‘Crazy Rich Asians’ dominates for second week as ‘Happytime Murders’ and ‘A.X.L.’ disappoint
LOS ANGELES — “Crazy” is the right word for it.
The romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians” dominated the box office for the second weekend in a row, adding $25 million in North American receipts, a drop of only 6 percent from its opening weekend, an almost unprecedented figure.
So far, the Warner Bros. film, playing on more than 3,000 screens, has taken in $76.8 million in 12 days of release, according to figures from measurement firm ComScore.
No live action wide release has ever maintained such a strong hold in that number of theaters without the help of a holiday weekend.
“Bigfoot sightings are more common than second weekend drops like this for summer movies,” said Jeff Goldstein, the studio’s distribution chief. “You have to go back to 1993’s ‘The Fugitive’ or 1999’s ‘The Sixth Sense.’”
“This is an incredibly rare occurrence, particularly in the summer where the week-to-week competition is generally more intense,” agreed Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore. “But of course August is usually a time when a breakout hit can dominate due to the normally slower period as the summer season winds down.”
In second place, Warner Bros. shark attack flick “The Meg” also continued to perform well in its third weekend, adding $13 million in ticket sales for a cumulative $105.3 million.
The big disappointment was STX Entertainment’s “The Happytime Murders,” which debuted at No. 3 with $10 million. That was below analysts’ already so-so predictions of $13 million to $15 million. It cost about $40 million to make.
The R-rated farce takes place in a version of Los Angeles where humans coexist with puppets (instantly recognizable as Jim Henson Co. creations). Directed by Brian Henson, son of the late Muppets creator, the film stars Melissa McCarthy as a human cop who investigates the murders of a classic children show’s former cast.
Besides opening below expectations, the film earned negative reviews from audiences and critics with a C-minus rating on CinemaScore and a 22 percent “rotten” rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. It is the second consecutive disappointment for the studio following last week’s poor debut for “Mile 22.”
Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” now in its fifth week, landed at No. 4 with an additional $8 million and a cumulative $193.9 million.
Rounding out the top five, Disney’s “Christopher Robin” added $6.3 million in its fourth week for a cumulative $77.6 million.
Also new this week, Global Road Entertainment’s “A.X.L.” debuted at No. 9 with $2.9 million. The film, about a boy who befriends a robot dog on the run, earned mixed reviews with audiences and critics with a B-plus rating on CinemaScore and a 22 percent “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“A.X.L.” is the third dog-related disappointment in as many weeks following the lackluster debuts of “Dog Days” and “Alpha” and is the latest flop for the studio (along with “Show Dogs” and “Hotel Artemis”) already experiencing financial problems. Last week, the company’s lenders took control after its chairman was unable to raise $200 million in needed financing.
In limited release, Sony Screen Gems’ thriller “Searching” opened in nine theaters with $360,000, a stellar per-screen average of $40,000. Starring John Cho as the father of a missing teenage girl, the film earned a 92 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Next week, Lionsgate opens the sci-fi action flick “Kin,” MGM reveals the thriller “Operation Finale” and Sony Screen Gems expands “Searching.”