×

‘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

  • it chapter two, comic con

    Comic-Con: 4500 Gallons of Fake Blood and Everything Else to Know About 'It Chapter Two''

    Comic-Con 2019 kicked off with a stacked presentation from the director and cast of “It Chapter Two” on Wednesday, inspiring a curious amount of joy at San Diego’s Spreckles Theater in spite of the abject terror offered up by the film. The closing chapter to 2017’s record-obliterating “It,” the highest grossing R-rated horror film of [...]

  • 'Between Me and My Mind' Review:

    Film Review: Trey Anastasio in 'Between Me and My Mind'

    Trey Anastasio doesn’t look like a rock star. With his thick rimless glasses and flop of sandy red hair, you might say he resembles John Sebastian, but really, he looks like a mashup of Mike White and Jon Cryer and the filmmaker Chris Smith. He’s an appealingly ordinary shaggy-geek dude, like some guy you might [...]

  • Photo taken July 18, 2019, from

    More Than 20 Feared Dead in Arson Attack on Japan's Kyoto Animation

    UPDATED: More than 20 people are feared to have died Thursday morning in an arson attack on the Kyoto Animation company in Japan, shocking a nation in which extreme violence is very rare. Emergency services in Kyoto City received a call about 10:35 a.m. local time reporting an explosion on the first floor of the [...]

  • sith trooper

    Sith Trooper Revealed From 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'

    “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” revealed a new storm trooper uniform Wednesday at San Diego Comic Con as part of a special exhibit celebrating the evolution of the storm trooper design. Dubbed the Sith trooper, the new uniform sports all-red armor plates with a matching red and black blaster. Also decorating the armor is [...]

  • Dunkirk

    Harry Styles Is the Perfect Prince Eric; Why He'd Rock 'Little Mermaid' Role

    Could Harry Styles be the perfect Prince Eric? One day after the announcement that the One Direction star is “in early negotiations to play the iconic ‘Little Mermaid’ role,” the internet exploded with speculation as to how he would portray the object of Ariel’s affections. “I can see lots of reasons why Harry is perfect,” [...]

  • The Lion King

    Film News Roundup: PETA Sponsors Rescued Lion in Jon Favreau's Name

    In today’s film news roundup, PETA honors Jon Favreau for “The Lion King,” “Tigers Are Not Afraid” gets a theatrical release, a Kirk Franklin biopic is in development and “The Sixth Sense” gets an anniversary showing in Philadelphia. HONOR The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is sponsoring a rescued lion to honor director [...]

  • Tokyo Director-in-Focus-at-Japan-Now

    Nobuhiko Obayashi set as Japanese Director in Focus at Tokyo Film Festival

    Indie director, Nobuhiko Obayashi will be feted as the director in focus at the Japan Now section of this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival. The festival will give a world premiere to his “Labyrinth of Cinema.” Supporting his art by shooting commercials, Obayashi is an indie whose dreamy works have influenced numerous other directors in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content