Despite a fresh injection of four major films on the market, including an adaptation of Stephen King, a WWII epic, a brilliant romantic holiday-themed comedy, and a family comedy, audiences have largely stayed away from theaters to this end. Weekend and the US box office is hurting.
Falling almost 27% over last year, the slow weekend allowed some big surprises. The biggest surprise was the fact that Roland Emmerich's film, "Midway," which performed slightly better, took first place in Warner Bros. & # 39; "Doctor Sleep", a movie that came well below expectations and left many in the business scratching their heads about why.
On Sunday, Lionsgate estimated that "Midway" grossed $ 17.5 million on 3,242 screens. The studio acquired the movie about the Battle of Midway, which features a large cast, including Nick Jonas and Patrick Wilson.
"As expected, everyone is ecstatic," said David Spitz, president of Lionsgate home distribution.
"Midway" cost $ 100 million to produce and the studio is projecting that the movie will raise $ 20.1 million by the end of Veterans Day on Monday.
This image released by Lionsgate shows Nick Jonas in a "Midway" scene. (Reiner Bajo / Lionsgate via AP)
Criticism seems to have been ignored at the box office all weekend. Critics were not kind to "Midway" (currently 40% on Rotten Tomatoes), but the audience, which was basically male (60 years or older (87% were over 25)) gave the movie an A CinemaScore.
And while $ 17.5 million is not a massive number in itself, it has been a significant annoyance since experts thought first place would easily be awarded to Warner Bros. & # 39; "Doctor Sleep", the adaptation of Stephen King, starring Ewan McGregor. But audiences slept with the well-reviewed (73% Rotten Tomatoes) sequel to King's "The Shining," and grossed just $ 14.1 million at over 3,800 locations. Director Mike Flanagan's film even used the classic footage from Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film version, "The Shining," which was heavily influenced by marketing.
Budgeted at about $ 50 million, "Doctor Sleep" should open to more than $ 25 million. The studio was disappointed with the result. But it is at least partly attributable to the "general malaise" at this weekend's box office.
"There is no way to sweeten it, it was a horrible weekend for the general market," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at box office tracker Comscore.
In a smaller surprise, "Playing With Fire," directed by Paramount Pictures' family-friendly John Cena comedy John Cena, debuted at No. 3 on $ 12.8 million for the Wham-inspired romantic comedy! "Last Christmas" by Universal Pictures. Starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, "Last Christmas" came in fourth with $ 11.6 million. But Universal is optimistic about its prospects, considering the movie's thematic nature and the upcoming holiday weekends.
"We have a fantastic storyteller in Paul Feig and a ridiculously charming cast," said Universal Distribution Director Jim Orr.
Once again, the box office's strengths lie in limited, award-friendly releases. Amazon premiered Shia LaBeouf's autobiographical movie "Honey Boy" in four locations, where it won $ 288,824. And Lauren Greenfield's Imelda Marcos documentary "The Kingmaker" opened in two locations for $ 23,600. Both "Parasite", which grossed $ 2.6 million in 603 locations, and "Jojo Rabbit", which added $ 3.9 million in 802 locations, also continue to perform well, as films expand slightly to every week.
This image released by Universal Pictures shows Emilia Clarke in a scene from "Last Christmas". (Jonathan Prime / Universal Pictures via AP)
But it is still one of the worst weekends of early November in years, and Dergarabedian noted that smaller films won't move the year's overall box office, which remains down 5.5 percent.
"It's definitely a bit of a box office challenged," said Orr.
While Walt Disney Co.'s "Frozen 2" is on the horizon to help improve, Dergarabedian said 2019 may not be the best box office year of 2018 at this time.
"I think it would be really tough right now (over 2018). But it's not a Chicken Little situation," Dergarabedian said. "When compared to any other year, it's a solid year."
Still, he added, "For November, this is a very slow weekend."
Estimated Friday to Sunday ticket sales in US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. When available, the latest international numbers from Friday to Sunday are also included. National final numbers will be released Monday.
1. Midway, $ 17.5 million ($ 21.6 million internationally).
2. Doctor Sleep, $ 14.1 million ($ 13 million internationally).
3. "Playing With Fire", $ 12.8 million ($ 2.5 million internationally).
4. "Last Christmas", $ 11.6 million ($ 3.1 million international).
5. "Terminator: Dark Fate", $ 10.8 million ($ 29.9 million internationally).
6. "Joker", $ 9.2 million ($ 20.3 million international).
7. "Malevolent: Lady of Evil", US $ 8 million (US $ 19.9 million international).
8. "Harriet", $ 7.2 million.
9. "Zombieland: Double Tap", $ 4.3 million ($ 5.1 million internationally).
10. "The Addams Family", $ 4.2 million ($ 13.2 million internationally).