Monday (Tuesday) Mixer: 'X' marks the spot?

Posted Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 12:53 PM Central
Last updated Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 12:58 PM Central

by John Couture

Oh boy. Summer is unofficially under way and it's shaping up to be an interesting one for sure.

Usually, it takes a few weeks to get a real feel for a Summer's box office, but I think this weekend's performance and the last month or so is painting a clear picture for Hollywood: enough with the crappy sequels. It's not like audiences are rejecting sequels out of hand (see Captain America: Civil War), it's more like they are becoming more picky.

It's simply no longer good enough to just slap a number at the end or Marvel or DC at the front, audiences are seemingly looking for more. This doesn't bode well for Independence Day Resurgence, which was hoping to ride nostalgia to a break out performance this Summer. It also means that (hopefully) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows will be doomed before it opens this weekend.

Remember the last Turtles movie opened with $65 million. I know that Paramount was hoping for an opening this time closer to $100 million. As it stands, it might struggle to get to $40 million this weekend. If that failure occurs, what will it mean for Paramount's other big sequel this Summer Star Trek Beyond?

What will it mean for the box office as a whole? Will other films pick up the slack or will it cause Summer 2016 to take a big step back from last year's record-setting numbers?

Time will tell, but we're getting ahead of ourselves. Let's take a look back this past weekend first.

Box Office 411

First up, Fox leads off a sequel heavy Summer for them with what looked like a sure-fire hit a few weeks ago, X-Men: Apocalypse. While the film was tracking behind the last installment in the franchise (which opened with $110 million, also over a Memorial Day weekend), Fox was almost assuredly hoping for an opening four-day haul right around $100 million.

Things started off on the right foot with its Thursday sneak numbers surpassing the impressive ones turned in by X-Men: Days of Future Past, but it quickly went downhill from there. It seems that audiences are finally beginning to tire of the mutant franchise. This weekend's performance provides a bit of a conundrum for the studio after its Deadpool defied expectations to open to a massive $152 million back in February.

X-Men: Apocalypse's $80 million opening weekend is pretty standard and while it's not exactly a failure, it does mean that Fox will have to work hard to turn a profit on it. Also, as mentioned above, if this weekend does portend more disappointment for sequels then it will be a long Summer for Fox with Independence Day Resurgence and Ice Age: Collision Course on the docket.

Of course, if audiences are looking for more original material, then Fox can take solace in the potential of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Both of the upcoming films are trending well and should provide the studio with a nice little boost in the arm.

As it stands, X-Men: Apocalypse looks to finish up with $250 million or so, which again is pretty good, but a little short on their internal expectations.

The weekend's other new entry was also a sequel and it too failed to live up to expectations. Disney has had an impressive winning streak of late, but even the best performances sometimes have missteps. Alice Through the Looking Glass is the first film from Disney in recent memory that relatively "bombed" in comparison to its studio peers.

Of course, that's also a good indication of just how impressive Disney has been doing lately. For instance, for 2016, Disney's box office is nearly double that of its nearest competitor, which, ironically, is Fox. Of course, I wouldn't cry for Disney too much. With Finding Dory (another sequel, but one that is trending in the right direction) and Star Wars: Rogue One still on their schedule for 2016, they should once again celebrate another studio box office crown this year.

While no one in their right mind predicted that Alice Through the Looking Glass would replicate the succes of Alice in Wonderland, no one figured it would suffer this much. With weekend estimates that kept going down, Disney finally settled on a holiday weekend take of $34 million. The real interesting thing to consider is how much Johnny Depp's well-publicized domestic discord that broke late last week contributed to the film's misstep.

It certainly wouldn't be the first time that a star's personal problems affected the box office performance of their film, but I don't think it had much of an impact. Rather, I think the film is a bit late to capture on the success of the first film, which found a perfect storm of 3D resurgence to ride to its $334 million payday. Alice Through the Looking Glass will struggle to break $100 million, but I think it will get there, eventually.

Quick Hitters

  • Speaking of underperforming sequels, Neighbors 2 is failing to catch on with audiences at the same rate as its predecessor. Of course, that's not stopping Seth Rogen and company from promoting the heck out of it. This is a rather bizarre cross-over, even for them.

  • Speaking of Star Trek Beyond, they released a new trailer last week. It's better than the previous one and on the right track, and yet... I don't know. It just seems that something is lacking.

  • Finally today, I present the first trailer for The Space Between Us. It seems to be getting quite a divisive reaction. Personally, I was caught up hook, line and sinker, but I am concerned that they gave away the entire film in the trailer. What do you think?

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