The box office has always been said to be a cyclical business, and right now it is in a serious holding pattern as Sony's "Men In Black: International" leads a weekend of weak grosses while movie theaters once again wait for Disney to get business moving again with "Toy Story 4" next week.
The fourth installment of the "Men In Black" series opened to $28.5 million from 4,224 screens. While that's only slightly below Sony's projections of a $30 million weekend, it is well below the low $50 million range that all three previous "Men In Black" films opened to. Word of mouth has been tepid at best with a B on CinemaScore and 24% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
Sony's exposure on the film was limited, as the $110 million production budget was co-financed by Hemisphere and Tencent. The other bit of encouraging news for the film is that it did slightly better overseas, with its performance in Asia matching that of "Men In Black 3" as it grossed $73.7 million internationally for a $102 million global opening.
Any losses the studio may take on the film will also be offset in two weeks by the arrival of "Spider-Man: Far From Home," the sequel to "Spider-Man: Homecoming," which grossed $334 million domestic and $880 million worldwide in 2017. Sony could also have an original hit with Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood," which opens at the end of July.
Taking second this weekend is Universal/Illumination's "The Secret Life of Pets 2" with $23.8 million, a 49 percent drop from its $46.6 million opening. While the sequel is well behind the pace set by past Illumination summer releases, it will still turn a profit for Universal with a 10-day total of $92 million domestic and $154.6 million global against an $80 million budget.
Disney's "Aladdin," which is taking advantage of the weak competition, continues to hold well as it passed $250 million domestic and $700 million global in its fourth weekend. The film takes third this weekend with $16.7 million, bringing its total to $263 million. Worldwide, the count now stands at $724.8 million.
The No. 4-6 spots on the charts are filed by a trio of films clustered in the $8-9 million range. First is Fox/Disney's "Dark Phoenix," which continues to bomb at the box office with a $9 million second weekend, dropping 73% from its already franchise-low $32.8 million opening. The $200 million film now has a $51.8 million domestic and $204.3 million global 10-day total. Just behind it is Paramount's "Rocketman" with $8.8 million in its third weekend, giving the $40 million film a total of $66 million domestic while pushing it past $150 million worldwide.
Currently estimated for a sixth place finish is Warner Bros.' "Shaft," which was projected for a $15-20 million opening but is greatly underperforming with an estimated $8.3 million opening from 2,952 screens. The film's $30 million budget was co-financed with Netflix, which will release the film on streaming overseas in two weeks. "Shaft" could still possibly leg out with African-American audiences, as it earned an A on CinemaScore despite receiving 34% on Rotten Tomatoes.
In ninth is Amazon Studios/30WEST's "Late Night," which opens wide this weekend after its Los Angeles/New York limited opening last weekend. The film is meeting tracker expectations with a $5.1 million opening from 2,220 screens. Combined with the week's worth of limited release grosses, the total for Mindy Kaling's comedy currently sits at $5.45 million. The film has an 80% Rotten Tomatoes score and a B on CinemaScore.
Finally, the megahit "Avengers: Endgame" enjoyed one last weekend in the top ten, grossing $3.5 million in its eighth weekend to push its staggering global total to $2.74 billion, $45 million short of "Avatar" and its all-time $2.78 billion record.