The penultimate weekend of the Box Office summer period belongs to Lionsgate, as latest instalment in the ‘Fallen’ franchise, ‘Angel Has Fallen’, blasted its way to a $21.4m opening – $10m ahead of nearest competitor ‘Good Boys’, and just $200k off the opening of predecessor ‘London…’. It was a decent weekend for fellow newcomer ‘Overcomer’ too, as the Christian drama earned $8.1m from just 1,700 cinemas. The baton was then handed over to horror-comedy ‘Ready or Not’ to complete a successful hattrick, but the Fox-Disney release struggled to find its audience with just an $8m start.
How did the new releases get on?
Gunning down our pre-release $17m forecast this weekend was ‘Angel Has Fallen’, opening to an unprecedented $21.4m to comfortably top the Box Office chart. It’s a start that mirrors the previous instalment ‘London Has Fallen’ from March 2016 ($21.6m), a welcomed surprise considering the substantial drop-off from the ‘Olympus Has Fallen’s $30.4m opening 6 years ago.
To compensate for the franchise’s falling domestic stock, Lionsgate trimmed the budget (reports state ‘Angel’ actually costs under $60m) and switched the release date to the virtually empty end-of-August corridor – one they found success in with the 2017 action-comedy ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’, which opened to an identical $21.4m.
Granted, ‘Angel’ may still be a franchise-low opening, and doesn’t come close to matching the $57m start of fellow Lionsgate action-vehicle ‘John Wick 3’, but it’s the only film of the ‘Fallen’ series to debut at #1. Its 40% on the Tomatometer isn’t worth boasting about, however its A- Cinemascore beats out the likes of ‘Hitman’s Bodyguard’ (B+), which ended up on a strong $75.5m domestic total. If ‘Angel’ can get anywhere close to ‘Hitman’s gross (e.g. $65m), and if it follows the franchise’s increasing dependency on overseas grosses, then it won’t be long before ‘London’s $206m worldwide total (not to mention ‘Olympus’s $170m) will’ve fallen.
That left Affirm Studios’ ‘Overcomer’, and Fox’s ‘Ready or Not’ in a battle of the micro-budgets, with the $5m ‘Overcomer’ shading it with an $8.1m opening from just 1,723 cinemas. Lagging behind our $10m forecast, the Alex Kendrick-directed drama couldn’t best Kendrick’s previous effort ‘War Room’, which opened in August 2015 to $11.4m, yet marks a solid start that makes it the 18th biggest opening for a Christian film in U.S. history.
‘Ready or Not’ couldn’t emulate the quite success, earning $8m between Friday and Sunday ($11m since opening on Wednesday) from a $6.5m budget. Niche genre films are always hit-and-miss at the Box Office, so while movies like ‘Cabin in the Woods’ can benefit from Chris Hemsworth’s quick ascent into ‘Thor’ and ‘Avengers’ stardom with its $14.7m opening, ‘Ready or Not’ has to make do with a lack of star power, meaning even its Fox Searchlight-record 2,855 cinema showing doesn’t help its cause.
Being niche also has its benefits. Little direct competition can sometimes give way to a sleeper hit, or at least ‘Crawl’ levels of sustainability. A solid audience reception (in this case, a B+ on Cinemascore) only strengthens this viewpoint, meaning ‘Ready or Not’ isn’t done playing just yet.
How did the others do?
Last weekend’s champion ‘Good Boys’ fell by 46% in its 2nd weekend to post $11.6m, mirroring the run of fellow Universal release ‘Blockers’ from last April, which earned $10.8m in its sophomore outing (a 48% fall). The comedy now sits on a $41.9m running domestic total, making it the 4th biggest comedy of the year, just $7m behind ‘Isn’t It Romantic’, $12m behind ‘What Men Want’, and $31m behind ‘A Madea Family Funeral’.
Other notables from the weekend
- Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ broke the $500m domestic barrier this week, and has officially bested ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ($504m) to become the biggest Disney live-action remake of all time, with $510.6m.
- It also now stands as the 13th biggest film in domestic history.
- ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ opened to an August-record $102m in China.
- This was also the 2nd largest opening for the franchise (after ‘Fate’) in the country.
- ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ surpasses ‘Inglorious Basterds’ as Tarantino’s 2nd biggest film domestically.
- Warner Bros. flop ‘The Kitchen’ saw 2,125 cinemas drop the film in its 3rd weekend, the 32nd biggest weekend cinema drop of all time.
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