Written by Dapo Olowu
We may be cooling on the summer blockbusters, but that doesn’t stop the competition from hotting up, as five (yes, five) new films enter wide release in the U.S. this weekend. Leading the bunch is Disney’s ‘Christopher Robin’, starring Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, and directed by ‘World War Z’ and ‘Finding Neverland’s Marc Forster. The comedy-drama follows Winnie-the-Pooh and friends teaming up with an older Christopher Robin, who has lost his sense of imagination.
While the film aims to please both critically and commercially, its middling reviews (60% on the Tomatometer coupled with a 59 Metascore) may see it open similarly to another ‘so-so’ animal-based CGI/live-action mix from earlier this year, ‘Peter Rabbit’. That opened to a solid, but unspectacular $25m back in February, alongside ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ and ‘The 15:17 to Paris’. Although the increased competition could be a hindrance, Disney’s brand power could see an opening for ‘Christopher Robin’ hit close to $28m.
This would mark McGregor’s 2nd biggest non-franchise opening, behind only 2005s ‘Robots’ ($36m). It won’t be enough for the top spot, however, as Christopher McQuarrie’s action-thriller ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ hopes to manage a drop under 50% for its second weekend, a feat that ‘Rogue Nation’ accomplished back in 2015. While ‘Fallout’ should earn just under $32m — to push it well over the $100m domestic mark and the $200m global total, the hope now is for its stellar reviews to help it leg out as the summer tentpole season comes to an end.
Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis team up for ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’, an R-rated action-comedy that hopes to better the former’s last effort, ‘Rough Night’, which opened to just $8m on its way to a $22.1m domestic gross and a $47.3m worldwide total. A 40% on the Tomatometer and having 4 other new films vying for a general audience could see this open to less than ‘Tag’, which earned $14.9m in its first 3 days just a month and a half ago. A $14m gross will be enough for third place, ahead of ‘The Darkest Minds’, which is caught in a tight battle with ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’.
It’s safe to say that the YA dystopian era of films has been left behind. While young adult movies are broad enough to encompass everything from ‘Harry Potter’ to ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, the YA dystopian genre peaked with ‘The Hunger Games’, fell with ‘The Divergent’ series, and finally ended this year with the last ‘Maze Runner’ film. This raises the question as to why Amandla Stenberg’s ‘The Darkest Minds’, directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and featuring a group of teens with special powers running from the government, wasn’t released years ago.
Still, this is a Box Office article so I’ll leave the reviews to the better-equipped JUMPCUT team. It features a poor 39 Metascore, and just 15% on Rotten Tomatoes (with only 6 positive reviews), meaning I can’t even see this reaching the numbers of 2016s ‘The 5th Wave’ ($10.3m opening), let alone getting close to Stenberg’s biggest hit, ‘The Hunger Games’ ($152.5m opening). An $8.5m opening will just be enough to clear ‘Mamma Mia 2’, which should earn around $8.3m.
‘The Equalizer 2’ aims to stabilise this weekend after its 62% fall 7 days ago, to earn $7m, while ‘Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation’ should reach $300m worldwide this weekend with a $6.5m domestic take. Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ finally opens in the U.K., which should pad its already-comfy $212.2m international gross., and in the U.S. it aims to earn $5m more to bring it closer to a $200m domestic total. Animation ‘Teen Titans Go! To The Movies’ looks to make around $5m too, and ‘Incredibles 2’, which recently became the fastest animated film to reach $1bn, will continue its journey with a $4m gross.
Finally, although both won’t reach the top ten, it’s a race for the better finish between the last two wide releases of the weekend, with A24s coming-of-age comedy-drama, ‘Eighth Grade’, boasting 98% on the Tomatometer, facing off against Dinesh D’Souza’s controversial documentary, ‘Death of a Nation’. ‘DoaN’, which aims to emulate ‘RBG’ and ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ by joining the club of successful 2018 documentaries, carries an impressive 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, and has been dubbed one of the worst films of the year. Still, this won’t stop it from beating out ‘Eighth Grade’s first-time director Bo Burnham, with a $3m gross compared to the latter’s $2.9m.
But what do you think? Will ‘Death of a Nation’ succeed? Will ‘Christopher Robin’ rise above ‘Mission: Impossible 6’? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.