This weekend’s box office was an all-around disappointment for several Hollywood studios as two sequels, and a “woke” comedy all found lower than expected debuts with Men in Black: International, Shaft, and Late Night coming nowhere near expected ticket sales.
While Men in Black finished the weekend in the number one slot, with a meager $28.5 million in ticket sales, it still earned only about half what its predecessors earned upon their respective debuts. The three previous MIB outings all earned over $51 million on their first weekends in theaters, Variety reported.
Sony had expected at least a $30 million debut but fell well short of that. Overseas revenue rang in at $73.7 million in 36 markets but the nwest entry in the series is underperforming previous installments overseas, as well. The film will likely earn back its $110 production costs, but as a summer tentpole film, it is a crashing failure.
MIB, though, at least figured into the top five. The other big summer sequel released this weekend didn’t even land in the top five films as Warner Bros. Shaft barely scared up $8.3 million in sales despite studio expectations of a $15 million opening, Box Office Mojo reported.
Further, despite glowing reviews and loving woke comments, Amazon Studio’s Mindy Kaling-fronted comedy Late Night was also a major disappointment. Despite a soft opening last weekend in the hopes of generating positive word of mouth, Late Night only earned about $5.1 million for its wide release this weekend. For a film that Amazon spent $13 million to acquire, Late Night will be burning the midnight oil to try and earn back that investment.
Meanwhile, the rest of the top five are holdovers from previous weeks.
Finishing second is Universal and Illumination’s The Secret Life of Pets 2, which dipped nearly 50 percent in ticket sales but brought in another $23.8 million to make a total earning of more than $92 million in domestic sales. The animated flick also earned an additional $8.5 million overseas for an international take of $155 million.
Third place was claimed by Disney’s Aladdin. The Will Smith musical earned $16.7 million for its fourth weekend bringing its total just short of $264 million. Overseas the film has made $461 million to date.
Coming in fourth, Disney’s latest X-Men installment, Dark Phoenix, earned another $9 million adding to a very disappointing $51 million in total domestic sales for its second weekend. But, even more disastrously, the superhero flick dipped a whopping 72.6 percent in audience participation over its debut weekend.
Rounding out the top five is Paramount’s Elton John biopic, Rocketman. The film dipped another 36 percent in audiences for this, its third weekend in theaters, and earned another $8.8 million for a domestic amount of $66 million.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.