1 million (-36%); $147 million
  5.  Ant-Man and the Wasp (Disney) $4 million (-36%); $203.5 million

Wednesday sees the arrival of the romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians, followed by Alpha and Mile 22 on Friday.

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