Sequel Season’s in full swing, as another 2 films go head-to-head for a chance to top the charts. ‘Men in Black’ spinoff ‘MiB: International’, starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, looks to blast off to a strong start, but will be chased down by the latest instalment in the ‘Shaft’ series, ‘Shaft’. Both will have to contend with the 2nd weekend of ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’, which aims to take advantage of the summer period with a strong run, making for an interesting few days in the Box Office.
So, what’s opening this weekend?
Gary Gray’s ‘Men in Black: International’ sees Hemsworth and Thompson, 2 agents in the MiB’s London branch, travel the world and grapple with aliens. Part of an all-star cast which includes Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani and Emma Thompson, the film marks the pair’s 2nd collaboration after 2017’s ‘Thor: Ragnarok’.
No $123m MCU-like opening here however, as no ‘Men in Black’ film has ever opened to over $55m, with the 3 all grossing $51.1m, $52.1m, and $54.6m in their respective 1st 3 days. Of course, the draw of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones was a major factor in the franchise’s consistency, meaning it’s a little harder to gauge just how the $1.7bn-grossing franchise will react to this newest release.
Honestly, we can’t see ‘International’ doing as well. The $110m-budgeted flick sits on a wretched 33% on the Tomatometer, and 39 on Metacritic, meaning generally unfavourable reviews. We thus see it open alongside another unfortunate Will Smith-less sequel ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’, which earned $41m back in July 2016. Not the worst start in the world, but one that leaves much reliance on ‘International’s overseas gross.
Following ‘International’ is ‘Shaft’, the follow-up to 2000’s ‘Shaft’, which itself directly succeeded 1971’s ‘Shaft’. If the title ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as the last ‘Shaft’ opened to a surprising $21.7m almost 20 years ago – a similar opening this time around would surely be welcomed for the film that cost $30m to produce.
The latest rendition sees 3 generations of the John Shafts, which include ‘JJ’ (Jessie Usher), John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson), and the original John Shaft (Richard Roundtree), team up to uncover the truth about a suspicious death. We’re expecting them to find an audience at least, with a start around $17m to place it in 3rd this weekend.
What else is on?
‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ continues its solid, if not unremarkable, performance this weekend to earn around $26m. By Sunday night, the film will be around $10m short of the century mark domestically, which incredibly will see it on par with ‘Godzilla 2’, the mega-budget creature feature released an entire 7 days beforehand.
At least ‘Godzilla’ isn’t alone in its failure, as Fox’s ‘Dark Phoenix’ will have an equally torrid time this Box Office weekend, earning around $13m (a 61% drop). Any hopes of reaching the $100m domestic mark are surely now dashed, and with losses likely to hit close to $100m for the film after its run’s ended, ‘X-Men’ has come to an abrupt end in its current iteration.