“Angel Has Fallen,” the third chapter in Lionsgate and Millenium’s action franchise starring Gerard Butler, had a stronger opening weekend than expected, collecting $21.25 million during its first three days of release.
Those ticket sales were enough to top domestic box office charts, bumping last weekend’s champ, Universal’s comedy “Good Boys,” to second place. Starring Jacob Tremblay, “Good Boys” generated $11.75 million in its sophomore outing, boosting its domestic total to $41.4 million.
“Angel Has Fallen” nearly matched the $21.6 million debut of its predecessor, 2016’s “London Has Fallen.” The first film, 2013’s “Olympus Has Fallen,” kicked off with $30.4 million.
“We wanted to give enough distance from the big summer tentpole films,” Lionsgate’s president of domestic distribution David Spitz said of the movie’s late August release. “We had the opportunity, and the movie really delivered.”
Opening weekend crowds were virtually split across gender lines (51% male), while almost 60% of moviegoers were over the age of 30. Audiences awarded “Angel Has Fallen” with a strong A- CinemaScore, high praise compared to its 40% average from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Audiences loved the movie,” added Spitz, who attributes the stronger-than-expected start to Butler’s likable character. “Because of the strong exit polls, the movie should have a nice long run in theaters.”
In “Angel Has Fallen,” Butler returns as Secret Service Agent Mike Banning, who has to clear his named after being framed for an attack on the U.S. president (Morgan Freeman). The cast also includes Jada Pinkett Smith, Piper Perabo and Nick Nolte.
Sony’s Affirm Films’ “Overcomer,” a faith-based sports drama, debuted in third with $8.2 million from 1,723 theaters. Directed by the Kendrick Brothers and starring Alex Kendrick, the film landed a stellar A+ CinemaScore and carries a $5 million price tag.
This weekend’s final new wide release, Fox Searchlight’s black comedy “Ready or Not,” opened at No. 6, scaring up $7.6 million over the weekend for a five-day start of $10.6 million. The-low budget film stars Samara Weaving as a newlywed who finds out her in-laws intend to hunt her for sport. Adam Brody and Andie MacDowell also star.
“We have really good reviews and we have a good CinemaScore, so we’re pretty happy with the debut,” said Frank Rodriguez, Fox Searchlight’s president of domestic distribution. “I think ending up with $25 million is very doable, and above that is possible.”
“Ready or Not” launched in 2,855 venues, marking the widest theater count in the studio’s history. The film drew mostly younger females: Women accounted for 52% of ticket buyers, and 75% of audiences under the age of 35. It also rallied diverse crowds, with Hispanics representing 21% of moviegoers.
“We saw diverse audiences that we don’t normally play to,” Rodriguez said. “We’re relying on that to drive the film. We have good reviews, so there’s momentum we’re expecting for next week.”
Holdovers Disney’s “The Lion King” and Universal’s “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” filled out the top five with the former coming in slightly ahead. However, the spots could fluctuate when final numbers arrive on Monday. “The Lion King” earned another $8.15 million, carrying Jon Favreau’s hyperrealistic remake to $510 million in North America. After seven weeks in theaters, “The Lion King” has amassed $1.5 billion worldwide.
Starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, “Hobbs & Shaw” came in close behind with $8.14 million during its fourth outing for a domestic tally of $147 million. The movie hit a major global milestone, smashing past the $500 million mark after debuting in China with a huge $102 million. “Hobbs & Shaw” has brought in $588.9 million worldwide to date.
In other box office benchmarks, Sony and Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” hit $123 million in North America, surpassing “Inglorious Basterds” to become the director’s second-highest grossing film at the domestic box office. “Django Unchained” is still his biggest success in the States with $162.8 million.
Among indie releases, Amazon Studios’ “Brittany Runs a Marathon” picked up $175,969 from five theaters, averaging $35,194 per location. Paul Downs Colaizzo directed from his own script. In the crowd-pleasing comedy, Jillian Bell portrays an overweight woman who signs up for a lengthy race to get her life on track. The studio is slowly expanding the movie and expects to take it nationwide after four or five weeks. Amazon bought the movie for $14 million at Sundance.
“This weekend is a great start, and we are feeling very positive going into next weekend and the weeks to follow,” said Julie Rapaport, co-head of movies at Amazon Studios. “Audiences have laughed, cried and connected with Brittany’s inspirational story — and we’re confident the positive word-of-mouth will organically grow and reach theater-goers. We’re in it for the long run and excited as more audiences discover the film.”
By the time Labor Day has passed, summer moviegoing season should end up almost 2% behind 2018, according to Comscore, pushing the year-to-date box office down more than 6%.