After a small rally from “Annabelle: Conjuring” last week, the August box office was back to its sluggish ways as Lionsgate’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” won the weekend with just a $21.6 million opening from 3,377 screens. It’s a solid opening for the action comedy, just above tracker projections in the high teens and is higher than the openings for other recent action films like “Atomic Blonde” ($18.3 million) and “The Dark Tower” ($19.5 million).
On the flip side is Fingerprint Releasing/Bleecker Street’s “Logan Lucky,” which only made $8 million from 3,031 screens to take third place this weekend. Critics preferred Steven Soderbergh’s NASCAR heist film over Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds’ shoot-em-up, giving “Logan Lucky” a 93 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes compared to 39 percent for “Hitman’s Bodyguard.” Yet it is “Hitman’s Bodyguard” that wins the weekend, likely due in good part to its $30 million marketing budget and the draw of its two very popular leads.
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“Logan Lucky” also had a strong cast with Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and Daniel Craig, but kept its marketing budget to a thrifty $20 million at Steven Soderbergh’s behest. The director’s aim was to reduce the amount of money that would go straight to distributors by keeping advertising costs down and negotiating a system in which Bleecker Street would receive a flat marketing fee, following by a changing percentage of the box office revenue depending on results. “Logan Lucky” was aiming for an opening in the low-to-mid teens, but the film looks like it will have to settle for an opening under $10 million.
Sliding in between the two new releases in the No. 2 spot is “Annabelle: Creation” with $15.5 million in its second weekend, bringing its ten-day total to $64 million. That’s a 55 percent drop from the film’s $35 million opening and puts the film’s running total four percent ahead of the first “Annabelle,” which had a ten-day total of $61.6 million. Taking fourth is “Dunkirk,” which is continuing to show Christopher Nolan’s staying power with $6.7 million in its fifth weekend, bringing its domestic cume to $165.5 million. “The Nut Job 2” completes the top five with $5 million, bringing its cume to $17.6 million after ten days.