Weekend Box Office: Bombs Away!

North American multiplexes were ghost towns this weekend as ticket buyers gave the cold shoulder to five new releases and grew tired of holdovers past their prime. Only The Fate of the Furious managed to make any sort of financial impact. Next week should be even quieter before Guardians of the Galaxy Volume Two arrives on May 4th to start off the 2017 Summer Movie Season.

After cleaning up with $98 million in domestic sales over Easter weekend, Universal’s The Fate of the Furious downshifted 61% in its second race to earn an estimated $38.6 million from 4,329 screens. After ten days, Fate has pulled in a big $163.5 million.

The Fate of the Furious is performing at the domestic box office in a similar fashion to 2013’s Fast and Furious 6. Both opened on holiday weekends just below $100 million, and both slowed a hair over 60% during their sophomore session. Should F8 continue to mirror F6, it should finish around the $230 million mark.

Overseas, the film is roaring on all cylinders. After setting a record last weekend for biggest global opening of all time, the F. Gary Gray blockbuster added another $163.4 million to Universal’s bank account this weekend. The offshore total for Fate now stands at a staggering $745 million, a majority of which came from China alone. In the Middle Kingdom this weekend, F8 added $58.5 million to its overall total, which now stands at $319 million. The film will face its first real test overseas next weekend when the Guardians sequel opens around the globe. By that point, however, the billion-dollar milestone will be in the film’s rearview mirror.

Fox/Dreamworks’ The Boss Baby stayed put in second place where it earned an estimated $12.75 million from 3,697 theaters. Down 20% from last week, the Alec Baldwin-voiced hit has bagged $137 million after four weeks. A final haul close to $165 million is possible. Overseas, the film has earned $183 million.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast continued its march to the $500 million domestic mark as it entered the all-time top ten. For its sixth weekend, Beauty pulled in an estimated $10 million from 3,315 screens. Off 27%, Beauty has bagged a massive $471 million to date domestically. International totals for the film stand at $629 million. The film opened in Japan -its final international market- this weekend where it brought in a big $12.8 million.

The Mouse House also occupied fourth place with its nature documentary Born in China, which earned a meek $5.1 million from 1,508 screens. The annual Earth Day offering from the studio’s Disneynature division scored good reviews – 81% approval on Rotten Tomatoes- but found few takers at the box office.

Rounding out the top five was Warner’s remake of Going in Style. The comedy/drama brought in an estimated $5 million from 3,038 theaters, representing a 20% decrease in sales from one week ago. After three weeks, Michael, Morgan and Alan have scored a respectable $31.7 million and could finish close to the $40 million mark.

6. Smurfs: The Lost Village (Sony) $4.85 million (-20%); $33.3 million

7. Unforgettable (2017) (Warner)

Katherine Heigl’s return to the big screen was instantly forgettable with a dismal seventh place opening of only $4.8 million from 2,417 screens. There’s a place for this sort of crap: the Lifetime Network.

8. Gifted (Fox Searchlight) $4.5 million (+46%); $10.7 million

9. The Promise (2017) (Open Road)

Critics largely dismissed Terry George’s $90 million romantic drama set against the 1915 Armenian Genocide. Despite the onscreen presence of Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte le Bon, the most The Promise could deliver was $4 million from 2,251 theaters. The good news for Open Road Films is that the hefty production costs were covered independently.

10. The Lost City of Z (BST) $2.1 million; $2.3 million

Finally, we have Phoenix Forgotten and Free Fire, two new films that couldn’t even crack a weak top ten. Phoenix, a sci-fi “found footage” flick released by Cinelou Films, scraped together $2 million from 1,592 theaters and will soon indeed be forgotten.

Free Fire, the latest film from acclaimed British filmmaker Ben Wheatley, crapped out with only $1 million from 1,070 theaters. Perhaps it was the horrible trailer put together by A24 or perhaps it was the fact that the film was the 900th British Reservoir Dogs wannabe, few were interested.

Next weekend sees the arrival of the Tom Hanks/Emma Watson feature The Circle, How to be a Latin Lover and Sleight. The Fate of the Furious will enjoy one last victory lap before Rocket and Groot return to kick off the summer.

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