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“Pets 2” and “Dark Phoenix” Fall Short in Soft Box Office Weekend

It’s been a pretty active few weeks for the box office with four different films, “Avengers: Endgame”, “John Wick: Chapter 3”, “Aladdin” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” creating the longest string of different box office chart toppers in nearly a year. But not since July of 2018 has five different films hit number one before a repeat winner. Back then “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” started the lineup winning for two weeks straight before several one-off chart toppers were released before “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” became the next repeat winner. This past weekend offered an opportunity to match 2018’s longest stretch of consecutive different number one releases with two new big offerings on the table seeking to displace holdovers and earn their own rights to the box office crown. The battle came down to a pair of sequels, “The Secret Life of Pets 2” and the latest “X-Men” film “Dark Phoenix”. Did either film have the muscle to earn the thrown? Let’s take a look in this week’s Box Office Breakdown!

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For the first time in a while I was unable to see the eventually box office winner over the weekend as “The Secret Life of Pets 2” earned the top spot making it the fifth different number one film in a row in a crowded 2019 summer at the box office. Despite earning a win, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the animated sequel from Illumination. “The Secret Life of Pets 2” under-performed in its first weekend earning $47.1 million from 4,561 theaters, the second largest domestic theater distribution in film history behind only “Avengers: Endgame”. The debut failed to hit the $50 million mark expected by the studio but what’s even more glaring is how far behind the first film this sequel landed. The original movie remains a record-holding film earning $104 million in its 2016 opening weekend, the largest debut ever at the domestic box office for an original animated feature. The sequel made less than half of that total although it should be noted that the studio didn’t exactly expect it to make major waves. Internationally the film has earned $49 million to date. It will be interesting to see the holdover potential for this movie seeing as Pixar will offer heavy competition very soon in the form of “Toy Story 3”. I plan to have a review of “The Secret life of pets 2’ this week.

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In second is the film I did see this weekend, “Dark Phoenix”, which is slated to be the final “X-Men” core series movie before Disney and Marvel’s inevitable reboot of the franchise following their acquisition of Fox. “Dark Phoenix” is the second attempt to adapt the titular comic book story to the big screen after “X-Men: The Last Stand” but it appears fans weren’t exactly thrilled to see the story done a second time especially after “Dark Phoenix” became the worst reviewed film in the franchise on Rotten Tomatoes. I heavily disagree with this rating and think it’s disgusting that anyone would put it below “Apocalypse” or “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” but I digress. If you really want to know my opinion of the film you can read my review here. Regardless of my thoughts it appears fans weren’t too keen on the final product as “Dark Phoenix” became the first “X-Men” movie to fail to top the box office and the first not to earn more than $50 million in its domestic debut. “Dark Phoenix” did however pull off a rare feat by topping the international box office with $107 million. While it does happen, it’s uncommon that a big budget Hollywood film will win internationally but not domestically. “Dark Phoenix” will need that love from the global market if it wants to make bank as Fox and Disney could suffer as much as $100 million loss from this production at its current pace.

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Looking at the rest of the top ten they were all holdovers from previous weeks. “Aladdin” shows surprising staying power holding on to the third spot with $24.5 million in its third weekend. Last week’s champion, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”, suffered a hard fall to fourth while the Elton John biopic “Rocketman” rounded out the top five. I posted a review of that film last week which you can read here at your leisure. “Ma” fell out of the top five and landed in sixth. “John Wick: Chapter 3”, “Avengers: Endgame”, “Pokemon Detective Pikachu” and “Booksmart” rounded out the top ten. “Endgame’s” attempt to become the biggest movie release of all time is slowing but even well over a month after its release Marvel’s magnum opus is till raking in the cash and now sits roughly $40 million shy of the worldwide box office record. Specialty viewing turned out to be a big part of the weekend and offered sneak peaks at what’s to come. The Amazon comedy “Late Night” debuted at number sixteen after releasing in four theaters prior to this coming weekend’s wide release expansion while A24’s “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” earned an eighteenth place finish in only seven theaters with a limited release on the way.

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You have to go back to the fall of 2017 to find the last time six different films occupied the number one spot in consecutive weeks. We could see it happen in 2019 with a very crowded weekend on the way. In Addition to the expansion of “Late Night” into wide release, “Men in Black: International” will continue Sony’s science fiction series as a soft reboot of the franchise with “Thor” actors Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson reuniting to lead the film. Another sequel, “Shaft”, the third film named “Shaft” and the third movie in the franchise, will also debut to contend for the top spot. We’ll see if any of these movies can continue the trend of different chart toppers or if a holdover will finally find enough strength to be the first repeat winner since “Endgame”.

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