So I completely botched my predictions for this past weekend’s box office with the film I thought would give “The Meg” a run for its money falling short of expectations and the movie I completely ignored as a threat taking home the top spot. Three new movies entered the top five as one of the slowest months of the year traditionally continues to provide some surprise magic for cinemas nationwide. So which of the three new releases won out? How close did “The Meg” come to continuing its box office reign? Let’s take a look in the Box Office Breakdown for August 17-20, 2018.
I admit I did not expect “Crazy Rich Asians” to be the film that won out in the end. I had a feeling it would do well because it offers a unique take on the romantic comedy and is the first Asian-led Hollywood production in 25 years, but I didn’t think it would do this good and I wasn’t alone. “Crazy Rich Asians” surpassed many industry forecasts to make $34 million in its opening weekend which was made even more impressive because the film offered some select preview showings before the weekend tally began. The movie had a Wednesday night preview which spawned tremendous word of mouth and great critical reviews that likely pushed it over the edge to become an immediate hit. Made on a reported $30 million budget the film has already topped its production costs and earned another $730,000 in six international markets. It’s certainly hit on something film-goers were looking for, whether it’s the Asian led gimmick or that it films a niche. If you’d like to read my take on it you can view my review of “Crazy Rich Asians” here.
Last week’s champion, “The Meg” fell over 50% but earned another $21 million in its second weekend giving Warner Bros. a one-two punch as they dominated the first two spots on the chart. This continues a great year for Warner Bros, which has celebrated several Box Office hits in 2018 so far leveling out a few early failures. It’s the third time in 2018 that Warner Bros has had two films in the top five at the same time after topping the chart with both “Ready Player One” and “Rampage” in March and April respectively and having both “Tag” and “Ocean’s 8” in the top five in June. It’s also the first time (at least from my research) in nine years that Warner Bros. has gone back to back in consecutive weeks with two different films at number one. The last time I found this to occur was in 2011 when “New Year’s Eve” and “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” both won their weekends. You’d have to go even farther back to find the last time WB held BOTH top spots in the same weekend. “The Meg” was joined by “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” as the only two carryover films in the top five with “Fallout” coming in fourth after initially being considered fifth in a tie with “Alpha”.
Finishing up the top five were the other two newcomers of the weekend, STX’s “Mile 22”and Sony’s “Alpha”. Neither impressed with “Mile 22” coming up short of its expected numbers with only $13.6 million as a third-place finish. The project, which sees Mark Wahlberg leading a black ops team to extract an asset, was meant to spark a franchise but has been met with poor reviews and obviously lackluster interest from audiences. With a budget of $50 million and only another $538,000 brought in from overseas the Peter Berg directed project doesn’t look to be seeing a sequel anytime soon with these numbers. You can look for my review of “Mile 22” later this week. Rounding out the top five after actuals broke its virtual tie with “Mission: Impossible” for the fourth position was “Alpha” which took in $10.5 million which was expected despite having its own $50 million budget. The film explores the origin of man’s relationship with canines and had a rocky road to cinemas especially with PETA pushing against the film for reported misuse of bison carcasses on set. The film was well received by critics though and you can read my own review of “Alpha” here. The rest of the top ten, in descending order, was comprised of “Christopher Robin”, “BlacKkKlansman”, Slender Man”, “Hotel Transylvania 3” and “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”.
Next week I feel it’s going to be a shoe in win for STX as they release “The Happytime Murders”. The Melissa McCarthy led comedy will debut in over 3,000 theaters and offers a nice change of pace from more action and family friendly films that have littered the last two months putting the focus on a raunchy story about puppets being killed in an alternate version of LA. I feel confident I’ll be right this time in calling the winner of the weekend. Other new releases will be “A.X.L”, which plans to pander to the family crowd, as well as the limited release of “Papillon”, the biographical drama focusing on the true story of convict Henri Charriere. I’ll see you again this time next week where I’m pretty sure we’ll be talking about some oddly humorous puppets at the top of the box office.