×

‘Men in Black: International’ Leads Box Office With Muted $30 Million

UPDATED: Hollywood seems to be coming down with a contagious case of franchise fatigue this summer, as “Men in Black: International” and “Shaft” become the latest sequels largely dismissed by moviegoers in North America.

Sony’s “Men in Black: International” led ticket sales at the box office this weekend with $30 million, but still fell short of expectations. Actual grosses on Monday morning came in slightly higher than Sunday’s projections, which placed ticket sales at $28.5 million. Those receipts still represent roughly half of what the previous installments in the sci-fi series earned during their first weekend in theaters. The three previous “Men in Black” films opened with over $50 million.

The latest entry, toplined by Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, wasn’t expected to reach the same heights as the original films starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, but analysts anticipated a start above $30 million. Directed by F. Gary Gray, the sequel sees Thompson and Hemsworth team up as black-suited agents protecting the Earth from a series of alien attacks.

“Men in Black: International” is now banking on moviegoers overseas to make the action adventure a hit. “Men in Black: International” did have a larger footprint with foreign audiences, generating $73 million from 56 overseas territories, bringing the film’s global start to $102.2 million. Sony co-financed the movie with Hemisphere and Tencent, spending $110 million to produce the movie, roughly half of what it cost to make “MIB 3.”

Critics praised the chemistry between Hemsworth and Thompson, who first shared the screen in “Thor: Ragnarok,” but reviews were otherwise uninspired for the follow-up, which comes seven years after the latest installment and nearly 25 years after the first film with Smith and Jones. It carries a 24% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences were equally unenthusiastic, giving “MIB: International” a B CinemaScore.

“Men in Black: International” wasn’t the only sequel this weekend that got the cold shoulder from ticket buyers. Warner Bros. and New Line’s “Shaft,” starring Samuel L. Jackson, flopped with a dismal $8.3 million in sales from 2,952 locations. That’s less than half of what box office watchers predicted the follow-up would make in its first three days of release. By comparison, 2000’s “Shaft” debuted with $21.7 million. The latest remake reunites three generation of Shaft men, played by Jackson, Jessie Usher, and Richard Roundtree, who starred in the original 1971 movie. It carries a price tag near $35 million.

It’s not just franchises feeling the burn. Positive reviews didn’t salvage “Amazon’s “Late Night,” an original comedy from Mindy Kaling. The movie, co-starring Kaling and Emma Thompson, finished in ninth place with $5.1 million after the studio expanded the comedy to 2,220 venues. It debuted in limited release last weekend, collecting a solid $249,654, which brings ticket sales to $5.4 million. “Late Night,” about a TV host who makes a diverse hire to save her talk show from becoming a ratings disaster, was well-received after premiering at Sundance, where Amazon shelled out $14 million for distribution rights in one of the biggest sales of the festival.

The final newcomer this weekend was “The Dead Don’t Die,” Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy starring Adam Driver, Billy Murray, Selena Gomez, and Chloe Sevigny. The film, which debuted to mixed reviews at Cannes, opened at No. 12 with $2.35 million from 613 theaters. According to Focus Features, the studio distributing the movie, that figure marks the largest opening weekend of Jarmusch’s career. Males accounted for 58% of tickets sold, while 64% of audiences were over the age of 35.

“We’re thrilled to see Jim’s biggest opening and his top grossing weekend ever with this film,” said Lisa Bunnell, Focus Features’ president of distribution. “His unique take on the zombie genre delivers his signature brand of humor, style and substance for moviegoers.”

In a not-so-distant second place, Universal and Illumination’s “The Secret Life of Pets 2” brought in $23 million during its sophomore weekend of release, marking a 49% decline from its inaugural outing. Though still pacing well behind its predecessor, the animated sequel has now earned $92 million in North America.

Disney’s “Aladdin,” a live-action remake of the Arabian musical cartoon, nabbed the No. 3 spot during its fourth weekend in theaters. It collected another $17 million, boosting its domestic haul to $264 million.

Another Disney title, “X-Men” entry “Dark Phoenix,” was a big-budget misstep last weekend. It dropped to fourth place, adding $9 million, a massive 73% downturn in ticket sales compared to its first weekend in theaters.

Rounding out the top five is Paramount’s “Rocketman.” The fantasy biopic, which sees an inspired Taron Egerton dramatize the life and times of Sir Elton John, picked up $8.8 million in its third outing for a total of $66 million in North America.

Overall, ticket sales at the domestic box office are down just over 7% compared to last year, according to Comscore. A number of upcoming blockbuster-hopefuls, including Disney’s “Toy Story 4” and Sony’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” are expecting to breath some life into an otherwise lackluster summer moviegoing season.

More Film

  • Jennifer Lopez Owen Wilson

    Jennifer Lopez-Owen Wilson Film 'Marry Me' Moves Back to Universal From STX

    The Jennifer Lopez-Owen Wilson romantic comedy “Marry Me” has moved from STX back to its original home, Universal Pictures. STX previously took over the project in April. Kat Coiro is directing from a script written by John Rogers and Tami Sagher, with a rewrite by Harper Dill. Colombian singer/rapper Maluma has joined the cast and [...]

  • Austin Butler to Star as Elvis

    Austin Butler to Star as Elvis in Baz Luhrmann's Biopic

    Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic has found its king of rock ‘n’ roll. After numerous screen tests, Austin Butler has been tapped to play Elvis Presley in Luhrmann’s next feature film for Warner Bros. The studio tested with a handful of actors in full hair and make-up at the end of June to see who [...]

  • 'The King's Man' Trailer Debuts With

    'The King's Man' Trailer Showcases Secret Service's Origins

    Disney is promising plenty of sword-fighting, gunplay and devastation in its first teaser trailer for the Fox spy comedy prequel “The King’s Man.” The studio unveiled a first look Monday that sets the stage for an origin story of the private British  intelligence service, portrayed in the two previous films in the franchise: 2014’s “Kingsman: The [...]

  • Emma Stone Damien Chazelle Babylon

    Emma Stone Eyes Damien Chazelle's Next Film 'Babylon'

    “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle is heading back to Hollywood for his next feature film “Babylon,” and Emma Stone is in early talks to star. Sources say Chazelle has met with a handful of suitors over the past couple weeks, and Paramount and Lionsgate are both vying to land the project. While Chazelle previously [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez

    2019 Imagen Awards Nominations: Jennifer Lopez, Antonio Banderas and More

    Jennifer Lopez and Antonion Banderas are among this year’s Imagen Awards nominees, which span a range of categories including informational programming, on-air advertising, outstanding individual performances and prime time programming in film and television. The Imagen awards were first established in 1985 upon recommendation from TV veteran Normal Lear in an effort to recognize more [...]

  • "Crazy Alien"

    China's Enlight Projects at Least 95% Fall in Net Profit in First Half of 2019

    Beijing-based Enlight Media, one of China’s most prominent production companies, said Monday it expects a steep decrease in net profits of up to 96% in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2018 — an indicator of the deep turmoil in the Chinese industry, which has been hit by regulatory [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content