Weekend BO Report: ‘Skyscraper’ Fails To Hit Predicted Heights

Written by Dapo Olowu

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation’ coasted to first place in the domestic Box Office this weekend, marking the third time a film in the franchise debuted atop the U.S. charts. Its $44.1m gross, in-line with the $42.5m made by ‘HT1’ and the $48.5m earned by ‘HT2’, came from an audience which gave the animated-comedy an A- on Cinemascore (exactly the same as its predecessors).

Its domestic gross was also complimented by an overseas total of $46.4m across 44 countries (including topping the charts in over 30 territories), making enough to top the international charts too. Made on an $80m budget, the film follows Dracula (Sandler) and his family (Samberg and co) taking time off from running the hotel to get a holiday of their own. They can’t rest too easily, however, as competition, in the form of ‘Teen Titans Go! To The Movies’, hits cinemas in just 2 weeks.  

Earning $15m less than ‘HT3’ was ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’, dropping like a fly in its second weekend, to post $29.1. Its 62% fall was reminiscent of MCU-fan favourite ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’, which saw a similar drop in its second weekend, after the release of ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’. ‘SM:HC’, of course, rebounded for a domestic finish of $334.2m. A similar multiplier for ‘Ant-Man 2’ gives a U.S. total of $216.8m — a healthy return for a film yet to open in China, and for one not expected to truly break-out at all.

If ‘Ant-Man 2’s performance this week was disappointing, then The Rock’s ‘Skyscraper’ was all but a flop. Earning just $24.9m in its first 3 days from a $125m budget, it marks Dwayne Johnson’s worst opening since last May’s ‘Baywatch’. While a year may not seem long for us mere humans, it actually marks a period in which 4 (yes, 4) films starring The Rock have been released. It’s average B+ on Cinemascore, nor its 50% on the Tomatometer, can save ‘Skyscraper’ from being a domestic bomb.

The film only made $40.4m in international markets, as numbers across the globe continue to make for a depressing viewing. The film (co-financed by a Chinese-owned company) now relies heavily on the Chinese market, where it doesn’t open until Friday, to recoup the large amounts of money spent. The hope here is that Dwayne Johnson-fatigue hasn’t set in, unlike in the U.S., where audiences may just be a little too used to his presence on the big screen.

Incredibles 2’ held well against strong competition to gross a remarkable $16.3m in its 5th weekend, for a domestic total of $535.9m. This makes it the 9th biggest domestic film of all time, taking the place of ‘The Dark Knight’ (which started 2018 in 7th place). Its global take of $858.5m is the most impressive figure here, as the film hasn’t yet opened in countries such as Germany, Japan, South Korea, and Italy. The aim now is for ‘I2’ to join the list of only six (‘Frozen’, ‘Minions’, ‘Toy Story 3’, ‘Despicable Me 3’, ‘Finding Dory’ and ‘Zootopia’) animated films to break $1bn.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ continued to perform well this weekend, earning $16.2m in the U.S., as well as a Universal Studio-record $12.7m opening in Japan — making a $364m domestic and $1.14bn global total respectively. Horror, ‘The First Purge’, delivered well against expectations, dropping by just 46% to earn $9.3m. Possibly the biggest surprise this week was Boots Riley’s ‘Sorry to Bother You’ earning $4.2m to reach 7th place, beating our $2.6m predictions by Saturday afternoon. This was more than enough to leapfrog ‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’ ($3.9m), ‘Uncle Drew’ ($3.2m), and ‘Ocean’s 8’ ($2.9m), who are likely to leave the top ten after this week.

Just how badly will ‘Skyscraper’ do? Was it to be expected? Let us know your thoughts on Instagram and Twitter – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Sicario 2: Soldado

Year: 2018
Directed by: Stefano Sollima
Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener

Written by Rhys Bowen Jones

Taylor Sheridan has crafted himself a very successful niche in Hollywood. Following his writing successes on films like ‘Hell or High Water and Wind River’ (which he also directed), Sheridan has penned a sequel to the film that truly put him on the map, 2015’s ‘Sicario’. ‘Sicario’ is a crime thriller, directed by Denis Villeneuve and was one of the smash hits of 2015, earning Sheridan worldwide recognition for his superb screenplay and the way he handles dialogue. Flashing forward 3 years, ‘Sicario 2: Soldado’ is Sheridan’s first sequel, and it’s clear that Sheridan hasn’t lost his knack for piercing dialogue and riveting storytelling.

‘Sicario 2: Soldado’ stars Josh Brolin’s CIA Agent Matt Graver and his frequent inside man Alejandro Gillick (played superbly by Benicio Del Toro) as they attempt to find a solution to the increasingly troublesome drug war on the US-Mexico border. Their solution is as American as it gets – to incite a war between the biggest drug cartels in Mexico by kidnapping the daughter of one of the cartel kingpins and staging it as a rival cartel’s doing.

‘Sicario’ did a masterful job of unpacking the American approach to the drug trade in Mexico, examining why America does it, how it does it, and what it needs to do better. It criticises everything we have come to expect from a film like this by subverting our expectations, thanks in large part to the superb role Emily Blunt played as our audience surrogate. This time, Blunt is sadly nowhere to be seen, and as Graver says when recruiting Gillick again, there are “no rules this time,” with the ‘Sicario 2: Soldado’ team aiming to take a far more blunt approach to proceedings. While the overall effect of the film doesn’t match ‘Sicario,’ it delivers a satisfying follow up to one of 2015’s best efforts.

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Starting with the good, the performances are as great as we’ve come to expect from pros like Brolin and Del Toro, each of them relishing their cutting lines of dialogue to various people who sadly get on their bad side. Brolin chews up his script like a man on a mission, with the ham-fisted subtlety that we expect from a man whose plan to stop the drug war is to, well, start a different war. Graver is the embodiment of the American Way in ‘Soldado’, when presented with two options, Graver will choose the one that makes the biggest explosion.

Del Toro’s performance is far more nuanced, a welcome change to Graver’s brash nature, as he completes his tasks strategically and efficiently. He has moments of brutality, like an early assassination where he uses his left index finger to fire his handgun faster than his right index finger could for reasons other than this looks cool. Alejandro is faced with many moral quandary’s through the film, mainly related to the kidnapped daughter, Isabel (played by Isabela Moner, off the back of a supporting role in ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’). Those familiar with ‘Sicario’ will know why Isabela is important to Alejandro, but what could have been forced melodrama comes off really nicely thanks to Del Toro’s performance, the highlight of which is the eye-opening sign-language conversation he has with a deaf-mute man he meets on his travels. Del Toro continues to be on fine form whatever he does, whether it’s the subtlety of this role or the madness of The Collector in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’.

Further positives for ‘Soldado’ come from its music. With the tragic passing of Jóhann Jóhannsson earlier this year, soundtrack duties were passed to regular Jóhansson collaborator Hildur Guðnadóttir. The original ‘Sicario’ soundtrack is stunning, earning numerous award nominations including an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score. ‘Soldado’s’ soundtrack is naturally influenced by ‘Sicario’s’, but where ‘Sicario’ knew when to include moments of levity and calm before the ensuing storm, ‘Soldado’s’ is much more consistently intense. It has some superb moments where it’s the soundtrack to a shootout or a chase sequence, but the overall impact isn’t quite as strong as the original.

That becomes a theme as the film transpires. I found myself thoroughly enjoying the film all the way through, but ‘Sicario’ felt different. It had the vision of masters like director Denis Villeneuve and cinematography legend Roger Deakins to guide proceedings to where they needed to be. Where ‘Sicario’ had “the scene” in form of the US-Mexico border traffic jam scene, or where it had “the shot” in the form of the US military silhouettes descending into darkness against the Mexican sunset, ‘Soldado’ doesn’t have moments like that. It has flashes of excellence, there’s a very well-done night vision scene in the first act, and there’s a very good shoot-out in the middle of a dirt road that’s shown almost entirely from inside a car. Director Stefano Sollima, a veteran of the highly rated Italian drama series ‘Gomorrah’, plays things safer than Villeneuve did, opting for functional shots rather than impressive ones. That isn’t to say there aren’t great shots and moments in the film, but it’s not as well-executed as the original.

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“The Shot” from ‘Sicario’

‘Sicario 2: Soldado’ is a well-done film, it has great elements to it, mainly from its actors, but it doesn’t quite have the spark the original has, lacking the necessary subtlety to take on such a modern-day, real-world, hot button topic. I’ve read Sheridan say ‘Soldado’ is less a sequel to the original, it’s more of a standalone story within that world, and I buy that. I would like to see more of that. Take these characters, put them in a situation, see how it unfolds. It’s a good approach, because the further away from the original you take ‘Soldado’, the better it comes across.

I could’ve done without the final line, though.

Rhys’ Rating:

3-5

 

Weekend BO Report: ‘Ant-Man And The Wasp’ Flies To Number 1 On A Weekend Of Big Drops

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Written by Dapo Olowu

In a result that may be disappointing to some, but with a position that’s surprising to none, Disney’s ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ finished its opening weekend atop the domestic Box Office charts, flying in with $75.8m — almost $50m above its closest competitor. The sequel to 2015s ‘Ant-Man’ saw a 33% boost in its first 3-days when compared to its predecessor, coming in just above MCU sequels ‘Iron Man 2’ (31%) and ‘Thor 2’ (30%), but below ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’ (46%) and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ (55%). It also grossed around $85m from 41 international markets, for a worldwide opening of $161m — far better than the $113.6m earned by ‘Ant-Man’ 3 years ago.

Still, there lingers a small concern that ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ could’ve grown to even taller heights. Sure, it was the MCU’s 20th consecutive chart-topper, but tracking had the film well clear of $80m, with a potential of getting close to the century figure. Regardless, with its opening weekend audience hitting the four main quadrants relatively evenly (58% over 25, 55% male), Peyton Reed’s superhero sequel looks odds-on for a leggy summer run.

It was a close fight for second place, as just $200k separated ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and ‘Incredibles 2’ in the Box Office standings. ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ brought in $28.6m for a domestic total of $333.4m, and a worldwide total of $1.06bn. ‘Incredibles 2’ held up well against ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’s direct audience competition, to earn $28.4m. It’s already smashed through the domestic animated record in just 4 weeks and, having earned $503.8m already, it could potentially look to be the 3rd film of the year (and just the 9th film ever) to gross $600m in the U.S. alone.

The First Purge’ earned just $17.4m in its opening 3 days, but a whopping $31.3m since Wednesday to more than double its $13m budget. It’s already just $10m behind fellow horror ‘Hereditary’, in what’s proving a very valuable year for horror movies. After ‘A Quiet Place’ made $331.3m (and counting), ‘The First Purge’ aims to finish on over $100m worldwide — and its $10.9m in international markets means it’s off to a great start.

Both ‘Sicario: Day of Soldado’ and ‘Uncle Drew’ suffered from large drops this weekend, with the former dropping by 60% in wake of its mixed critical reception. A $7.6m gross for the crime sequel was $1m over the $6.6m earned by sports comedy, ‘Uncle Drew’, which saw a 57% drop after ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’s arrival. ‘Ocean’s 8’ held steady after losing over 800 cinemas by earning $5.1m, to bring its domestic total up to $126.5m, while ‘Tag’ lost 1,000 locations on its way to make $3m this weekend. ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ grew by 6% to earn $2.6m and become the biggest documentary of the year, leaving ‘Deadpool 2’ (which made $1.7m in its final weekend) to finish up the top ten.

What do you think? Did ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ fail to live up to expectations, or was this was a good opening for the film? Let us know your thoughts on Instagram and Twitter – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Predictions: ‘Ant-Man And The Wasp’ To Make A Big Impression While ‘The First Purge’ Offers Few Shocks

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Written by Dapo Olowu

The first half of the U.S. Box Office year was simply enormous, ending with June becoming the biggest grossing month on record. Disney’s dominance is a massive factor, but a fascinating stat reveals that, domestically, only 4 of 2018’s Box Office weekends so far have been topped by non-franchise films, with ‘Ready Player One’, ‘A Quiet Place’, and ‘Rampage’ hitting number 1 back in April. This franchise supremacy (or ‘sequel-itis’) is set to continue this weekend, as ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ and ‘The First Purge’ break into cinemas across America.

Riding on the waves of ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Infinity War’ is the MCU’s final showing of the year: ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’, and it’s looking to make a big splash at the top of the rankings this weekend. The sequel to 2015s ‘Ant-Man’, which opened to just $57.2m, sees Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly return in the title roles, as Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne work to return Janet Van Dyne from the quantum realm.

MCU first-sequels have generally seen a 30%-45% boost in openings from their predecessors, with ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s 55% leap proving a rarity. Applying a similar measure to ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ would give it an opening of $89m, just a shade over ‘Doctor Strange’s $85.1m. Taking into account the MCU’s performance this year, and ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’s pre-sale numbers tracking alongside ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ (which opened to $117m last July), it’s not an unrealistic figure, proving that even the smallest characters can make a big impact.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ should stabilise after a heavy-ish 59% drop last weekend, and is in-line to perform like big-hitting, Universal franchise film, ‘Furious 7’ — which saw a 60% fall in its second weekend. A similar weekend would see ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ grossing a pretty loud $29.8m, for the film to reach the magic $1bn global gross figure in just a month. Closing in is ‘Incredibles 2’, which may find competition this weekend from ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’, but will have enough firepower to earn close to $28m.

Nearly 5 years to the day after ‘The Purge’ opened, ‘The First Purge’ takes us right back to the beginning, providing cinema-goers with the origins of the 12-hour period of horror. The first of the films not directed by James DeMonaco, the Blumhouse/Michael Bay joint production casts relatively unknown actors Y’Lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, and Joivan Wade in lead roles; although, Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei also stars in the film, so it is perhaps looking to attract the teenage crowd.

The First Purge’, directed by Gerard McMurray, actually opened on Wednesday to capitalise on the Independence Day holiday, and grossed a healthy $9.3m. Comparing to other recent horror sequels, like ‘Alien: Covenant’ and ‘Annabelle: Creation’, gives the film a mid-30s 3-day opening weekend, but its 52% on the Tomatometer is more in line with ‘Insidious: Chapter 3’, which earned $22.7m. From this, a $25m opening is likely, the lowest of ‘The Purge’ franchise so far.

Although ‘Sicario 2’ over-delivered on expectations last weekend, we predict a more subdued showing in the next few days, as its critical reception leads to a $10m gross. Comedy, ‘Uncle Drew’, will hope to remain undeterred by ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’s arrival to make close to $9m. Now in its 5th weekend, ‘Ocean’s 8’ is already on track to finish ahead of both ‘Ocean’s Twelve’ and ‘Thirteen’, and should deliver just under $6m. ‘Tag’ will close in on the $50m domestic mark with $3.5m, and finally ‘Deadpool 2’ and ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ finish off the weekend with around $2m each.

The MCU will hope that ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ will be its 6th successive $100m domestic opening, but will it manage it? Let us know your thoughts on Instagram and Twitter – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Predictions: ‘Uncle Drew’ And ‘Sicario 2’ Go To War In Tightly Contested Weekend

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Written by Dapo Olowu

There’s going to be a battle for third place in the U.S. Box Office this weekend as sports comedy ‘Uncle Drew’ looks to play ball against ‘Sicario 2’, the eagerly awaited sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s 2015 crime thriller ‘Sicario’. Both will take a backseat to J. A. Bayona’s ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ however, with the dinosaur epic looking to endure a more frustrating run than its 2015 predecessor. A drop close to 60% would still earn ‘Jurassic World 2’, the 3rd biggest film of the year so far, a pretty monstrous $60m, but it’s a far-cry from the $106.6m that Trevorrow’s ‘Jurassic World’ made just 3 years ago.

Incredibles 2’, on the other hand, is rapidly closing in on ‘The Incredibles’ worldwide total of $633m, as it looks to break through the $600m barrier by the end of the weekend. Domestically, a $45.8m gross this weekend would see it keep second place and near a $450m total, enough to become the second biggest animated film of all time in the U.S.

Stefano Sollima’s ‘Sicario 2’ can only wish for a similar performance – the first only opened to $12.1m in wide release, for a $46.9m domestic total off of a $30m budget. Director Denis Villeneuve doesn’t return this time around, alongside household name Emily Blunt, and Oscar-nominee Daniel Kaluuya. It does though see the return of Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro, alongside acclaimed writer Taylor Sheridan of ‘Wind River’ and ‘Hell or High Water’ fame. An opening close to $20m would be a solid start, but critical reception pales in comparison to ‘Sicario’, with the sequel holding a decent 72% on the Tomatometer, compared to the first’s 93%. A gross just over $16m should therefore be on the cards.

Following closely is ‘Uncle Drew’, starring NBA superstar Kyrie Irving in the titular role. The comedy, based on his character from Pepsi Max adverts, also stars ‘Get Out’ actor Lil Rel Howery, as well as Nick Kroll, Shaquille O’Neal, and Tiffany Haddish. The presence of Haddish automatically draws comparisons between the film and last year’s breakout comedy ‘Girls Trip’, which opened to huge $31.2m, and finished on $115.2m domestically. However, ‘Uncle Drew’ doesn’t have the critical acclaim (50% on RT vs. 90%), nor the specific charm that ‘Girls Trip’ offered. A closer comparison would be to 2016s ‘Barbershop: The Next Cut’s $20.2m opening, meaning ‘Uncle Drew’ should be close to ‘Sicario 2’ this weekend by earning around $16m.

Also keeping its place in the top ten is ‘Ocean’s 8’ which looks to close in on ‘Ocean’s Thirteen’s domestic total with a $7.5m gross this weekend. Comedy ‘Tag’ may endure a bit of audience competition from the two new entries, and should earn just under $5m to continue a pretty poor year for comedies. ‘Deadpool 2’ sets to continue its trend of 40% weekend drops by pulling in $3.2m, while ‘Solo’ in theory should bounce back after being hit hard by ‘Jurassic World’ 7 days ago, for a gross of $2.7m. Finally, we round the weekend out with ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ and ‘Hereditary’; the former looks to perform similarly to documentary ‘RBG’ earlier this year to earn $1.9m from its limited release, while the latter will pull in close to $1.8m.

Who do you think will win the battle for third place between ‘Sicario 2’ and ‘Uncle Drew’? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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It’s Time To Start A War In The First Trailer For ‘Sicario’ Sequel – ‘Soldado’

“FBI agent Matt Graver teams up with a former member of a Mexican drug cartel to kidnap a kingpin’s daughter.”

Directed By: Stefano Sollima

Cast: Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Keener, Jeffrey Donovan

Release Date: June 29th, 2018 (UK TBA)