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Memorial Day Weekend Box Office: X-Men: Apocalypse Leads a Muted Holiday Weekend

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By Chris Kavan - 05/29/16 at 08:40 PM CT

Two big-name sequels took center stage over the holiday frame, and both came in under expectations. Even with the deflated openings, the holiday is looking to do better than last year when Memorial Day was a week earlier. Those hoping Disney would continue to make huge waves had to be the most disappointed as Alice: Through the Looking Glass was the biggest loser. Don't worry, Civil War and The Jungle Book continue to keep things rosy for the studio, which, by the way, just crossed $4 billion.


The third entry in Bryan Singer's rebooted X-Men franchise that started off with 2011's X-Men: First Class opened with a $65 million three-day weekend and probably $80 million Memorial Day opening. If the numbers hold, that would put the film at a full $30 million less than the four-day total for X-Men: Days of Future Past and only ranked 6th out of 9th for the X-Men franchise as a whole. Still, this was within studio estimates but the result still has to be seen as somewhat of a letdown. Memorial Day films also tend to fade a bit more quickly, which, with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Warcraft close by, is another bit of bad news as the $178 million picture is likely only to make it to the $150-$170 million range. Luckily, it is still doing quite well internationally with $185 million so far and will hit $265 million worldwide total by Monday. One has to think this franchise is nearing the end of its current run - which, while good, is getting a bit long in the tooth. We'll see how Deadpool and Wolverine do on their own before seeing where this series leads to next.


The news was much more dire for the live-action sequel to the pretty impressive 2010 Alice in Wonderland. Through the Looking Glass could only scrounge up $28.1 million for the weekend for a likely $35.5 million holiday frame. In comparison, the original opened with $40.8 million on its first day alone. I honestly think the first film was a fluke - it came in when 3D was all the rage, Johnny Depp's schtick was still popular and Tim Burton was still a draw. Depp is now going through a messy divorce and coming off several high-profile misfires at the box office while James Bobin took over directing duties from Burton. All told, I was expecting this to not do as well, but even this was a surprising low. It will need a lot of international help to justify its $170 million price tag as, at least domestically, the film is going to fall short of the original film's $116 million opening weekend in its entire run. While it's not quite as big a disaster as the recent live-action Pan, it's not doing much better. It might get to $100 million domestically, but that's about the best it can hope for.


With an $18.7 million weekend and a likely $24 million Memorial Day total, Angry Birds should nearly hit its $73 million budget when Monday closes out. With family audiences choosing animation over live action, Angry Birds dipped about 51% in its second weekend. By Monday it will hit $220 million worldwide - enough to move it up to fifth place in terms of video game adaptations while on the domestic front it should be in fourth place. As long as it can hold off some Ninja Turtles, it is still looking pretty clear this will become the highest-grossing video game movie of all time. I'm still holding out hope Warcraft will be able to top it, but early reviews aren't being that kind to the CGI spectacle, so I'm not exactly holding my breath, either.


Dropping two spots right along with Angry Birds, Captain America: Civil War continues to make the most impressive strides, dropping just over 54% in face of direct competition from the X-Men. It earned $15.1 million over the weekend with a likely $19.5 million with Memorial Day factored in. Should that happen, the film will cross the $375 million mark sometime Monday. It also passed Deadpool ($362 million) to become the biggest domestic release of 2016. It should have no problem hitting the $400 million mark within the next two weeks and will likely remain the highest-grossing film of the year unless Pixar absolutely kills it with Finding Dory or Rogue One finds the same love The Force Awakens did at the end of the year. Worldwide it sits at $1.107 billion - good enough for 15th place on the all-time charts.


Retaining its spot right behind Civil War, the comedic sequel dipped over 58% in its second weekend for a $9.1 million total and should take in about $11 million for the holiday. That's a pretty big hit for the comedy and its domestic total of $40 million is barely above the foreign total of $36 million. Those aren't exactly the numbers a studio wants to see, even if the film's budget was relatively low. It's too bad, as I still think this sequel looks better than 80% of the comedies out there. Anyway, I have a feeling this one is going to quickly stall out and a total of $60 million is the best-case scenario at this point.

Outside the top five: Zootopia opened in Japan where it earned $50 million, bringing its global total to $991 million. That is the second-best total for an original film behind Avatar, and it should be able to cross the $1 billion mark within the next week or so.

Next week the biggest release looks the be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and we're also getting the comedy Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and the drama Me Before You.


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