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411 Box Office Report: Cars 3 Rules, Wonder Woman Stays Strong

June 18, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

Pixar took the top spot at the box office this weekend, as Cars 3 reigned. The CG-animated sequel garnered $53.5 million to finish at #1 for the weekend. That’s right in line with where it was predicted to do but is still not a great start. It’s the lowest opening for for the series, behind the $60.1 million for the first Cars and the $66.1 million opening for Cars 2. It’s also the lowest opening for Pixar since The Good Dinosaur opened to $47 million in November of 2015.

That being said, while its not a great opening the film was never expected to open like Finding Dory. The series has traditionally been a more moderate performer in theaters and does well in other venues such as ancillaries. Part of the reason has to do that Cars is the least prestigious of the studios’ franchises. It’s never been a critical hit and Cars 3 was no exception. At 65% the film is certainly better than the second film (which had a rough 39% score) but is otherwise the lowest-scoring film Pixar has produced to date. The marketing campaign for the movie was a bit more low key than previous Cars films and the six-year delay meant that anticipation wasn’t particularly great.

There is some positive news though. Cars 3 scored an excellent A CinemaScore, in line with the first film’s number. That combines with the better reviews than the second film (and fairly close to Cars’ 74%) to suggest it will have a better multiple than Cars 2’s 2.89, though very likely not as good as Cars’ 4.06. With Despicable Me 3 ready to take a big bite out in two weeks, Cars 3 should finish off at around $150 million to $160 million domestically. It started off at a moderate $21.3 million in twenty-three markets as part of a staggered international rollout for a $74.9 million worldwide first weekend. With a $175 million budget, this one should be okay although by no means a hit for Pixar compared to its other films.

Cars 3 couldn’t take much away from Wonder Woman, which was down a stellar 30% to $40.8 million in its third weekend. That is the fourth-best third-weekend total ever for a superhero film behind only The Avengers ($55.6 million), Spider-Man ($45 million) and The Dark Knight ($42.7 million), and Avengers and Dark Knight opened signficantly higher than the DCEU film. In fact, comparing to the other DCEU movies Wonder Woman’s third weekend take is far better than the full third weeks of Man of Steel ($31.9 million), Batman V Superman ($29.1 million) and Suicide Squad ($29.2 million). It’s now ahead of all of those films’ domestic grosses at the same point aside from Dawn of Justice, sitting at $274.6 million domestically and $571.8 million worldwide. Its domestic total should run out over $350 million and could go even higher than that conceivably. With a $149 million budget, this is a big win for Warner Bros.

Coming in at third place was All Eyez On Me, which brought in $27.1 million in its first weekend. That’s a very good start for the film, beating out pre-weekend estimates in the $20 million to $22 million range. There was a point early on in the weekend when the Tupac Shakur biopic looked like it may be able to top Wonder Woman for #2; it got off to a roaring start on Friday which was Shakur’s birthday with $12.8 million. But heavy drops on Saturday and Sunday left it in the #3 spot. Still, few people at Lionsgate are going to be disappointed at these numbers.

All Eyez had a long and troubled road to the big screen, going through a series of directors and writers, and there was a while where it didn’t look like it would be made or at least receive a wide release. The success of Straight Outta Compton in August of 2015 propelled it forward though. All Eyez is not a hit with critics (24% on RT) but attendees loved it with an A- CinemaScore. The word of mouth probably won’t have a big impact on its box office legs though; even great reviews and audience scores got Compton to a multiple of just 3.0. With this one, a domestic total around $75 million seems likely. With a $40 million production budget and low marketing costs, it should be able to make the studio a small profit.

Universal’s Dark Universe was hoping against hope for a good hold for The Mummy and was predictably disappointed there. The Tom Cruise-led action-horror film came in at #4 with $13.9 million. That’s a second-weekend drop of 56%, which would be fine if it had opened in the $40 million to $50 million range. At its lower levels, that’s not good news for the film’s potential profit margin. The movie sits at $56.5 million domestically but a stronger $295.6 million worldwide. It still has a bit to go, but if international grosses stay decent it could end up avoiding a loss margin on its $125 milion budget plus marketing.

Shark thriller 47 Meters Down did more or less where most expected, opening at $11.5 million. Entertainment Studios’ first wide release is off to a moderate start, below the $16.8 million of last year’s The Shallows, but this one also lacked the savvy marketing and Blake Lively’s relative star power (Mandy Moore is the most recognizable star). 47 Meters came out of nowhere in recent weeks, with Entertainment giving it a moderate marketing spend that caught on.

The film’s production budget was also inexpensive at an estimated $12 million, and that’s good for the studio as the movie will not likely have much in the way of legs. Along with the mixed critic reactions, word of mouth is not fantastic with a C CinemaScore. That’s usually about average for horror, although several films have been moving that needle north as of late. The film is likely to finish out at around $30 million or so domestically and will need some foreign numbers to hit a profit margin, but it’s not a bad start for a first studio effort.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales grossed $8.5 million in its fourth weekend, down a nice 21%. The fifth film in the franchise now sits at $150.1 million domestically and $650 million worldwide. It is still on course for around $170 million in the US with an unsure profit margin based on the $230 million production budget.

Scarlett Johansson’s R-rated comedy Rough Night had a rough weekend, flopping with just $8 million. The ensemble film, which also stars Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer and ZoĆ« Kravitz, was expected to open somewhere in the $20 million range but got stopped by a multitude of factors. Those include Wonder Woman’s box office resilience and the overperformance of fellow R-rated newcomer All Eyez on Me, as well as the fact that people just weren’t interested in another Hangover-style film. Critical reviews were iffy at 50% and audiences hated it with a C+ CinemaScore, which for a comedy is a death knell.

Because of all of that, this one’s going to be a flop. The $20 million budget is low but add in an estimated $30 million on print/advertising and this has little chance to hit the black. Overseas it added $4.2 in a smattering of markets with plenty more on the way, but in the US it will probably not top $25 million and it won’t get enough internationally to make it past the profit line.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie was off a pretty good 40% in its third weekend, avoiding the Cars 3 bit to take in $7.4 million. The Fox/Dreamworks animated film brought its total grosses to $58 million domestically and $62.7 million worldwide. The film still sitting in solid shape and should be able to top out at $70 million or more domestically. The budget was $38 million.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was down 21% in its seventh weekend to $5 million, bringing its totals to $374.9 million domestically and $844.4 million worldwide. That puts it on course for as high as $390 million and a money maker on a $200 million budget.

It Comes at Night closed out the top ten with $2.6 million, down a standard 56% for the horror genre. The movie held onto its audience depiste negative reaction thanks to positive reviews and now sits at $11.1 million. It should finish out with around $16 million in the US which, even with a $6 million budget, will probably need international grosses to make money.

Transformers should rule the roost next weekend as it targets a three-day total of $50 million and perhaps $70 million through July 4th. It’s the only new wide release next weekend.

Note: Numbers include Sunday estimates and are three-day estimates. A studio recoups 55% of a film’s grosses on average, meaning it needs to approximately double its budget to be profitable during its theatrical run.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Numbers)
1. Cars 3 – $53.7 million ($53.7 million total)
2. Wonder Woman – $40.8 million ($274.6 million total)
3. All Eyez on Me – $27.1 million ($27.1 million total)
4. The Mummy – $13.9 million ($56.5 million total)
5. 47 Meters Down – $11.5 million ($11.5 million total)
6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – $8.5 million ($150.1 million total)
7. Rough Night – $8 million ($8 million total)
8. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie – $7.4 million ($58 million total)
9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – $5 million ($374.9 million total)
10. It Comes at Night – $2.6 million ($11.1 million total)