'Men in Black' & 'Shaft' Become Latest Summer Sequels to Disappoint
by Brad Brevet
June 16, 2019
It was another disappointing weekend for a pair of new sequels as both Sony's Men in Black International and WB's Shaft were both unable to reach even the slimmest of studio expectations heading into the weekend. The weekend is down significantly compared to last year when Incredibles 2 bowed with a record-shattering $182.6 million opening and next weekend will turn to Pixar once again, looking to Toy Story 4 to turn the tide.
Sony's release of Men in Black International debuted with a disappointing $28.5 million from 4,224 locations. By comparison, this is the lowest opening in the franchise by over $20 million as all three of the previous installments opened with over $51 million. The $110 million production joins a slew of recently released sequels to not only under-perform based on pre-weekend expectations, but severely under-performing based on previous films in the franchise. Entering the weekend the film received mostly negative reviews and opening day audiences gave the film a "B" CinemaScore, which is hardly a ringing endorsement. The film played to an opening weekend crowd that was 56% male with 53% of the overall audience coming in aged 25 or older.
Internationally, Men in Black brought in $73.7 million from 36 markets, giving the film a global debut over $102 million. The studio notes the film is tracking on par with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and 19% behind MIB 3 at current exchange rates for the same group of markets. China led all markets with $26.3 million and a #1 opening followed by Russia ($5.1m), South Korea ($4.9m), Mexico ($3.9m), Japan ($3.5m), UK ($3.4m), Australia ($2.6m) and France ($2.5m). The film opened in approximately 92% of the marketplace with debuts in Belgium (Jun 19), Netherlands (Jun 20) and Italy (Jul 25) remaining.
Finishing in second is Universal and Illumination's The Secret Life of Pets 2, which dipped -49% to begin its second weekend with an estimated $23.8 million three-day and a domestic gross that now totals just over $92 million after ten days in release. Internationally, the film added another $8.5 million this weekend for a global cume that now totals nearly $155 million.
Disney's Aladdin held on well as it enters its fourth weekend in release. The latest Disney live-action reimagining dipped just -32% for an estimated $16.7 million three-day, pushing its domestic cume just shy of $264 million. Internationally the film added another $47.5 million this weekend for an overseas cume that now totals over $461 million and a global tally just shy of $725 million.
Disney's release of Fox's Dark Phoenix cratered in its second weekend, dropping a massive -72.6% for an estimated $9 million three-day and a domestic gross that now tops $51 million. This is the second largest second weekend drop for a film playing in over 3,500 theaters in its second weekend behind only 2015's Fifty Shades of Grey (-73.9%). Additionally, Dark Phoenix earned an estimated $24.2 million in its second weekend of release internationally, raising the overall overseas cume to $152.5 million for a global haul that now tops $204 million.
Rounding out the top five is Paramount's Rocketman, which dipped -36% as it entered its third week in release with an estimated $8.8 million for a domestic cume that now totals over $66 million. The film also added another $8.5 million internationally for a global cume that now tops $133 million.
Finishing outside the top five we find WB's release of Shaft, which the studio was expecting to debut somewhere around $15 million, but it could only muster an estimated $8.3 million from 2,952 locations. That said, while critical response was mixed-to-negative, opening day audiences gave the film an "A" CinemaScore, though with an opening this low the film's fate is most likely sealed. Additionally, the film played to a crowd that was 54% female and 84% of the overall audience came in aged 25 years or older.
Further down the list, in ninth place, is Amazon Studios's Late Night, which expanded into 2,220 locations (+2,216) and delivered an estimated $5.1 million. Amazon acquired the film, which stars Emma Thompson and Mindy Kailing, whom also wrote the screenplay, at this year's Sundance Film Festival for a record $13 million and while this is hardly a great opening, it should have a long life on Amazon's Prime Video platform. Friday's audience gave the film a "B+" CinemaScore.
Outside the top ten we find Focus's release of Jim Jarmusch's star-studded zombie comedy The Dead Don't Die, which opened in 613 locations with an estimated $2.5 million. Exit polls show 58% of the opening weekend crowd was male and 64% were aged 35 or older.
In limited release, Roadside's American Woman opened in 117 locations with an estimated $102,825 ($878 PTA); the documentary 5B opened with an estimated $40,000 from 127 theaters ($315 PTA); IFC's Hampstead brought in $24,144 from 12 locations ($2,012 PTA); The Film Arcade's Being Frank brought in $15,409 from three theaters ($5,136 PTA); Janus's re-release of Paris is Burning delivered an estimated $11,000 from one location; and Monument's Our Time opened in one theater with an estimated $3,000.
Next weekend should see the conclusion of the sequel slump as Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4 makes way for 4,400+ locations alongside UA Releasing's Child's Play remake, Lionsgate's Anna and Neon's debut of Wild Rose.
You can check out all of this weekend's estimated results right here and we'll be updating our charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.
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