Box Office: Will ‘Hitman’s Bodyguard’ Protect No. 1 From Newcomers?

Hitman's Bodyguard Ryan Reynolds Samuel L.
Courtesy of Lionsgate

A sluggish summer at the box office appears to have almost reached a standstill.

Last weekend, “Hitman’s Bodyguard” won the domestic box office with $21.4 million. That was a solid opening for a film without a superhero, well-known source material, or a franchise to back it up. But now, in week two, it seems the movie could retain its spot on top, even if it sees a 50% to 60% drop.

The fresh releases don’t post much of a threat, starting with “Leap!” from the Weinstein Company. The animated film, which has already picked up $58.2 million from foreign markets, is looking at an opening around $5 million from 2,500 locations. Éric Summer and Éric Warin directed the movie, titled “Ballerina” in all territories outside the U.S. It’s billed as a musical adventure comedy about an orphan girl who aspires to become a dancer. The voice cast is led by Elle Fanning, and also includes Maddie Ziegler, Carly Rae Jepsen, Nat Wolff, Kate McKinnon, and Mel Brooks.

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Meanwhile, “Birth of the Dragon” is hitting 1,500 locations, and is expected to gross between $3 million and $5 million. BH Tilt and WWE Studios co-acquired the film after its premiere at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival. The marketing campaign was inexpensive and focused on digital promotion, and targeted events, so anything higher than $3.25 million would make the distributor happy. The movie — an homage to Bruce Lee’s style of martial arts films — lends its inspiration’s name to the main character, played by Philip Ng. Set in 1960s San Francisco, Lee challenges kung fu master Wong Jack Man (Xia Yu) to an epic fight.

Sony’s “All Saints,” a faith-based movie from Affirm Films, is also opening at over 700 locations. John Corbett and Cara Buono lead the cast of the flick, directed by Steve Gomer. Steve Armour wrote the script, based on a true story, that centers on a salesman-turned-pastor and a group of refugees from Southeast Asia.

So “Hitman’s Bodyguard” and “Annabelle: Creation” will likely lead the weekend once again. If “Hitman’s Bodyguard” sees a 55% drop and manages to still top the charts, it would join the ranks of movies including 2015’s “War Room” and “The Possession” in 2012 that scored No. 1 while making less than $10 million. The lowest-grossing movie to win its weekend since 1997 was “Jerry Maguire,” which earned $5.5 million during its seventh week in theaters. 

August is typically a slow month for moviegoing, but the current situation seems especially dire during a summer that has fallen more than 13% behind last year. A savior is warranted, but seems nowhere nearby. The impending Labor Day weekend sees the release of only one film, “Tulip Fever.” Hope looms one week later in the form of a creepy clown, as “It” is already tracking to break September records.

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  1. Ready Go says:

    Birth of the Dragon is as offensive and ridiculous as that horrible Mainland China TV series from a few years ago. Where that delusional piece of junk inflated both Bruce Lee’s “legacy” as some kind of Mainland Chinese hero — which he most decidedly was NOT — and the nature of the “epic fight” to be far more cinematic, even super-heroic, than it was in real life, the awful Birth of the Dragon is barely about Bruce Lee at all! It’s about his rival instructor Wong Jack Man — here given more importance than he ever had in real life — who didn’t believe non-Asians should learn the “mystical” martial arts. It’s also about the white dude (with Asian girlfriend accessory) in whose defense Lee apparently existed to fight! Seriously?

    The movie fared SO poorly at TIFF last year that it was reportedly re-edited to reduce white dude Billy Magnusson’s borderline lead role in a movie about Asians. That probably explains the likewise ludicrous new focus on Wong Jack Man in the trailers and promo materials.

    Naturally, since Mainland Chinese money is involved, it’s like the Mainlanders decided they weren’t gonna let 70’s and 80’s Hong Kong filmmakers and the Americans (circa 1993’s Dragon) lay claim to making all the most laughably embellished movies about Bruce Lee, so now they’re getting their turn to piss on his grave.

    Seriously, there are no more bones to pick in Bruce Lee’s corpse. Help end this nonsense by not supporting this film. BH Tilt and WWE don’t deserve to make a profit on this, even on such a low investment.

  2. adam says:

    Hollywood studios are not the ones suffering since they also make money from streaming, video on demand and physical dvd/bluray rentals and sales. The one who is truly suffering are the big, bloated theater chain operators. People today love movies just as much as they did 20 years ago. What has changed is the manner in which those movies are consumed.

    The theater chain operators will have to downsize in order to survive. Attendance is not going to magically recover. This is now the “new normal”.

  3. Movieguy says:

    Hollywood can be pretty f ing stupid. Valerian, Dunkirk and Spider Man all within a few weeks of each other if not the same day, and not a decent movie to come out in the second half of August. Meanwhile, other than IT, what’s on the Horizon until Oscar season? Nothing.

  4. bobbysue says:

    good gosh mr jackson in evry other movie made.
    enufl

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