As expected, Spidey opened huge with $117M, kicking off a rebooted franchise in auspicious fashion. But how does its weekend gross compare to fellow superhero moneymakers, and could it have done better?

Since its no surprise the webslinger had a fantastic opening weekend, let’s take a look at the numbers and where it falls in the grand scheme of things.

1. It had the 3rd highest opening weekend of 2017, behind BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ($174.7M) and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 ($146.5), but ahead of WONDER WOMAN ($103.2M)
2. It had the highest opening weekend for a character debut (non-direct sequel) within the Marvel Universe, edging out the first IRON MAN film by nearly $20M (not adjusted for inflation)
3. It had the 7th highest opening weekend among the 16 films within the current Marvel Universe.
4. It was the 2nd highest debut weekend for a SPIDER-MAN film after 2007’s SPIDER-MAN 3 ($151M), not adjusted for inflation, beating out the openings of BOTH Andrew Garfield AMAZING SPIDER-MAN films.

So with all those figures out of the way, it was clearly a hit, and considering it was generally well-liked by audiences (and critics), the next few weeks look to be very profitable ($300M domestic is well within reach). 


Could it have opened bigger? Clearly, with SPIDER-MAN 3’s $151M opening in 2007, the wall crawler has the potential to scale much greater heights than it did. Also, the film that introduced Tom Holland as the rebooted Peter Parker – 2016’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR – opened to $179M. As ridiculous as it sounds, by comparison, $117M seems a little….underwhelming. So let’s indulge the ridiculous for a moment and dissect a couple factors that may have played into Spidey NOT turning in the year’s biggest opening weekend, since on paper it clearly COULD have done so.

1. Franchise Fatigue, and SUPERHERO Franchise Fatigue in particular. SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING was the 6TH film to feature superheroes released in 2017 (this includes POWER RANGERS and THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE) and the 3rd such film in the past 2 summer months. That’s one nearly every month. A whole lot of capes, masks, muscles and spandex. The fact that audiences still flocked like they did is a tribute to the enduring love of the character, the power of the Marvel brand (and audience’s continued love for this current Marvel Cinematic Universe), the inclusion of the beloved Robert Downey Jr. as a prominent character in the film, and the glowing reviews – many of which called it the “Best Film of the Summer/Year”.

2. Actor Tom Holland is the 3rd SPIDER-MAN in 15 years and 6 films. That’s a lot of rebooting and restarting for ANY character. The only other superhero given the same amount of rejiggering in the past 15 years has been Batman, and that’s counting both THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE and BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, neither of which can really be considered direct “reboots” as much as completely separate entities. Clearly, some audiences were not interested in another Spidey-based go ‘round, and it’s understandable.

3. Vulture? I hardly know her! Spider-Man has one of the best rogues galleries of villains within the Marvel Universe. With Doc Octopus, Green Goblin, Kraven the Hunter, Venom, Black Cat and Electro among the most popular, the Vulture feels slightly second-tier, and it is unlikely that his inclusion drove much fan interest in and of itself.

So with all the weekend dust settled, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING performed well within the high expectations, but didn’t break any major records of note. Buzz is on par with WONDER WOMAN and BABY DRIVER, the summer’s two other word of mouth successes, and with sequels already in development and Spidey popping up in the next AVENGERS films, the future looks very rosy for the franchise.

Next weekend – WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES wraps up the popular and critically acclaimed trilogy, and horror fans will have a new film to WISH UPON.

CARS drive the weekend, but Shakur pic draws many EYEZ

Welcome to the Weekend Box Office Review



Pixar’s Cars 3 opened to a solid but unspectacular $53.7M, providing the biggest animated opening so far of 2017, but dropping about $10M from the previous two CARS debuts.


This one fell directly in the center of expectations. The CARS series has always been the black sheep of the Pixar family. The 2006 original was the first Pixar film to garner its share of truly middling reviews, and the much-maligned creative misstep that was CARS 2 (the first film was about preserving history and embracing old fashioned Americana, and the second film was a…spy spoof starring Mater?) soiled folks on the franchise. Add to that the public disclosure that the CARS franchise was Pixar’s top merchandising moneymaker (especially among small children), and the series was forever tarnished with the stink of capitalism over creativity. The announcement of a third film was met with eye rolls and loud groans from Pixar’s adult fans, as it seemed to stand for the ultimate in “we didn’t ask for this.” Add to that middling reviews that touted it as an improvement over Part 2, but still not worthy of Pixar’s higher standard. So with so much negativity (and/or indifference) for the franchise, an opening weekend drop from the previous installments ($60M and $66M, respectively) was to be expected.

So why didn’t it go even lower? THE GOOD DINOSAUR opened at $40M (proving the Pixar brand doesn’t GUARANTEE huge openings), so it stands to reason that CARS 3 could have followed the trend of underperforming summer franchise pictures and wandered in closer to $30-40M. But that’s where the merchandising angle comes in. As much as CARS is a shrug for adult Pixar fans, the franchise is hugely popular with kids. And with a G rating, the Pixar name, and a return to a story focused around Lightning McQueen instead of Mater, families filled the seats, offsetting the inevitable drop. I would gather that it is unlikely we will see a CARS 4 (also a longshot that this film will even match CARS 2’s $191M domestic gross), but the fact that this one didn’t outright BOMB makes it seem that there may be some gas left in the tank, and the franchise will likely live on in some form or another.


Outperformed even the most optimistic expectations with an impressive $26.4M debut.


Two words: Tupac Shakur. Three more words: STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON. The life of the prolific and beloved artist has taken on a near mythic reputation in recent years, with Elvis-like sightings (“He’s not really dead!”) to controversy (his holographic “performance” at Coachella in 2012), to seemingly never ending merchandising (unreleased performances and unfinished albums continue to pop up), so it was clear that the market was hungry for a biopic. And with the incredible success of STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON in 2015, this film had potential, especially as effective counter programming at the start of summer, during a weekend that saw films catering to primarily kids and women. So with all that going for it, why didn’t it even open higher? After all, COMPTON pulled in $60M during its opening weekend…

Marketing was low as compared to COMPTON – not too much was done to reach out beyond Shakur’s heavily black, male fan base. Also unlike COMPTON, which had producer (and one of the subjects of the film) Ice Cube promoting it at every possible opportunity, EYEZ was marred with many of the film’s living subjects keeping their distance from it, with others (Jada Pinkett Smith in particular) actively speaking out against the film’s creative validity. Finally, a Rotten Tomatoes score of 23% didn’t help sway anyone on the fence, and couldn’t compete with COMPTON’s 87%, which ended up leading to multiple end of the year awards and Top Ten lists. Fans clearly wanted to see EYEZ, and they showed up – but the mediocre buzz kept it from going as high as it could have. Next week’s hold will show us if the film has $100M potential (unlikely), or if it will top out around $60M – still turning a profit, but not shaking the marketplace.


Inexpensive indie shark movie did just fine with $11M – unspectacular, but not a bomb.


Not much to say about this one – expectations were low, as the film featured no bankable stars (sorry Claire Holt, Matthew Modine and Mandy Moore) and little selling it beyond “Hey, remember THE SHALLOWS last year? You like sharks, right?” The fact that it still found its way to $11M means the horror community was hungry for more water-based thrills, and the effective low key marketing (prominent standees in theaters for a little-promoted film has a sneaky way of suggesting a potential sleeper hit) did its job. Still, there’s not much heat on the film, and it should drift away shortly, turning a comfortable profit on its $12M budget.


With an bomb-tastic $8M opening, the title-based puns write themselves for this one.


Chalk this one up to a confused marketing campaign, and the continued success of WONDER WOMAN. Everything was just a mess: the print campaign centered around Scarlett Johansson, but the trailers seemed to hide from her – focusing mainly on the supporting cast. The ads pushed it as a younger BAD MOMS-meets-THE HANGOVER, but there was no specific sellable plot element outside of Kate McKinnon’s confusing and unfunny Australian accent, and the unpleasant suggestion of jokes surrounding a dead stripper. A heavily advertise, and similarly themed film (with a funnier trailer) called GIRLS TRIP opens in a month, adding confusion to the mix. The confusion obviously hurt ROUGH, but it should benefit GIRLS, which now has a full month to distinguish and distance itself. Mediocre reviews were the final straw – like BAYWATCH, if comedies have have an “unfunny” stink about them, people stay away. Movie prices are too high these days to pay for something that will play better on TV if word of mouth is bad.

The WONDER WOMAN factor might have played into ROUGH’s weekend too. The super-sized super hero hit had a huge $41M third weekend, and it’s safe to say that in this summer of massive female strength & empowerment on the big screen, the film’s target audience (women) wouldn’t necessarily be inclined to spend 2 hours with a bachelorette party gone wrong due to drugs, panic and manufactured lunacy.

That’s it for this week – next week we see how a 5th TRANSFORMERS film plays as the only new release in town.

Weekend Box office analysis: WONDER WOMAN rules, MUMMY drools. Everything else is just garnish.


The Mummy underperformed even at the more modest expectations, pulling in only $31.6M and garnering the poorest reviews among the summer blockbusters so far.

Why: God, where to begin? The warning signs were everywhere.

The Concept – In an effort to build their own interconnected monster-based “Dark Universe,” Universal made the unwise decision of attempting to launch it with the one Universal monster that had been recently played out in their own popular Brendan Fraser film trilogy. Audiences simply were indifferent to more of the same. Also, and I keep going back to it: There are pitfalls involved in announcing your franchise before audience demand has been established. Universal made a big deal about this “Dark Universe” (the film even features a LOGO for it!) even though there is no evidence audiences will turn out for it. When you get cockily ambitious about an iffy franchise, it can tend to implode before it begins (I’m looking at you, PAN, POWER RANGERS and KING ARTHUR).

Tom Cruise – Let’s face it – outside the MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE films, Cruise is pretty consistent with his box office openings. Films centered around him tend to open in the $15-$25M range, and that’s fine, but not great. To be fair, his films containing an alien/supernatural element (WAR OF THE WORLDS, OBLIVION, EDGE OF TOMORROW) open a little bit higher, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Adding him to the mix may have added intrigue at first, but in the months leading up to the film the lack of excitement around CRUISE/MUMMY was noticeable, and audiences could tell this was not something special (he seemed to do more enthusiastic press for his lackluster JACK REACHER sequel last year…). Add in the marketing, which featured a ton of him up front, but downplayed him as they approached release date, and you had a film that wasn’t sure how much they wanted to commit to their star.

Mummies – The Brendan Fraser films opened to $43M, $68M, and $40M respectively. THE SCORPION KING opened to $36M. Are you seeing a trend here? This franchise has a $40M average opening (not counting the second film, which was highly anticipated and riding the goodwill of the popular first film and therefore is a bit of an anomaly), and that’s pretty much the range that could be expected for this one, especially considering MUMMY 3 closed on a franchise low both critically and financially and there was nothing in the years since that suggested renewed interest in the concept. Changing the gender of the mummy felt like a studio choice rather than a creative one (shades of TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES), and having your central female character a screaming banshee who is chained up and tortured for long stretches of your film was not appealing to audiences in this summer of WONDER WOMAN. Which brings us to…


As predicted, the superhero film held up well (an encouraging 43% drop) with a strong $58.5M second weekend, and positive word of mouth eclipsed any interest in MUMMY shenanigans. Diana faces some tough competition in the coming weeks (cars, minions, transformers and one friendly neighborhood spider-man will give her a run for her money), but the continued goodwill and enthusiasm for the film will carry her to a final gross that should rival or surpass those of her DC Universe counterparts to date. Universal could not have predicted the sheer amount of WW enthusiasm, but their timing couldn’t have been worse.

17% Rotten Tomatoes – If the film had been critically acclaimed, with upbeat word of mouth, we likely would have seen a $5-$10M bump in the weekend’s take. Sadly, it’s 17% RT score is a low across the board: Lower than Universal’s 2014 monster attempt DRACULA UNTOLD, lower than all but the third previous MUMMY films (and SCORPION KING), lower than any of the 2017 summer tentpoles to date (lower than even KING ARTHUR, BAYWATCH, and PIRATES) and lowest of Tom Cruise’s entire filmography if you don’t count the cult bad-movie favorite COCKTAIL. With all the other factors in play, it was never going to open HUGE, but if it had been good it would have at least had a chance to hold its own in the upcoming weeks. As it stands, it has 0% chance of making back its $125M budget domestically.

The upside: Even though the film will be lucky to finish with $70M in the US, overseas it is a smash hit and has already begun to turn a profit for the studio. The US failure would normally be the end of any future “Dark Universe” films, but the overseas success might just convince them to try once more with another property.


The weekend’s only other “major” release was this critically acclaimed indie horror flick. It’s hard to really analyze this, because at $5.9M it didn’t do well by any stretch of the imagination, and certainly doesn’t have the breakout indie horror buzz of a film like IT FOLLWS, THE WITCH or YOU’RE NEXT, but it performed in line with most expectations and should more than double its $5M budget by the end of the summer run without really being noticed.


There was one more weekend “also-ran,” featuring the true story of an American soldier and her dog. If you even knew this film came out over the weekend, you were the targeted demo, as marketing reach was low, and audience interest was minimal. Inexplicably opening in 1950+ theaters, its $3.8M gross suggests this would have been better as a VOD exclusive, or an art house release.