Box Office Wrap Up: The Mummy VS. The World.
Universal’s Mummy reboot drew criticism but still made big money abroad.
At first blush, it seemed that Universal’s “Dark Universe” franchise was in trouble all over again. After failing to gain any interest with Dracula Untold in 2014, Universal called a do-over. THAT wasn’t the start of the DU they told everyone. The Mummy, now THAT was the true start to the DU. Except it looked early on that The Mummy was going to flop and the Dark Universe was going to have to soft reboot again. Luckily for Universal, the foreign market was buying what they were selling, despite horrendous critical reception and really poor domestic sales. Looks like The Mummy truly can’t be killed.
Box Office History.
Going by US ticket sales, The Mummy (2017) had a rough weekend. It opened in second place and only netted about 30 million dollars against a 125 million dollar budget. Critics hated it, review aggregators hated it, and exit polls had the movie at a mediocre B minus. For perspective on how lackluster its debut was, all three Brendan Fraser Mummy movies had better opening weekends. The Scorpion King had a better opening weekend. If it weren’t for foreign ticket sales, Tom Cruise would be sitting on the worst Mummy movie earnings in a generation. At least he beat Dracula Untold…
Unfortunately for those who wanted to banish this franchise back to its tomb, overseas ticket sales rode in to the rescue and the film made 140 million dollars. It’s not surprising, as the film was created with an eye towards that market. Showy visual action sequences set all over the world and broken up by narration that could easily be overdubbed is one clue that the movie you are watching is not intended for domestic audiences.
Historically, these movies do fantastically overseas. Before studios even began calculating on how to please non-English speaking markets, the Mummy franchise was making roughly 300 million in worldwide box office cash. Even Dracula Untold made 170 million dollars in other markets.
Top Three Movies.
Wonder Woman retained the top spot this week. A gentle decline of 43% and the lack of any meaningful competition in its demographic bodes very well for Wonder Woman’s longevity. Total earnings for the film currently sits just shy of 500 million dollars.
Second place went to The Mummy. It will be interesting to see how Universal plans to proceed with their monster franchise, as this was not exactly a warm welcome. Do they accept having to write off the American market and double down on foreign sales? It would be a bitter pill, seeing as they are obviously keen to achieve the long-tern bankability that Marvel and even DC enjoys.
The third spot went to Captain Underpants. A decent second week has brought the film nearly to break-even status. Unfortunately this film’s time is pretty much up, as Cars 3 crashes into theaters this weekend, stealing away their core audience.
In Fourth place, Pirates of the Caribbean has reached the 500 million dollar mark, mostly on foreign ticket sales. Fifth place saw Gaurdians of the Galaxy 2 inch towards the 400 million mark in just domestic sales. Combined with other sales, it sits at rough 850 million dollars. Can it break the billion dollar mark?
The rest of last week’s wide releases found their way into the bottom half of the countdown. It Comes at Night opened in sixth place with 6 million dollars. A24 studios may have been just a touch too clever with their cryptic trailer. I found the mysterious elements of it intriguing, but audiences and critics have been pretty negative specifically about the disconnect between the trailer and the actual film.
Megan Leavey, the story about an injured marine who forms an emotional bond with her bomb detecting canine companion, had to settle for eighth place. With just shy of 4 million dollars, it did decently for the genre. No budget figures are available, but the consensus is that the film was not expensive.
Finally, My Cousin Rachel starring Rachel Weisz just missed the top ten. With a debut of nearly 1 million dollars in only 500 theaters, this indie film should have some room to grow. At least Rachel Weisz won’t have to go back to making terrible Mummy movies.