Oh look, there’s Marvel topping the box office yet again. How do those scrappy underdogs do it? In all seriousness, even though we knew the latest Marvel film would do well, there was still some doubt that the next Ant-Man movie would carry over so much enthusiasm. After all, he’s not exactly an A-Squad hero and how do you go back to silly fun after Infinity War? Well, pretty easily, it turns out. Ant-Man and the Wasp hit the top spot with a $76m opening weekend. That’s about $20m more than the previous film, helping to buck a trend that seemed to be forming of major Summer sequels not doing as well as their predecessors on opening weekend (see Deadpool2 2 and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom). I’ve seen that gross described as modest, which makes sense given that its franchise siblings frequently pull in $100m opening weekends, but it doesn’t seem entirely accurate. This was always going to be a smaller film given its standing in the shadow of Thanos. Besides, it doesn’t open in over half the international territories until the World Cup ends.
Interestingly, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom fell from 1st to 3rd place, being overtaken in the weekend grosses by Incredibles 2. Pixar’s latest has been out for a month longer but has stronger reviews and a solid $160m or so extra in the bank domestically. It probably won’t make the gargantuan profits its dino competition will on the international market, but don’t underestimate the power of a true family friendly movie on those long hot Summers when you just need some air conditioning to keep your kids calm for the love of all that is holy!
Coming in at number 4 is The First Purge. We’re almost on a loop these days talking about Blumhouse’s success, but it’s this odd high-concept franchise that remains at the heart of what the distributor is all about. With a $17.1m three-day weekend on a budget of $13m, its work is already done, even if it’s expected to gross less than its predecessors.
Continuing 2018’s great season for documentaries at the box office, Whitney opened in 452 theatres and made around $1.25m. Reviews have been strong and there’s real hunger for documentaries on beloved icons of the past fifty years. The titan in the field right now remains Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, which added another $2.5m to its gross, bringing its domestic numbers to around $12.3m.
The big indie player of the weeek is Annapurna’s latest release, Sorry To Bother You. The directorial debut of Boots Riley opened in 16 theatres with an astounding $717k opening weekend gross. That’s around $44k per theatre! It’s a great sign for Annapurna too, who are moving further into distribution as well as producing. Last year, they were accused of bumbling the releases of Detroit and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women - spoiler alert: They totally did - but they seem on safer ground now. That bodes well for a busy Oscar season slate that includes the Dick Cheney film and Barry Jenkins’s follow-up to Moonlight. Oh yeah, and they’re also going to be the US distributor of the next Bond film. No biggie.
The coming week sees the wider release of Sorry To Bother You as well as the latest Hotel Transylvania movie and Dwayne Johnson’s new world saving antics in Skyscraper.
You can check out the rest of the weekend box office here.
What films did you watch this weekend? Let us know in the comments.