The Avengers showed signs of weakness last week when “Pokemon Detective Pikachu” threatened to topple them in the third week of “Endgame’s” reign at the top. So, going into the film’s fourth weekend all eyes were on Lionsgate’s own much anticipated franchise continuation, “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”. The action sequel sought to put and end to “Endgame’s” domination and continue the action franchise’s success both critically and financially, but Marvel’s magnum opus continued to build on its numbers in a charge to become the highest earning film of all time (before inflation of course). Was Mr. Wick able to take down the Avengers? Let’s take a look in this week’s Box Office Breakdown.
It indeed was the end of the road for “Avengers: Endgame” in the top spot, for now at least, as “John Wick: Chapter 3” earned an impressive $57 million opening, nearly doubling the opening weekend take of its predecessor “John Wick: Chapter 2” which itself more than doubled the opening numbers from the original film. To give perspective on how much this franchise has grown, “Chapter 3” has already overshot the $43 million that the first movie made in its entire domestic run. It’s also the first time a “John Wick” film has debuted in the top spot at the box office and the second highest opening weekend gross for star Keanu Reeves behind only “The Matrix Reloaded” which earned $91.7 million back in 2003. It served as a high point for Lionsgate which has seen only “John Wick: Chapter 2” and now “Chapter 3” earn more than $30 million in their opening weekends domestically since 2016. Internationally “Chapter 3” earned an additional $35 million to add to its domestic take to conclude a monster weekend all around for an action franchise with small beginnings. You can read my review of “John Wick: Chapter 3” by clicking here.
After three weeks at the top “Avengers: Endgame” finally fell to second earning just under $30 million in its fourth weekend. “Endgame” fell off a bit more than expected but still managed to make waves on the international market pulling within $173 million of overtaking 2009’s “Avatar” for the title of highest grossing film of all time on the global market. Domestically however it succeeded in passing James Cameron’s divisive box office smash with a total domestic gross of $770.8 million overpowering “Avatar’s” lifetime gross of $760 million in the United States. Realistically it looks like this is where “Endgame” will settle in the history books. To become the biggest film in U.S. history it would need to surpass “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” which grossed an astounding $937 million during its lifetime. Even if “Endgame” settles for second all-time it will be a strong second as it continues to dominate the 2019 box office. Finishing third was “Pokemon Detective Pikachu” which follow up its debut with a strong holdover performance of $24 million domestically completing a trio of popular franchise films that dominated the weekend
For comparison the rest of the top ten only grossed roughly $29 million combined. “Detective Pikachu” clearly stole whatever crowd wasn’t on the “Avengers” and “John Wick” train. The remaining lineup starts with newcomer “A Dog’s Journey”, the sequel to the 2017 film “A Dog’s Purpose” which itself was plagued by controversy over a video reportedly showcasing animal abuse on set. It’s the third cinematic adaptation of the works of W. Bruce Cameron, alongside its predecessor and “A Dog’s Way Home” which was released earlier this year. While “A Dog’s Purpose” earned over $18 million in its opening and “A Dog’s Way Home” earned just over $11 million, “A Dog’s Journey” floundered with an $8 million debut. Things only went downhill from there with “The Hustle” rounding out the top five followed by “The Intruder” and “The Long Shot”. I posted reviews of both “The Hustle” and “The Long Shot” last week if you want to check them out. In eighth was the final new entry in the top ten, Warner Bros.’s “The Sun is Also a Star”. This YA adaptation was dead on arrival bombing with a horrid $2.6 million opening weekend take, among the lowest in recent memory for the studio for a movie playing in over 2,000 theaters. Don’t expect the film to last long as middling reviews aren’t helping its case. Holdovers “Poms” and “Uglydolls” rounded out the top ten while “Tolkien”, “Breakthrough” and “The Curse of La Llorona” dropped out.
Don’t expect “John Wick” to survive a second week at the top on Memorial Day weekend. The holiday is bringing with it three new films that could shake up the top ten. Leading the way is the likely number one movie, Disney’s live action retelling of “Aladdin”, but two other movies will add some genre spice to the weekend with the original superhero horror film “Brightburn” and the critically lauded female-driven comedy “Booksmart” hoping to grab some attention as well. We will see how things shake out next week when Box Office Breakdown posts on Tuesday, May 28 to accommodate the Monday holiday numbers.