Weekend Report - 'Fantastic Four' Gets Clobbered
Fox's Fantastic Four got a Thing-like pummeling at the box office with a $26.2M first outing, allowing Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation to take #1 for the second weekend in a row with $29.4M.

Fantastic's $6,558 take per screen underwhelmed across the board and it doesn't look like the Josh Trank-directed film has any hopes of turning things around. The film earned a dismal "C-" Cinemascore, a very low grade for what is supposed to be a summer blockbuster. Pixels, for heaven's sake, earned a "B."

The top 12, with $121.7M, was 30.1% lower than last year in this frame ($174.2) when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles surprised with a $65.6M opening weekend and Guardians of the Galaxy had the best 2nd weekend of the summer of 2014, hauling in $42.1M. They contributed to a first ever $1B August, something extremely unlikely to be repeated this year.

As for Fantastic Four one has to go back to 2012 for a film associated with the Marvel comics brand, which is different but comprises the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Sony Spider-Man and Fox films, to find a Marvel film opening so poorly.

Fantastic Four can make the ignominious claim of having opened better than Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, which had a $22.1M weekend in 2012, limping towards a $51M domestic cume. But Four opened lower than Blade 2 at $32.5M in 2002 ($45.5 adjusted using Q1 2015 prices), which had some legs, and had an $82.3M domestic cume. The Thing had better have massive overseas appeal or Fantastic Four will have to be registered as a write-off.

New studio STX gets to report that The Gift made $12M at the weekend box office, better than expected. The Joel Edgerton-directed movie has a "B" on CinemaScore. With a budget of $5M from the ever-frugal co-producer and financier Blumhouse Productions STX is off to a good start.

Ricki and the Flash, the Meryl Streep drama-edy, where she shares the screen with her real-life daughter, Mamie Gummer, will finish the weekend with $6.5M, which was inline with estimates. It too has a "ho-hum" "B" from Cinemascore.

Critically-adored Shaun the Sheep, on 2,320 screens, never did find that matinee audience. Its lackluster $4M weekend represented the $1,724 the film made in its various theaters. That's the worst opening (but also the lowest theater count) for an Aardman film. Even The Pirates! Band of Misfits opened to $11M in 2012. What went wrong? The domestic trailer, while bemusing, never packed a "gotta see that!" punch nor conveyed the sweet and innocent nature that Aardman pulls off so well. That translated to a "catch that on video" vibe.

A24's The End of the Tour did reasonably well on the road. With its screens extended to 36 the film pulled in a $7,000 per venue for a $252,702 weekend and a $428,047 cume. While not exactly exhilarating the real test will be the film's wider expansion on 8/21. A24 has proved very adept at opening these smaller, prestige films such as Ex Machina, which made $25.4M domestically earlier this year.

They also have the documentary hit of the year (so far) in Amy which on 149 screens made $259K adding to its cume of $6.96M.

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This Weekend in Past Years:

• 2014 Weekend Report: 'Turtle' Power• 2013 - Audiences Travel to 'Elysium' Over Crowded Weekend

• 2012 - 'Legacy' Debut Keeps 'Bourne' Franchise Alive

• 2011 - 'Apes' Clings to Top Spot, 'Help' Cleans Up• 2010 - 'Expendables' Pump Up, 'Eat Pray Love' Pigs Out, 'Scott Pilgrim' Powers Down

• 2009 - 'G.I. Joe' Doesn't Roll Snake Eyes

• 2008 - 'Dark Knight' Still Ablaze in Fourth Week

• 2007 - 'Rush Hour 3' Packs Less Punch

• 2006 - 'Step Up' Stands Out, 'World Trade Center' Sturdy in Third

• 2005 - 'Four Brothers,' 'Skeleton Key' Bury 'Deuce Bigalow'

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