Marvel’s web-crawler predictably holds the box office, while The Farewell puts up a respectable showing for an A24 dramedy.
Like all but four* of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, Spider-Man: Far from Home managed to top the domestic box office for the second weekend in a row. Taking in another $45 million, the feature dropped 51% from opening weekend, a slightly better than usual second-weekend hold for an MCU title. That’s not a surprise since, unlike any prior entry in this franchise, Far From Home didn’t debut on Friday, thus its opening weekend didn’t get boosted from Thursday night showings. With $274.5 million after 13 days of release, Far From Home’s eventual domestic total will be pretty much entirely determined by how well it holds in the face of The Lion King next weekend.
Toy Story 4 grossed another $20.6 million this frame, a 39% dip from last weekend. With $346.3 million domestically after 24 days of release, Pixar’s latest has become the tenth biggest computer-animated movie in history and considering it’s still running ahead of Toy Story 3 at the same point, should be able to eventually cross $400 million domestically. It would be only the seventh animated movie in history to cross $400 million domestically.
For the fourth consecutive weekend, a new horror movie debuted in the domestic box office marketplace, and this time around, it was Crawl, which debuted to a $12 million opening weekend, 20% ahead of the opening weekend of Alexandre Aja’s last wide release title Piranha 3D and 8% ahead of the opening weekend of 47 Meters Down. Crawl wasn’t a major sleeper hit for Paramount Pictures but it held solidly on a day-to-day basis through the weekend and its tiny $13.5 million budget means it never had to phenomenal business to be profitable.
Fellow new wide release Stuber, meanwhile, opened to a disappointing $8 million. Disney’s first R-rated release since The Fifth Estate in October 2013 (Stuber was released through their 20th Century Fox division) managed to continue the cold streak comedies have been on at the domestic box office this summer and was especially weak when looking at opening weekends for Action Buddy Comedies, coming in $100,000 behind the bow of Red Heat from 1988 and only managing to open 4% better than CHiPS. Despite rampant promotional efforts that included screening the film far and wide, Stuber was a ride most audiences opted not to take, mostly because the marketing failed to really make it stand out from past similar action buddy comedies.
Rounding out the top five, Yesterday fell only 33% to gross another $6.7 million for a $48.3 million domestic gross while Aladdin had its fifth consecutive weekend-to-weekend drop under 30%. This time around, it fell just 22%, giving it an eighth weekend gross of $5.8 million and a $331.4 million domestic total. The arrival of Crawl didn’t seem to faze Annabelle Comes Home all that much as it dropped only 41% this weekend and grossed another $5.5 million and a domestic total of $60.7 million.
One funny thing about Ari Aster horror movies is how they’re such dark creations that should be totally uncommercial, yet both Hereditary and now Midsommar had better than usual weekend-to-weekend holds for horror fare. Midsommar fell only 46% from opening weekend and grossed another $3.5 million for a domestic total of $18.4 million. I’m sure A24 would have loved to see this one gross closer to Hereditary, but it’s hard to imagine anyone having a problem with this one likely eventually grossing just under or over $25 million. The Secret Life of Pets 2 dipped another 33% this weekend to add $3.1 million to a domestic total that now stands at $147.1 million.
Rounding out the top ten was Men in Black: International, which fell 41% for a fifth-weekend gross of $2.2 million and a domestic haul of $76.4 million. Fellow holdover Rocketman dropped 35% this frame to add another $1.7 million to its domestic haul of $91.9 million. Avengers: Endgame kept on chugging as well with a $1.6 million twelfth-weekend gross (a 45% drop from last weekend) for a domestic haul of $851.2 million. Super 30 opened to $923,912 from 317 locations for a per-theater average of $2,915.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco dipped just 16% this weekend as it grossed $361,613 from 207 locations for a per-theater average and a domestic gross of $3.3 million. Speaking of A24 titles, The Farewell scored the biggest opening weekend per-theater average of 2019. With $87,833 generated at each of its four locations, it managed to gross $351,330 over the weekend, the third-best opening weekend ever for an A24 title opening in less than 10 locations. If A24 handles this one’s theatrical expansion properly, we could have our arthouse crossover hit of Summer 2019 on our hands.
For some reason, Unplanned showed up again on the domestic box office charts this weekend as it grossed $345,000 from 49 locations for a per-theater average of $7,041, bringing its domestic total to $18.4 million. Wild Rose expanded into 161 locations this frame and grossed $294,000 for a per-theater average of $1,826 and a domestic gross of $751,911. Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable bowed in 205 locations and grossed $250,000 for a per-theater average of $1,220. Maiden brought its theater count up to 68 locations and grossed $224,328 for a per-theater average of $3,299 and a domestic haul of $484,214.
I Got The Hook Up 2 took in $143,000 on opening weekend from 37 locations for a per-theater average of $3,865. Fellow limited release newcomer The Art of Self-Defense grossed $121,000 from 7 locations for a per-theater average of $17,286. That’s not a massive limited release bow, but it’s actually the fourth-biggest opening ever for a movie opening in under 10 locations from its distributor, Bleecker Street. It’s also a bigger start than two (Eye in the Sky and The Lost City of Z) of the biggest limited release titles from that studio, so there’s a good chance this one ends up being a success in the long run. Finally, Sword of Trust bowed in 2 locations and grossed $22,512 for a per-theater average of $11,256.
The top twelve movies this weekend grossed $116.4 million, a way smaller than usual haul for the second weekend of July. It’s the weakest gross for this weekend in the 2010s and the only year in the 21st-century that had a worse 28th-weekend gross was the July 13-15, 2001 frame when Legally Blonde topped the box office. In years past, box office hits like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Secret Life of Pets and the first Despicable Me movie bowed in this frame, whereas the combined opening weekends of this years two new wide releases in this frame could barely clear $20 million.
A weekend in between a new Spider-Man movie and that Lion King remake meant Hollywood avoided dropping any new titles of note in this frame (Illumination, which has frequently dropped new titles in this space, shifted their Summer 2019 tentpole to early June), resulting in the lack of box office hits during a usually lucrative summertime corridor. Almost halfway through July 2019, this month has now grossed about $570 million domestically. Compared to past Julys at the same point, July 2019 is running behind eight prior July’s, including the last three July’s.
The Lion King will certainly help boost the box office prospects of July 2019, but the marketplace cannot just be reliant on whatever new Disney tentpole comes around the corner. They’ve got to be willing to drop exciting new titles in any weekend, even the ones in between Marvel and live-action Disney remakes, otherwise you end up with domestic box office weekends that lag far behind the same weekends in years past.
*The only four MCU movies not to top the box office for two consecutive weekends are The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: The First Avenger, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Ant-Man and the Wasp.