The Meg [shark-pun]ed its way to the top of the Box Office

Commentary pieces are longer, stream-of-consciousness style essays about a particular topic. They can and will take many forms, are randomly organized, and are deeply saturated with personal bias.

Hello, everyone. I hope you’re ready to enjoy some more ironic stock photos of money and finance. I know I am.

After a weekend spent avoiding any and all personal responsibilities, it’s time to take a look at my box office predictions from last week and see how they played out. I didn’t head to the multiplex myself, but apparently attendance was up due to a slate of anticipated new releases. Summer is dying down, kids are getting ready for school, and the remaining films left on the docket are festival favorites, campy horror flicks, and too-earnest family films. We probably won’t get anything meaty until October, but as far as numbers go I doubt we’ll see anything as exciting as Black Panther or Infinity War until next year (if at all). Anyways, let’s recap.

Last week’s predictions:

  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout earns north of $18 million
  • Black Panther disappears from the news
  • Christopher Robin earns $10-12 million in the third or fourth spot
  • The Spy Who Dumped Me stays in the top five, battling neck-in-neck with Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
  • The Meg takes number one, debuts with well-north or just-north of $25 million
  • Slender Man has potential to open in top five
  • BlacKkKlansman opens below top five

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s grab some info from our favorite box office reporting website,, and get to work.

The Numbers

Photo by Pixabay on

Box Office receipts were up over four percent this past weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. Which is good. July numbers were down compared to last year, but thanks in large part to Disney, Marvel, and Pixar, 2018 has been a record-setting year.

We can get into the ins and outs of whether or not blockbusters are more harmful overall to the film-industry, but so long as the coffers are full and people have movies to see, let’s not grow weary just yet. Epsecially not if A24 continues pumping out crowd-pleasing Best Picture nominees.

As for last weekend, Friday August 10-12, it took a prehistoric monster to distract us all from Tom Cruise’s personal vendetta against self-preservation. I have to say, though, what an ecclectic group of films in the top ten.

In first place, The Meg opened to an impressive $44.5 million dollars domestically. “Shark” has never been much of a genre. Box Office Mojo generously includes Finding Nemo in the category thanks to the Bruce character, but aside from Nemo, Jaws, and Shark Tale, no film starring one of these apex predators has earned over $100 million at the domestic box-office. The fact that Warner Bros. greenlit The Meg with a budget of $130 million would seem a bit risky. Its $44.5 million domestic and $97 million foreign grosses of this past weekend should build some confidence, though – which covers that hefty budget. Director Jon Turteltaub has a habit of siphoning crowd-pleasing fun from okay actors and wacky plots. Hang your hat on that, sir.

In second place is ol’ reliable itself, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, with a third-weekend gross of $20 million. That brings its domestic total up to $161.9 million – or, as I like to think of it, only $55 million away from surpassing Mission: Impossible II’s domestic cume. What’s that? Why do I care that the best film in a long-running franchise surpasses the total gross of the worst? Because I have to, that’s why. I have to. Worldwide the film is sitting pretty at $437.5 million. On a weekly basis it’s tracking closer to Ghost Protocol than to Rogue Nation, which bodes well for Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie.

In third place, Christopher Robin hangs on tightly with $12.4 million, bringing it’s domestic total up to $50 million.

In fourth place, Slender Man opens to $11.3 million. ScreenGems has earned back its production budget in a single weekend.

In fifth place, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman debuted with $10.7 million – only $4 million shy of its budget. Which is impressive considering Legendary Pictures opened the film on a modest 1,500 screens.

In six and seventh places we have The Spy Who Dumped Me and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, respectively. Spy earning $6.6 million to total $24.5 million domestic; Mamma Mia! earning $5.8 million for $103.8 million domestic. People are still turning out to see these movies, as their respctive drops of 45.5% and 35.4% indicate.

In eighth place we have Denzel Washington’s head-cracking The Equalizer 2, which is playing astonishingly close to the first film. It earned $5.5 million over the weekend, dropping just 37.2% for a domestic total of $89.6 million – half a million up from its predesessor in the same timeframe.

Ninth place sees the Adam Sandler spook-toon Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation earning $5.1 million, totaling $146.8 million domestic.

Rounding out the top ten is Ant-Man and the Wasp with $4 million. Which pushes its domestic cume to $203.5 million. So far it’s earned more than $20 million over its predesessor in North America, but still needs a little time to catch Ant-Man‘s worldwide gross of $519.3 million.

Incredibles II was finally nudged from the top ten. It still earned $3.5 million, and is sitting on a massive pile of cash. It’s domestic gross is $589.8 million; worldwide it sits at $1.08 billion.

Fun fact: The Dark Knight was the first superhero film to gross over $500 million domestically and over $1 billion worldwide (it was the fourth film to ever do so). It remains the lowest grossing billion-dollar earning movie at $1.008 billion. It has dropped thirty places on the chart of highest-grossing films of all time since it left theaters.

A few other movies are still clanging around theaters out there. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is still making money, somehow. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is still alive. Dwayne Johnson’s Skyscraper sank like a stone – don’t @ me for that – and is circling the drain. Eighth Grade made $1.6 million over the weekend, which is lovely – please see it before it’s nominated for several Oscars.

And that’s just about all I want to talk about. Time to make some predictions.


person holding a chalk in front of the chalk board
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So how did I stack up? Pretty well, actually. Mission: Impossible – Fallout earned over $18 million, The Meg opened at number one “well-north” of $25 million, Christopher Robin stayed at number three with around $12 million, and Mamma Mia! is duking it out with The Spy Who Dumped Me.

Where I got it wrong? BlacKkKlansman. I didn’t expect people to turn out for this one, not fully. I’m glad it has some attention and good word of mouth, which could result in a few more screens.

Going forward I see The Meg taking a pretty decent hit. Expect a second weekend take of around $20 million. From what I’ve heard, it’s big and dumb, but not enough fun to warrant repeat business.

Mission will fall further from the top, but don’t expect it to fall from the top five. I’m guessing it’ll land around $12-14 million in receipts, maybe at the number three or four spot.

Expect Slender Man to fall below BlacKkKlansman and for Christopher Robin to fall from the top five, as well. I give those $4.5 million, $5.7 million, and $6.3 million respectively. Specifics? I know – ballsy.

I fully expect new releases Mile 22 and Alpha to fight over the first two spots this coming weekend. One has Mark Wahlberg and the other is about dogs – don’t bet against either of those if you don’t have to. I would guess Mile 22 to open similarly to Wahlberg’s other ventures of the last five years sans Transformers – somewhere north of $25 million, maybe even $40-45 million. Alpha looks like a solid family picture, the type that has a decent opening over $30 million and drops like Dwayne Johnson the subsequent weekend.

We have a live-action The Little Mermaid coming out, but not one headlined by Disney, so I don’t expect to hear about it. Other new releases this weekend are the Christian Slater and Glenn Close film The Wife; Rose Byrne and Ethan Hawk vehicle Juliet, Naked; Down a Dark Hall, starring Uma Thurman; two films I’ve never heard of, Blaze and Breaking & Exiting; and an indie movie, We the Animals.

Let’s see if I can get a streak going. Be sure to let me know what you’re excited to see in the comments or on the Facebook and Twitter Pages. In order to stay up to date with everything blog-related, please use the widgets at the bottom of the page to follow along.

I’ll be back next week with more prognostication and all things box office.

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