This was not a good weekend for super heroes, at least not in the US and Canada. After two weeks of steady box office drops – 66% right on the first week, 60% on top of that afterwards – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was beaten on the domestic front by the Melissa McCarthy vehicle The Boss. By a narrow margin, though – The Boss scored $23, 481, 195 against Batman v Superman’s $23,435,000 according to the first estimates (depending on the source, the gap can be wider).
Although massacred by reviewers – just like BvS- the raunchy R-rate comedy about a former powerful businesswoman’s efforts to remake her brand after a stint in jail performed as expected in its key demographic, women over 25. The key issue for McCarthy – a Golden Globe nominee for Spy - is that each of her last movies has been opening lower than its predecessor. Identity Thief opened at $34.6 million, and Spy at $29 milion. We are now in the $ 23 million range – yes, these are three debuts at number one, but the numbers are dropping.
Overseas the super hero saga still rules, comfortably in spite of the drops. The weekend estimate for Batman v Superman is $34 million from 67 markets to an international cume of $486.8 million. (The Boss did open overseas, but in just eight smaller territories for $1 million total.)
Among the premieres, the big story belongs to The Jungle Book. Director Jon Favreau’s live action/ CGI take on Rudyard Kipling’s evergreen tale of the boy raised by wolves took $ 28.9 million from 15 Asian and Latin American markets, a week ahead of its domestic debut. India – where the wolf-boy saga is set – was the top market for Book with a $7.6 million take at the box office — the second highest opening ever for a Western release, behind only Furious 7. This coming week The Jungle Book opens in the key markets of China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, Brazil and Mexico, as well as North America.
Another early international release, The Huntsman: Winter’s War did not fare so well. With $ 20 million from 18 markets, the sequel to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman opened below Universal’s expectations. The origins story – featuring Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain, but sans Kristen Stewart, star of the first movie – still topped some key markets: the UK, Mexico and Hong Kong. There are still 47 territories to go, including China e North America.
On the specialty front, the video-game inspired stunt fest Hardcore Henry hit 12 offshore markets this weekend including Russia, the UK, Finland, Norway, Poland, Hungary, Greece and Portugal for a $2.1 million gross. Domestically the (literally) nausea-inducing first-person shooter pic (helmed by first time director Ilya Naishuller) opened in fifth place with a paltry $ 5 million take, in spite of a heavy sell geared towards the videogame crowd, especially males between 17-34.
Next week we’ll see whether The Jungle Book maintains its glowing performance as it expands into the US, Canada and a whole slew on major international markets and follow the openings of Barbershop: The Next Cut, the latest in Ice Cube’s successful franchise; the Kevin Costner starrer The Criminal and the thriller Green Room, directed by indie sensation Jeremy Saulnier (of Blue Ruin fame).