After opening at No. 1 to $61 million, “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” will again compete for the top spot on the box office charts this weekend against Disney’s new release “Christopher Robin.” Box office trackers have projected that both films will make between $30 million and $33 million this weekend.
For Disney, this is by far the most modest release on its calendar in a 2018 so far, when it has crushed the competition with some of the most highly anticipated blockbusters of the decade. In the last 153 days, Disney has seen four of its films — “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and most recently “Incredibles 2” — gross more than $1 billion worldwide, with “Infinity War” becoming the first-ever summer $2 billion hit.
And last week, Disney tightened its grip on Hollywood even further by completing its purchase of 20th Century Fox, a studio that, when added to Disney’s $2.58 billion in domestic gross, gives them a 45 percent share of this year’s market share so far. With that in mind, the mid-budget “Christopher Robin” doesn’t need to set the box office on fire; and compared to the IP heavyweights Disney has released, this film’s box office outlook is more akin to the live action remake of “Pete’s Dragon” from two years ago.
Directed by indie darling David Lowery, “Pete’s Dragon” was produced on a $65 million budget — thrifty by Disney standards — and grossed $143 million worldwide with a $21 million domestic opening. “Christopher Robin,” meanwhile, has a more recognizable cast of characters in the form of Winnie the Pooh and his friends, which should push the film to a domestic run of around $85-95 million. Disney is expecting an opening below tracker expectations but higher than the “Pete’s Dragon” opening with a studio projection of $28-30 million.
“Christopher Robin” stars Ewan McGregor as the titular friend of Pooh Bear, who has grown up to become a beleaguered man whose relationship with his wife and daughter has fallen apart thanks to increasing work responsibilities. But that changes when Pooh suddenly appears to Christopher in the middle of postwar London, along with the tree that transports him to his old childhood playground, the Hundred Acre Wood.
Marc Forster (“Finding Neverland”) directed the film from a screenplay co-written by Allison Schroeder (“Hidden Figures”) and Alex Ross Perry (“The Color Wheel”). Longtime Disney voice actor Jim Cummings returns to voice Pooh and Tigger, with Nick Mohammed and Brad Garrett playing Piglet and Eeyore. “Agent Carter” star Hayley Atwell plays Christopher’s wife, Evelyn, with Bronte Carmichael as his daughter, Madeline.
Meanwhile, Lionsgate and Fox will put out two films with much lower projections, signaling the start of a typically slow August. Lionsgate’s offering is the Kate McKinnon/Mila Kunis comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” which is expected by both Lionsgate and trackers to post an opening in the low teens. Early reviews have been mixed, giving it a 57 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. Critics are praising the film’s cast but panning the jokes given to them.
Finally, there is Fox’s “The Darkest Minds,” which is the live-action directorial debut of “Kung Fu Panda 3” co-director Jennifer Yuh Nelson. Based on the YA novel by Alexandra Bracken, the film stars Amandla Stenberg as the leader of a group of kids with psychic powers, who are among the two percent of children who survived a pandemic that killed off the rest of the world’s youth population.
At a time when YA novel adaptations like “Divergent” and “Maze Runner” have floundered at the box office, “Darkest Minds” is expected to have a muted opening with trackers projecting an $8 million launch. The film does not currently have a Rotten Tomatoes score.