August is usually in the doldrums. At least it gives us some hilariously bad movies to relish in before we’re swept away by rapidly progressing cold (please God, give us some cold in this humidex-smashing Hell).
Alright, Spike Lee’s latest (and apparently most potent in a while) joint, BlacKkKlansman, doesn’t fall under hilariously bad territory and I can’t suggest otherwise, because it’s reportedly amazing.
BlacKkKlansman is dropping in 1,512 venues this weekend, not a substantial number and more so something one would expect following a platform release. Focus didn’t opt to platform this, so more power to them, I guess. I’m almost certain this’ll outperform last year’s Kathryn Bigelow effort Detroit ($7.13m opening/$16.79m total) by a considerable margin – whereas Detroit was a generally grimmer film, BlacKkKlansman is more humourous and irreverent. Traits that are a little more appealing in a torn social landscape, I’d reckon.
It’s hard to see this one becoming a phenomenon or the like, but it could be a late summer treat with a strong multiple. And that’s more than fine for the season.
Prediction: $12 million, #4 rank
Dog Days (LD)
There’s a special place in cinematic purgatory for obscenely shitty live-action dog flicks. I am very much a dog person, but these movies are just remarkably the worst things ever. So colour me surprised to see Dog Days, a movie lacking prestigious star power, a title so lazy it’s almost admirable, and the backing of a largely unknown distributor, is actually not terrible.
That’s all well and good, but Dog Days will still be held back by that small distributor, which shouldn’t be read as smack towards new distributors – they’re necessary in a Hollywood hellbent on buddying up (i.e., buying) with other, usually “lesser”, studios – but one can’t predict a movie like Dog Days’ performance without acknowledging its distributor doesn’t have the marketing prowess of, say, Warner Bros. or Universal.
Plus, the movie opened with $635k from 2,225 venues (expanding to 2,442 this weekend) on Wednesday, putting up a rather, uh, not good $282 per-theatre average. So there’s that. Regardless, keep on keepin on, little studios.
Prediction: $2 million, #11 rank
The Meg (Warner Bros.)
Then again, just because your studio has plenty of capital to invest in marketing, that doesn’t necessarily mean your movie’s saved.
I’m so happy somebody decided to spend $150 million on Jason Statham fighting a giant prehistoric shark. They’re never going to see that money again, but I’m so happy.
Anyway, The Meg(even the title is audaciously terrible) is all but assured to not be a breakout hit, mainly due to the movie knowing it’s not very good – and it’s lukewarm, supposedly – and knowing everyone else knows it’s not very good, which certainly has a niche (hello), but a niche does not a blockbuster make.
It certainly is a telling state of affairs when anywhere above $30m is considered an “overperformance” for The Meg, even though $30m for most other movies at this price point is basically a death knell. Hell, this very well could blow people’s minds and make somewhere over $40m, the best-case scenario here. And it’s high-concept enough to translate well overseas, so that might be Meg’s saving grace. I’m cautious about this one’s domestic prospects, but guiltily hoping for more. It’s in 4,118 venues, for Christ’s sake, Warner’s is desperate here.
Prediction: $25 million, #1 rank
Slender Man (Sony)
Leave it to Sony, the studio ravenously seeking new IP, to try launching one that’s at least five years too late. Slender Man, who you may or may not remember as that Popular Scary Thing that was everywhere for a while then suddenly nowhere, is getting its movie treatment.
The results look like fucking poison, and that’s not too far off the mark. A shame, too, as Mr. Slender’s horror is so simple it’s almost intriguing how somebody could mess it up so bad, though I guess we’ll all find out soon enough when Sony drops this in 2,358 hubs.
Alas, horror’s been on an upswing of late and it’s been a good while since the last spooky flick graced cinemas. Slender Man will appeal more to horror junkies and curious individuals familiar with the name – a not-insignificant amount of people, sure, but not quite enough to carry the movie to scary good figures.
Prediction: $10 million, #5 rank
2. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Paramount) – $23 million (-35%), $165.1m cume 3. Christopher Robin (Disney) – $14.8 million (-40%), $52.3m cume 6. The Spy Who Dumped Me (Lionsgate) – $6.1 million (-50%), $24m cume 7. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (Universal) – $5.4 million (-40%), $103.4m cume 8. The Equalizer 2 (Sony) – $5.3 million (-40%), $89.4m cume 9. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (Sony) – $5.2 million (-35%), $146.9m cume 10. Ant-Man and the Wasp (Disney) – $4.5 million (-30%), $203.9m cume