Last week I predicted that “Crazy Rich Asians” would fall from its top spot to second in favor of the new raunchy comedy “The Happytime Murders” at the box office. It seemed simple enough. A slow month, Melissa McCarthy who still has great marketability in a new project, and the usual trend of falling revenue in the second weekend of a film’s release all seemed to work in my favor. However, I don’t think I nor anyone else who watches the big screen saw the final results coming by any means. Was “The Happytime Murders” able to hold off the carryover romantic comedy hit or did “Crazy Rich Asians” have a crazy successful second weekend. Let’s get to it with this week’s Box Office Breakdown.
With one of the best second weekends in cinema history “Crazy Rich Asians” proved me wrong for a SECOND week in a row holding on to the top spot with $25 million, a drop of only around $10 million or 5.7% from its opening weekend. The film has benefited greatly from its celebrated Asian cast, great word of mouth and spectacular critical success. The success of the movie has even spawned an influx of sales for the book on which it was based and its two sequels. The numbers put “Crazy Rich Asians” in the top ten for lowest drops in a second weekend. However it should be noted it is the EARLIEST released film to accomplish this at least in terms of where it falls in its respective year. The only other movie in the top ten on that list that was not released in December or November was “Puss in Boots” which had a Halloween weekend release in 2011. It should also be noted that there are 19 movies that actually INCREASED their box office take compared to their opening weekends but that’s a whole different list entirely to consider. “Crazy Rich Asians” also opened in 12 new foreign markets bringing it’s oversees total to $7.1 million over two weekends.
For the second weekend in a row Warner Bros. actually held the top two spots at the box office with “The Meg” showing just as much staying power as “Crazy Rich Asians”. The shark film about a runaway Megalodon has escaped early expectations of it being a flop to earn over $105 million at the box office to date domestically including $13 million over this past weekend. Worldwide the film has topped $408 million. “The Meg” was followed by the first of two new additions to the top ten for the weekend, “The Happytime Murders”. The latest in a string of subpar comedies featuring Melissa McCarthy, this subversive puppet-themed film received a major beating from fans and critics who called it all raunchiness with no substance. It disappointed with only a $10 million debut which was well below my expectations as I personally had assumed its premise alone would be enough to satisfy moviegoers looking for something a little less serious. Maybe I don’t give the maturity of modern movie fans enough credit. You can read my review of “The Happytime Murders” here. Rounding out the top five were “Mission Impossible – Fallout” and “Mile 22”.
You have to go to the back half of the top ten to find the second new entry on the chart this week. Global Road’s “A-X-L” continues a year of critical disasters for the studio and despite having a reported $10 million its meager $2.9 million domestic weekend take spells trouble for the family feature. The film following a young man’s chance friendship with a robotic dog made to help soldiers was torn apart by critics as derivative and unoriginal and those opinions reflected as few came out to see what the story had to offer. You can read my review of “A-X-L” here and judge for yourself if it’s worth a look. The rest of the top ten was composed of Disney’s “Christopher Robin”, “Alpha”, “BlacKkKlansman” which expanded to another 126 theaters, and “Slender Man” in positions six through ninth with “A-X-L” rounding out the top ten. The only other two new additions worth noting were the remake of “Papillon”, which entered at #16 from 544 theaters, and “Beautifully Broken” which entered at #19 from 651 theaters.
For me I don’t even know how to predict what this weekend is going to hold. “Crazy Rich Asians” is on a roll right now and with its biggest competition being Lionsgate’s “Kin” and Sony’s “Searching” it may just have enough staying power to turn in another miraculous weekend in its third go around. I would keep my eyes on “Searching” however. The film, which stars John Cho as a father seeking answers to his daughter’s disappearance and mostly shot through the perspective of computer and smart phone screens, has earned early positive reviews with fans loving that yet another Asian actor is being put in the spotlight. If I had to pick a film that could compete I’d say it will be “Searching” but seeing as early numbers show that film opening in only 1,100 theaters I’ll put my money on “Crazy Rich Asians” to repeat for a third week…what’s that old saying about fooling me twice? See you same time same place next week to see if I made the right call.