At mid-summer, 2019 grosses are down percent. Franchise milking a what it used to be
Tuesday noon marks the exact halfway point of 2019. No one was predicting that grosses would be down $ 600 million – nearly 10% –from the 2018 mid-market. Still to be a trio of strong performers that should reduce that gap, as this week's "Spider-Man: Far from Home" (Sony) is followed by Disney's "The Lion King" and Universal's "Fast and Furious" offshoot "Hobbs & Shaw. ”But this weekend gave further evidence of some issues that won't go away.
The positive news: an unexpectedly strong launch for Danny Boyle's“ Yesterday ”(Universal), the Beatles fantasy that qualifies as one of the most original releases of the year. Written by Richard Curtis ("Love Actually"), the movie grossed $ 1
"Toy Story 4" (Disney) reclaimed the top spot in the last 17 weeks. The Pixar sequel dropped a reasonable 52%, more than the 46% drop for “Toy Story 3” but less than last summer's bigger opening or “Incredibles 2.”
The weekend total, however, is $ 30 million below the same weekend last year. But that should change next weekend with "Spider-Man," with the Marvel title that surfs off "Avengers: Endgame" expected to die. "Spider-Man" opened early in China, Japan, and Hong Kong to $ 111 million, which places it among the elite or past Marvel debuts.
Lower-budget horror movies, including franchises, have been a continuous draw during the recent box office downturn. “Annabelle Comes Home” is the sixth entry in New Line's “Annabelle / Conjuring” series. It delivered $ 31 million for five days, lower than the opening weekend for the previous entries. "The Nun" post-Labor Day last year came in at $ 58 million. That was quite recent, as was the somewhat overlapping “The Curse of La Llorona” in April (its first three days did $ 26 million).
Franchise fatigue? Or horror overload? This was a week after the spotty opening of another scary doll movie, the reboot or "Child's Play" (United Artists). The more offbeat "Midsummer" (A24) opens Wednesday. But horror titles coexist regularly. “Annabelle” does feel like a case of franchise fatigue. The previous entries (except one) have (adjusted) passed the $ 100 million domestic market, with the lowest hitting $ 91 million. This will be lucky to reach $ 60 million – more grist for the sequel overkill mill.
“Yesterday” marks a rare Danny Boyle title not to land and platform release. In fact, the mainstream romantic comedy with fantastic elements delivered Boyle's second-best opening weekend ("The Beach" grossed $ 25 million adjusted). At $ 17 million, "Yesterday" is within $ 4 million of Boyle's best total domestic gross ("127 Hours" scored $ 21 million adjusted) since his massive Oscar winner "Slumdog Millionaire."
So that's a return to form. What also makes "Yesterday" a standout these days – apart from Curtis' original story about an aspiring singer who wakes up from an accident to the sole human of the Beatles and their output – is it a romantic comedy.
The Collapse of comedies has been noted every year. There is clearly a hunger for them. Whatever its quality, the Netflix Adam Sandler / Jennifer Aniston "The Murder Mystery" was a huge initial draw. 2019 comedy successes include Marvel and animated films with comedic elements, along with “Us,” “The Upside” and “A Madea Family Funeral.”
But comedies aimed at women, particularly “Late Night” (Amazon) and “Booksmart (United Artists) in recent weeks, have not drawn big audiences. That's what repressed estimates for "Yesterday," which launched at Tribeca to poor reviews; it now boasts a mediocre 55 Meta score
"Yesterday" "strong performance suggests that the problems with the two more specialized titles had less to do with how they were released than the audience disinterest. These days, audiences remember that a low-budget non-event movie will soon show up online
"Yesterday" offered an accessible, charming story that had not been seen before – along with a soundtrack packed with beloved Beatles songs. The movie still has more than three days than "Late Night" is likely to be full, and not much less than "Booksmart." Universal smartly attached is trailer to "Rocketman" targeting the right audience. "Yesterday" was only slightly down on Saturday, but with a cinema score and greater interest building off its decent start, could see a nice multiple to head between $ 50-60 million.