Despite reams of favorable press coverage, director Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman debuted in fifth place well behind the whacky prehistoric shark action flick The Meg.
Spike Lee’s latest “joint” earned a modest $10.8 million well behind the $44.5 million that the Jason Stratham-starring shark movie earned since Friday.
The Meg, shorthand for Megalodon, the name of the film’s prehistoric shark star, debuted in a strong first place, displacing Mission: Impossible – Fallout which fell to number two even as it took in another $20 million,, now in its third week, from its massive $162 million earnings.
Indeed, The Meg clocked in as Warner Bros’ best opening of the year, even topping the ultimately disappointing Ready Player One’s $41.7 million.
But these number dwarfed Spike Lee’s 1970s period piece, BlacKkKlansman. Lee’s story of a real life black detective from Colorado infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan fell into fifth place behind Disney’s Christopher Robin, and Sony thriller Slender Man.
Lee’s film was the toast of the entertainment media which floated dozens of stories in the past month — most attacking President Donald Trump — as the film prepared to open across the country.
The film also still has a little way to go to earn back its estimated $15 million in production costs.
Still, the fifth place debut back in the pack of August premiers does mark a high point for Lee. BlacKkKlansman is his best debut in over a decade. Though, his previous best, the 2006 film Inside Man, earned more than double the weekend take of BlacKkKlansman. Inside Man launched with a $28 million weekend box office take.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.