Top Gun: Maverick, Morbius and More in This Week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin

By Chris Kavan - 07/28/21 at 12:51 PM CT

Sorry about last week's missing entry, but I was on vacation but I have returned for more box office and ratings news. That means I get to entirely skip Black Widow's second-week meltdown and focus on Space Jam: A New Legacy's second-week meltdown instead. On the ratings front, you didn't miss too much - but I will focus on the one big film, along with a couple more new entries.

On the box office front there was a bit of drama as M. Night Shyamalan's latest film, Old topped the film most predicted would wind up on top, Snake Eyes. Space Jam had a nearly 70% drop and landed all the way in fourth place while both Black Widow and F9 hit major milestones.

Old topped the box office with a $16.85 million opening. And while that was Shyamalan's lowest opening (coming in under the $18 million of Lady in the Water), considering its relatively modest $18 million budget, the film should have no problem turning a profit. The film received a middling response from both audiences (C+ Cinemascore) and critics (55% on Rotten Tomatoes) but I found it much better than the likes of The Happening or Lady in the Water and miles ahead of his big-budget misfires After Earth and Last Airbender. Plus, it didn't have the world's most recognizable cast with Gael García Bernal, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie, Vicky Krieps, Ken Leung and Abbey Lee leading the charge. Old was the first non-sequel to top the box office since Wrath of Man back in May. It also earned $6.5 million on the international front.

Falling to second place was the reboot/relaunch of the G.I. Joe series in Snake Eyes with a $13.37 million opening - well below the likes of .I. Joe: Retaliation ($40.5 million) and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra ($54.7 million). While no one was expecting Snake Eyes to top those numbers, given its more modest budget and also less-known stars, that opening still must be seen as worrying for a studio wanting to re-launch a major property. Henry Golding plays the titular character with Úrsula Corberó playing Cobra's Baroness and Samara Weaving as the Joe's Scarlett. Andrew Koji, Haruka Abe, Takehiro Hira, Iko Uwais and Peter Mensah help round out the cast. The film scored so-so with audiences with a "B-" Cinemascore and less so with critics at only 42% on Rotten Tomatoes. Much like Black Widow, Snake Eyes has yet to launch in the lucrative China market and thus far only has $4 million on the international market.

Landing in third place, Black Widow still took a 55% hit, bringing in $11.6 million and raising its domestic total to $154.8 million, hitting the $150 million mark in record (pandemic era) time. It also topped $315 million worldwide. Yet most of the conversation around Black Widow is how its second-week collapse was due to its availability on Disney+ as well as the rampant piracy associated with that release. Yet for all the hand-wringing and harrumphing by theater chains, Black Widow is far and away from a failure. And it was been reported Warner Bros. is already planning to release films in theaters and on HBO Max into next year. Streaming isn't going away and theaters are just going to have to learn to deal with it.

Falling to fourth place after its first-place opening last weekend, Space Jam: A New Legacy took a 69.1% tumble for a $9.58 million weekend and a new $51.3 million total. That puts it ahead of the original Space Jam through the same point ($48 million in its second weekend) though that looks likely to change soon enough.

Rounding out the top five, F9 brought in $4.8 million (down just over 37%) for a new $163.5 million domestic total and a global total that now tops $600 million - becoming the first non-Chinese film to hit that mark since 2019.

Next week brings us Disney's Jungle Cruise and A24's Green Knight. We'll see if these films can meet expectations.

Onto the MPAA Ratings Bulletin - last week didn't feature a huge number of films, however, I will be covering one in depth as it just happens to be the next, big MCU film. This week brings us two more, including another anti-hero and a long-awaited sequel that has me feeling the need.... the need for speed.

MPAA Official Logo

The big film last week that I missed was Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings starring Simu Liu as the MCU's first Asian lead - a young man looking to leave his past behind after being trained as a stone-cold warrior by his father, Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) while learning compassion (that ultimately wins out) from his mother, Ying Nan (Michelle Yeoh). Despite trying to leave this life behind and starting a new life with new people, including Katy (Awkwafina) his past isn't ready to leave him behind and soon comes calling in the form of his estranged father - and a bunch of people to fight. Of course, the film centers around the mythical Ten Rings - which his family wields with immense power and destruction, but which Shang-Chi can change, if he can survive. The film also brings back Abomination (Tim Roth) last seen in The Incredible Hulk back in 2008 - one of the MCU films that flies under the radar for sure. Benedict Wong also back as Wong with Florian Munteanu, Fala Chen, Ronny Chieng, Dallas Liu and Meng'er Zhang also on board. While butt-hurt people may decry how diversity is somehow ruining the MCU - hell, I'm on board because the fight scenes look amazing and even with the elemental stuff thrown in, it looks to be pretty intense. Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, action and language.

Staying on the hero bandwagon, or in this case anti-hero, we get another not-quite-good-guy in Morbius, in which Jared Leto trades in the Joker for a vampire as Dr. Michael Morbius - a man suffering from a rare blood disorder who learns the potential cure may be much worse than the disease. But, of course, there wouldn't be much of a film if he didn't take that risk, thus we get... vampire doctor guy! Also, everyone is creaming their pants that Michael Keaton is in this - possibly as Vulture - and as a connection to the greater MCU. The film also stars Matt Smith, Jared Harris, Adria Arjona, Tyrese Gibson and Al Madrigal. This film is being spun as more of a Venom-like tale and while this one is not rated R - a supposed sequel just might. Also, don't be surprised if this bleeds into the Blade reboot as well (after all -vampires). Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, some frightening images and brief strong language.

Lastly we find ourselves with a sequel that has been long in the making and should make action fans very happy with Top Gun: Maverick. That's right, Tom Cruise is back as our flying ace and he's joined by original cast member Val Kilmer as Iceman with plenty of new faces including Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, Jean Louisa Kelly, Manny Jacinto, Glen Powell and Monica Barbaro. The film follows Cruise after his 30+ career where he has dodged all attempts at promotion in order to stay in the cockpit and train a new generation of pilots. I mean it sound somewhat generic, but I'm sure there is plenty of action in there and, of course, some sick flying skills shown off. Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action, and some strong language.

Those are the big films that needed to be covered, but you can check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:


Rated PG-13 for violence, language and suggestive references.


Rated R for bloody violence.


Rated PG for thematic content, and brief smoking.


Rated R for some sexual content and language.


Rated PG-13 for nude art images.


Rated PG-13 for thematic content and brief strong language.


Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, some frightening images and brief strong language.


Rated G


Rated PG-13 for language throughout, some sexual references, drug references and thematic elements.


Rated R for violence and language.


Rated R for language throughout.


Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action, and some strong language.


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