Box Office: J-Lo’s HUSTLERS exceeds expectations but still places second behind IT: CHAPTER TWO

Welcome to the Beat’s weekly Weekend Box Office Recap!

The big story of this past weekend was that the female-targeted crime-drama Hustlers, starring Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians) and Jennifer Lopez, far exceeded most expectations with an estimated opening of $33.2 million in 3,250 theaters.

The movie had an amazing social media campaign that played upon the popularity of J-Lo and pop superstar Cardi B, as well as trying to play upon the general frustration among women about our current male-dominated world that keeps giving women the short-end of the stick. The real-life story about a group of New York strippers who drug and rob sleazy rich men was beautifully brought to the screen by writer/director Lorene Scafaria (The Meddler), and it opened after a successful festival premiere in Toronto a week earlier.

Hustlers is officially STXfilms’ biggest release to date, exceeding the 2016 opening of Bad Moms with $23.8 million. That comedy has been the company’s biggest hit to date ever since.  It may be slightly harder to believe, but that is also J-Lo’s biggest opening weekend, making 85% of the total gross of her last STX release Second Act in its first weekend.

I was quite a bit lower on my own prediction and that was even after upping it slightly on Thursday, but this is another example that if you make a female-driven movie, women (and in this case, about 33% men, too) will come. Although Hustlers received a solid 88% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, its CinemaScore was a “B-,” so audiences who saw the movie weren’t as thrilled by it. Ironically, that was also the rating audiences gave Demi Moore‘s Striptease in 1996, although that was a massive bomb.

It: Chapter Two still won the weekend with $40.7 million, down 55% from its opening weekend, with a ten-day gross of $153.8 million, as it’s going to make a play for $200 million or more domestically. The Stephen King adaptation has grossed another $169 million overseas; that’s $323 million globally in just ten days, putting the total of both chapters over the billion mark worldwide.

None of the other movies in the top 10 made more than $5 million this weekend, which should have allowed the Warner Bros. and Amazon collaborative effort on adapting Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer-winning novel The Goldfinch to make a play for the top 5 or maybe even the top 3, right? That isn’t exactly what happened, but I’ll get to that in a second.

Gerard Butler‘s Angel Has Fallen dropped to third place with $4.4 million (down 26%) with $60.4 million grossed in North America. It’s very close to surpassing the $62.5 million grossed by 2016’s London Has Fallen (released by Focus Features), so it should definitely be considered successful.

Universal’s Good Boys ended up in fourth place with $4.3 million (down 22%), as it has grossed $73.3 million so far and is one of the most successful comedies of the year.

Disney’s The Lion King kept roaring in fifth place with $3.5 million, a minimal 18% drop from last weekend, as it remained in the top 5 for an astounding ninth week. Its total gross so far is $534 million domestically and another billion plus overseas, so Disney might want to start thinking of remaking one of those straight-to-video sequels soon.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw took sixth place with $2.8 million, followed closely behind by Sony/Affirm’s faith-based drama Overcomer, which has grossed almost $29 million based on a $5 million production budget. That makes it another hit for filmmaker/star Alex Kendrick.

The aforementioned Goldfinch ended up bombing so badly it’s likely to be among the biggest disasters of the year for Warner Bros. It made just $2.6 million in 2,542 theaters or just over $1,000 per theater, which is absolutely awful for a movie based on such a beloved novel. Directed by John Crowley after the Oscar success of his movie Brooklyn and starring Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright and Finn Wolfhard (also in It this weekend), as well as Oakes Fegley and Aneurin Barnard, the movie also premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) with far less desirable reviews. Despite that, it got a “B” CinemaScore i.e. higher than Hustlers. The Goldfinch’s production budget is reported to be in the $45 million range, which is more than twice that of Hustlers, so Goldfinch will be written-off as a major loss for both Warners and Amazon.

Roadside Attractions’ The Peanut Butter Falcon, starring Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson, made a second attempt to break into the top 10 after falling just outside it when actuals were reported Monday.  This weekend, it made $1.9 million, down just 10% after expanding further into 1,490 theaters, and it has grossed $12 million so far — not bad for the SXSW Audience Award winner — although it has a few returning movies like Dora and the Lost City of Gold and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark still nipping at its heels.

Paramount’s Dora the Explorer movie was probably one of the summer’s bigger disappointments, but it definitely has been sticking around, making $56.7 million as it remained in the top 10 this weekend.

Amazon Studios also made an effort this weekend to get its own festival Audience Award winner Brittany Runs a Marathon, starring Jillian Bell, into some sort of nationwide release with about 757 theaters on Friday. It grossed $1.5 million or $2,000 per theater, good enough for twelfth place but not for much of a further expansion.

The well-received Colombian Oscar selection Monos was released into five theaters in New York and L.A. where it made $43,285 or $8,657 – not great but about par for a foreign release from an unknown filmmaker.

This Week’s Top 10: 

Rank Last Week Rank Movie Studio Weekend Gross % Change Total Gross
1 1 It: Chapter Two New Line/WB $40.7 million -55% $153.8 million
2 New Hustlers STXfilms $33.2 million N/A $33.2 million
3 2 Angel Has Fallen Lionsgate $4.4 million -27% $60.4 million
4 3 Good Boys Universal $4.3 million -22% $73.3 million
5 4 The Lion King Disney $3.6 million -18% $534 million
6 5 Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw Universal $2.8 million -27% $168.3 million
7 6 Overcomer Sony/Affirm $2.7 million -26% $29 million
8 New The Goldfinch Warner Bros. $2.6 million N/A
$2.6 million
9 11 The Peanut Butter Falcon Roadside Attractions $1.9 million -10% $15 million
10 7 Dora and the Lost City of Gold Paramount $1.8 million  -21% $56.7 million

Last year this weekend, Fox’s The Predator led the box office with $24.6 million, a rather disappointing showing, while the Lionsgate thriller A Simple Favor opened in third place with $16 million. Other movies that didn’t open as well included Matthew McConaughey‘s White Boy Rick with $9 million and the faith-based sequel Unbroken: Path to Redemption bombing with $2.2 million in tenth place. The top 10 grossed $94 million which is only $4 million less than this weekend’s top 10.

Check back on Wednesday for my weekly Box Office Preview where I’ll look at three new movies opening on Friday: Brad Pitt‘s Ad Astra, Sylvester Stallone‘s Rambo: Last Blood, and the long-anticipated Downtown Abbey movie.