Box Office Wrap Up: Rampage Holds Off Quiet Place.
The Rock rampaged into first place but a strong second weekend for A Quiet Place made it a close race.
Rampage just managed to outpace John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place for the top spot this weekend. Dwayne Johnson’s monster mash flick was a little sluggish out of the gate at home with just 35 million in sales, but did brisk business abroad. While this was in line with studio estimates, it’s a far sight from the last time director Brad Peyton teamed up with The Rock in San Andreas, which grossed nearly 60 million dollars in its debut. This “new normal” for big action films has become harder to parse, as we’ll investigate below.
Flopbusters: The New Normal in Action?
A while back we explored Hollywood’s growing reliance on foreign ticket sales. The model for movies like Warcraft, The Mummy and The Great Wall was a negligible US box office take and a gigantic foreign take, primarily in China. To offset the less advantageous profit split in overseas markets, the film ideally would post double or triple its budget abroad. It looks as if now that paradigm is shifting, whether because there is more competition abroad or because foreign audiences are becoming more savvy – most likely a combination of both.
This new normal is for sub-blockbusters that make between 50 and 75% of their budgets at home before relying on a more modest foreign take to post a profit. Recent examples include Tomb Raider, Pacific Rim Uprising and Blade Runner 2049. These films had domestic takes that would make them moderate flops coupled with foreign takes that were strong but not run-away smash hits. Time will tell if this strategy is sustainable: on the positive side studios have a safety net for unproven IPs, on the negative side viewer fatigue is always a possibility. Since The Rock tends to see his movies fall into this category, I would expect his upcoming action film Skyscraper to repeat this formula exactly.
This Week in Box Office History.
The domestic box office was down slightly this week, 13% compared to last week and 15% compared to last year. Passing the halfway mark for April, we’re cautiously on pace to pass 2017’s total of 812 million in total movie sales. Figuring in a 200 million dollar opening for Avengers Infinity War, we should just eek past that mark as long as this week’s new releases (Super Troopers 2, Traffik, I Feel Pretty) don’t lay an egg.
Top Movie Last Year: Fate of the Furious.
Top Three Films.
Rampage was the number one film by a hair this week. The film opened to 34.5 million dollars in sales, which is down from San Andreas…but up from Hercules. One might not like The Rock’s chances for long term earnings with Avengers around the corner, but the film did score well in audience polls and Jumanji has demonstrated that its hard to evict The Rock from theaters.
A Quiet Place had another phenomenal weekend, just missing the top spot and landing in second. The horror/thriller added 32 million dollars to its domestic run and now sits just a whisper under 100 million dollars. Adding to the good news, the film has taken off abroad, picking up another 50 million in foreign swag.
In a bit of a surprise, Truth or Dare managed to scare its way into third place with 19 million dollars. This Blumhouse groaner has been laughed out of the theater by critics, but that didn’t seem to phase fans.
The other wide release film, Beirut, fell off the charts, winding up in 13th place with just 1.6 million dollars in earnings. That is well short of similar films such as Argo, Syriana, and last month’s 7 Days in Entebbe.