With the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight and Hurricane Harvey hurting moviegoing, holdovers “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” and “Annabelle: Creation” are leading a disastrous weekend at the U.S. box office.
In fact, the Friday to Sunday frame in shaping up to be the worst of the year. According to early Friday estimates, both titles should finish in the $7 million to $8 million range — by far the lowest gross for a weekend winner this year — with “Hitman’s Bodyguard” the more likely winner. The previous low mark was set during Super Bowl weekend on Feb. 3 to Feb. 5, when the third frame of “Split” led with $14.4 million.
Texas theaters are closing as the hurricane approaches, but one studio exec said the overall impact on the nation’s moviegoing business will be “minimal.” The Category 3 storm has already closed theaters in Corpus Christi, Texas City, Victoria, Lake Jackson, and Bay City.
“Regionally, the storm will have an impact, but the fight is a bigger threat to the overall box office,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.
Saturday night’s boxing match between Mayweather and McGregor will keep male moviegoers away — particularly from “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.”
The weekend will cap what’s been a catastrophic summer for the movie business. As of Aug. 23, the summer domestic box office was down 13.4% to $3.63 billion, lowering the year-to-date total by 5.4% to $7.38 billion. This month is running 34% behind August of last year.
The previous weekend, when “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” led with $21.4 million, was the lowest of 2017 with $96 million in total business. The Feb. 3 to Feb. 5 Super Bowl weekend generated $99.1 million, and the April 28 to April 30 frame pulled in $99.6 million. All other weekends have topped $100 million, according to comScore.
Three new titles were showing little traction with The Weinstein Company’s animated comedy “Leap!” heading for $4.5 million at 2,575 sites, BH Tilt’s martial arts saga “Birth of the Dragon” with $4 million at 1,617 locations, and Sony’s faith-based “All Saints” at less than $3 million at 846 venues.
“Leap!” and “Birth of the Dragon” will battle for third place with TWC’s fourth weekend of the Jeremy Renner-Elizabeth Olsen thriller “Wind River,” the second frame of Steven Soderbergh’s “Logan Lucky,” and Warner Bros.’ sixth weekend of Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” all heading for the $4 million range. “Wind River” is expanding to 2,095 sites.
“Leap!” has already picked up $58 million from foreign markets under the title “Ballerina.” The musical centers on an orphan girl who aspires to become a dancer. The voice cast is led by Elle Fanning, and includes Maddie Ziegler, Carly Rae Jepsen, Nat Wolff, Kate McKinnon, and Mel Brooks.
“Birth of the Dragon” stars Philip Ng in a fictionalized account of the 1965 fight between Bruce Lee and kung fu master Wong Jack Man.
“All Saints,” from Affirm Films and Provident Films, follows John Corbett’s salesman-turned-pastor who tries to save his church with the help of Southeast Asian refugees. Steve Gomer directed from Steve Armour’s script.
“Hitman’s Bodyguard,” starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, opened last weekend to $21.4 million. “Annabelle: Creation” debuted with $35 million the weekend of Aug. 11 and has topped $72 million in domestic gross.