The North American box office began its annual crawl to the finish line this weekend as three new films –Sinister 2, American Ultra and Hitman: Agent 47– all tanked in their debuts. Last week’s champ, Straight Outta Compton, not only remained in the number one spot, it also made more than the three newcomers combined. Overall, the top ten was down 34% from last week and 12% from the top ten one year ago this week when Guardians of the Galaxy took the top spot with $17.2 million.
After scoring a massive $60 million in its first three days Straight Outta Compton eased approximately 55% in its second go around on 3,025 screens to earn an estimated $26.8 million this weekend. After ten days, the N.W.A biopic has earned $111.5 million so far, a very healthy return on the $29 million production tab. With no competition of note, it should be smooth sailing for Compton for the rest of the summer. This should help it reach at least $170 million domestically.
Another film facing no competition for the remainder of the season is Paramount’s Mission: Impossible –Rogue Nation, which held on to second place with an estimated $11.7 million from 3,342 screens. Off only 32% from last weekend, the Tom Cruise blockbuster has scored $157.8 million so far and could wind down its domestic run between $190-200 million. Foreign totals currently stand at $280 million and should rise significantly when the film opens in China next month.
Mid-to-late August is a time when kids begin to return to school, season-ending vacations are taking place and Hollywood is looking to make a fast buck by dumping less-than-desirable product on the market. This year is no exception as three films were unleashed to multiplexes on Friday; all met with critical jeers, audience indifference and low box office numbers.
Focus Features’ Sinister 2 was the most successful of the three newbies, landing in third place with $10.6 million from 2,766 screens. That’s almost 50% less than what the 2012 original earned in its first weekend of release. The low-budget follow up scored a toxic 12% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a “B-“ rating from ticket buyers on CinemaScore. Sinister 2 opened in second place on Friday with $4.7 million but saw its business drop on Saturday and Sunday as word-of-mouth began to spread quickly.
For 20th Century Fox this has been a summer to forget. While Spy earned over $110 million for the studio, Poltergeist and Paper Towns both underperformed and Hollywood’s favorite punching bag, Fantastic Four, was an embarrassing dud that has yet to hit the $50 million mark in sales. The opening numbers for Hitman: Agent 47, their final release of the season, isn’t going to help matters much.
The latest attempt to make a film franchise out of the once-popular videogame series –the first was back in 2007- landed in fourth place but could only manage $8.2 million from 3,261 theaters. While those who showed up to see the $35 million production gave Agent 47 a “B” CinemaScore rating, critics were in a far less generous mood. They branded the film with a deadly seven percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Warner’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. landed in fifth place with an estimated $7.4 million from 3,673 theaters. The film eased a moderate 45% from its underwhelming debut last weekend, the result of positive viewer feedback. Despite the decent hold, the future isn’t exactly looking bright for the $75 million production. With only $27 million in the bank so far domestically and a projected final haul to be somewhere near the $45 million mark, U.N.C.L.E. will have to do exceptional business overseas to turn in a profit (which hasn’t happened so far).
Finally there is Lionsgate’s American Ultra, which crawled into sixth place with a dismal $5.5 million from 2,778 theaters. The stoner action comedy earned a 45% approval rating from critics and a “B-“ rating from ticket buyers on CinemaScore. Despite the mixed reviews and multiple late night talk show appearances from stars Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, people just weren’t all that interested in the film. A dismal ad campaign from the studio may have something to do with that.
The remainder of the top ten was as follows:
- The Gift (STX) $4.3 million (-34%); $31 million
- Ant-Man (Disney) $4 million (-25%); $164.5 million
- Minions (Universal) $3.7 million (-28%) $320 million
- Fantastic Four (Fox) $3.65 million (-55%); $49.6 million
Next weekend brings us No Escape on Wednesday and We Are Your Friends on Friday. Straight Outta Compton should hold on to the number one spot for a third weekend.