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Weekend Box Office: The Meg Takes a Big Bite, BlacKkKlansman, Slender Man Solid

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By Chris Kavan - 08/12/18 at 08:26 PM CT

It was a monster weekend at the box office as The Meg shattered some woeful predictions and came out well ahead of pre-weekend estimates. In fact, it was almost a slam-dunk for the new films as both Slender Man and BlacKkKlansman enjoyed decent openings. Only Dog Days rolled over and played dead - landing outside the top 12. It was also a good weekend for milestones as Ant Man and the Wasp and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again both crossed some major marks. People were wondering if The Meg could salvage August and I would say it's happening.


While having a diverse cast, The Meg is pretty much Jason Statham's show - much like San Andreas was for Dwayne Johnson. As such, the pre-weekend estimates were not looking pretty with many predicting a mere $20 million or so for the $130 million budgeted film. But audiences apparently don't give a hoot about predictions, because they showed up in droves, leading to a monster $44.5 million opening. While reviews were on the relatively mixed-negative end, audiences awarded the film a much more positive "B+" Cinemascore. Taking this into account, Statham should have no problem topping The Mechanic ($109 million) to have a new "solo" best score. Yes, franchises like The Expendables and the Furious series have made more, but ensemble casts in established franchises will do that. Statham has always been an action star - but this time he may have found the right fit between badass and crowd-pleasing disaster (or in this case monster) film. If the film can hold up as well as the aforementioned San Andreas, it will be flirting with $125 million by the time it's done. Even if it falls off quickly, $100 million plus is pretty much guaranteed. The film was always going to do better overseas and with a fantastic $50.3 million launch in China, it's living up to expectations. The Meg added $97 million overseas for $141.5 million worldwide, already topping its $130 million budget. It's all gravy from here but The Meg is going to make money in the long run, even with all the marketing and such taken into account.


With The Meg coming out strong, Tom Cruise had to settle for second place but the $20 million performance for Fallout in its third weekend has lifted the film to a $162 million total. Yes, the 43% drop was a bit higher than the 39% third-weekend hold for Rogue Nation, but its $275 million overseas performance is running a smooth 19% ahead of Rogue Nation as well. For Cruise, it's looking like Fallout should be able to top $220 million to become his second-best domestic earner behind War of the Worlds ($235 million). In worldwide showing, the film already has a $437.5 million total and should have no problem topping Ready Player One ($598 million) to become the second biggest non-superhero film of the year behind Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ($1.27 billion). It also looks like it will be able to catch Ghost Protocol ($694 million) to become the highest-grossing film for Cruise on the worldwide stage. Whatever the case, Fallout, along with The Meg, looks to close out August on a high note.


After a somewhat ambivalent opening, Disney's Christopher Robin took a 47% drop in its second week for a $12.43 million weekend and new $50 million total. It hit that milestone with relative ease, and it looks like it should be able to hit at least the $75 million mark before its done. That second week drop was just ahead of the 49% drop for Pete's Dragon, a film it seems to be following quite closely. It's not showing much in the way of longevity, but if it can get a halfway decent overseas total (just $12.1 million thus far) it should ultimately wind up in the black. I wouldn't say this is the rare Disney misstep, but Christopher Robin is going to be on the low end for their live-action offerings compared to the robust showings from the likes of Jungle Book and Maleficent.


Another film that joined The Meg in over-performing for the weekend was the horror film Slender Man. Given its dreadful 15% Rotten Tomatoes score and the drama surrounding the film, I say a $11.32 million opening is an excellent result, especially as the budget for this was a relatively light $10 million. Even if audiences turned out in bigger numbers, most weren't impressed as the public agreed with critics, awarding the film a "D-" Cinemascore - meaning this, like most horror films, will likely drop off the face of the Earth in its second weekend. Still, Slender Man, with a decent cast featuring the likes of Joey King, Annalise Basso,Javier Botet, Julia Goldani Telles and Jaz Sinclair deserves some recognition. Me? This is exactly the kind of film I'll stream at home when I need my horror fix. I expect a $25 million or so total. For a film with such a troubled history, I call that a win.


Spike Lee's latest joint rode a wave a positive reviews and buzz to a very nice $10.78 million debut. This is the first Spike Lee film to open in 500 or more theaters since Old Boy back in 2013. And for Lee himself, it is the first personal project to do so since way back in 2008 with Miracle at St. Anna's. That it did so well from only 15012 theaters (compared to 4118 for The Meg or even 2358 for Slender Man) means it really did resonate well with audiences. Speaking of which, the film earned a solid "A-" Cinemascore, meaning it should have word-of-mouth to keep it going strong. It is also the best opening for Lee since Inside Man way back in 2006 ($28 million) and it will have no problem topping its $15 million budget. With plenty of social media reactions and the positive buzz, BlacKkKlansman should have a pretty good run ahead of it.

Outside the top five: As I said, some big milestones to talk about. Up first, Ant-Man and the Wasp, which just managed to keep a spot in the top 10 with a $4.04 million weekend. The big news is that $4 million helped the film top the $200 million mark with a new $203.5 million total. It will soon top Thor: The Dark World ($206.36 million) to move up to 15th among the MCU films. On the low end, sure, but still a good showing.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again added $5.82 million (7th place) giving it a new total of $103.8 million, hitting that $100 million milestone in the process. Not to be outdone, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies crossed the $25 million mark - the only milestone it's going to hit.

Next weekend Crazy Rich Asians is a wildcard that could upend the box office, while we will also be gifted with the action-heavy Mile 22 and an ice age survival film Alpha.


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