The Sleepy Summer Box Office of 2019 Continues

Let’s start with this weekend’s good news: Happy Father’s Day to all dads past, present and future!

Now for the bad news: let’s discuss the business at this weekend’s box office.

Without an Incredibles 2 or Jurassic World: Lost Kingdom to power it –as was the case one year ago-, the June box office continued to be a wasteland of high profile, low grossing product. The latest misfires arriving at multiplexes across North America were Sony’s Men In Black: International, Warner’s latest Shaft sequel and the Amazon Studios’ comedy Late Night.

Business should improve somewhat next weekend when Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4 arrives on the scene with an opening forecasted to be north of $150 million.

Sony executives may want to check and see if those mind-erasing guns used in the Men In Black series actually exist following the awful start for Men In Black: International. The fourth entry in the 22-year old franchise –the first without Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones or series director Barry Sonnenfeld- opened with a franchise low $28.5 million from 4,224 theaters. In comparison, each previous entry in the MIB series has opened in the low $50 million range.

Reviews were downright horrible for the $110 million MIB: International, which sees the Thor: Ragnarok duo of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson replacing Smith and Jone and Straight Outta Compton’s F. Gary Gray calling the shots. MIB 4 scored a dreadful 23% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 38/100 on Metacritic. Ticket buyers were a tad kinder with their feedback, giving MIB 4 a “B” on CinemaScore.

With the domestic release shaping up to be a massive dud, Sony is pinning its hopes on the international markets. Judging by the film’s $73 million debut, it’s off to a decent enough start.

In its second weekend on 4,564 screens, Universal’s The Secret Life of Pets 2 found itself 49% less cuddly with an estimated $23.8 million. Secret Life of Pets 2 has brought in $92 million after ten days. The box office run of Pets 2 is about to get neutered in a big way by Woody, Buzz Lightyear and company starting on Thursday night, which will limit Pets 2 to about $140 million in domestic sales. On its own, not a terrible finale. But in comparison to the $368 million the original Pets pocketed in 2016, it’s a bust.

Overseas, Pets 2 has brought in $62.5 million so far.

Staying strong in third place was Disney’s Aladdin, which apparently chose box office longevity as one of its three wishes. The popular live-action take on the 1992 animated classic dipped a mere 32% to earn an estimated $16.7 million from 3,556 screens. Four weeks into its run, Aladdin’s domestic total is now at $263 million. Aladdin, Jasmine and the Genie should fly off into the cinematic sunset with a little over $300 million in domestic sales.

Internationally, Aladdin added another $47 million to its coffers this weekend. The new foreign total for the Guy Ritchie film is a great $461 million. The film should fly by the half billion-dollar mark within the next week or so.

After a terrible opening last weekend, Fox’s final X-Men flick Dark Phoenix completely turned to ash in its second session. The critically maligned sequel dropped an alarming 73% to earn an estimated $9 million from 3,721 screens. After ten days, Dark Phoenix has earned $51.7 million. If it’s lucky, Phoenix will fly out of theaters with $65-70 million.

Fox can take little solace in Phoenix’s international run as the $200 million production took in a meek $24 million this weekend. That represents a nearly 80% drop from the $102 million it brought in one week ago. Japan is the final market to open the film, which may help it eke past the $200 million mark.

Rounding out the top five was Paramount’s Rocketman with an estimated $8.8 million from 3,021 theaters. While it might not be the box office phenomenon that Bohemian Rhapsody was last fall, Rocketman has been a consistent multiplex attraction this late spring. Down only 36%, Rocketman has sung up a solid $66 million after three weeks. The $40 million production should finish its North America tour around the $90 million mark. Overseas, the Elton John flick has earned $68 million.

  1. Shaft (2019) (Warner/New Line) $8.3 million

The latest adventures of the Shaft family couldn’t get itself arrested in its start on 2,952 screens. Reviews for the new chapter were awful, but ticket buyers dug it, giving Shaft a righteous “A” on CinemaScore.

  1. Godzilla: King of the Monsters (Warner) $8.1 million (-47%); $93.6 million
  1. John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum (Lionsgate) $6.1 million (-18%) $148 million

The Father’s Day holiday undoubtedly helped John Wick 3 have the best hold of any film in the top ten this weekend. Well, that and the fact that it doesn’t…you know, suck?

  1. Late Night (Amazon Studios) $5.1 million; $5.4 million

Reviews were solid for the Emma Thompson/Mindy Kaling comedy, and the CinemaScore grade was a decent “B+.” So why didn’t the film do better in its first weekend of wide release? Probably because most people realize that it will be available on Amazon Prime, -where it doesn’t costs $12 or more to watch a single film- by August.

  1. Ma (2019) (Universal) $3.6 million (-54%); $40.3 million

Along with Toy Story 4, next weekend sees the arrival of the Luc Besson action flick Anna and the reboot of Child’s Play.

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