Suicide Squad Kills; Pete’s Dragon Goes Puff; Ben-Hur Been Gone - Weeks 11-12-13 | Finding Dory | Captain America: Civil War | The Secret Life of Pets

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Suicide Squad Kills; Pete’s Dragon Goes Puff; Ben-Hur Been Gone - Weeks 11-12-13

Finding Dory
Captain America: Civil War
The Secret Life of Pets
Suicide Squad
X-Men: Apocalypse
Pete’s Dragon

This is seriously one of the nuttiest summers ever. We had only one big hit in July and clearly the same is going to be said of August. Why do they even release all these films if people would just rather be home watching Stranger Things on Netflix which probably cost $2 million to make for the entire eight hours?! Look, if it’s between a no-name cast in small-town Indiana or Jonah Hill as an arms dealer in War Dogs, we’re all in on Indiana, right?

Anyhow, let’s get to the one “hit” film of the month as it’s also one of the oddest hits of the year. Suicide Squad blew away expectations and had a spectacular opening weekend with $133.7 million. For a film that had nothing going for it a year ago, a lead-in film like Batman vs. Superman, which left folks disappointed, it was a fantastic showing of brand strength and marketing that Warner Bros. could open the film this well.

Unfortunately, then came the word of mouth from those who actually went to see it and there’s nothing brand strength and marketing can do about that, as Batman vs. Superman will attest. Yes, it still made $43.5 million in its second weekend, yet that’s a drop of almost 70%... an astronomically high figure reserved for films like Bruno, Pluto Nash, Jonah Hex, Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, and of course most recently (sorry Warner Bros) Batman vs. Superman.

Still, despite the drops and disappointing word of mouth, at least my teenage son likes the Suicide Squad soundtrack album, so it does have that going for it. Oh, and it does also have $262.4 million dollars after three weekends. It may be a pu pu platter, but after those tepid $150 million totals in July for better reviewed films, it’s a dish every studio wishes they had.

In what’s been an otherwise beyond historically phenomenal year for Disney, the flopped it again this summer with the Pete’s Dragon remake, which really had as much to do with the first Pete’s Dragon as Peter Parker has to do with Parker Brothers. Granted, you could’ve replaced the original Helen Reddy with any other Helen from Hunt to Mirren and you’d have been better off, but that didn’t seem to be the problem here as it opened with $21.5 million.

It’s just a film that didn’t feel like anything the first film was and didn’t appeal to anyone who didn’t know about that first film. That leaves you with an audience of, well, $21.5 million, despite the Disney brand name and marketing. That’s only $7 million less than what Alice Through the Looking Glass opened with despite a lot more money spent on marketing and promotion for that film, so I guess they shouldn’t feel completely terrible. I love being a glass is half full guy!

Sausage Party, on the other hand, delivered that late summer entree with a $34.3 million opening and has totalled $65.5 million so far off a $19 million budget. Well played, animated potty-mouth food! That’s already more than this summer’s Neighbors 2 and by the time it’s done, I’ll bet it’ll be more than Neighbors 2 and The Night Before combined. Maybe America has spoken. We don’t dislike Seth Rogen, we just only want to see him for what he really is… a wiener.

To show we have truly reached the end of the summer, we had three studios drop movies on us that most will never care about. While the animation and Laika fan in me will want to see Kubo and the Two Strings someday, that day will never be for a $15 Arclight ticket when it’ll be $1.25 at Redbox next month. So sayeth, the $12.6 million opening. Likewise, War Dogs debuted with $14.6 million more than I thought it would by actually opening with $14.6 million. How bad must Suicide Squad be if people are like, “Oh, what they heck, let’s just go see War Dogs than that trainwreck again.” I mean, these are the weeks when Guardians of the Galaxy was making it rain because it was actually an entertaining movie competing with August slop.

Lastly, though, we have to acknowledge the $100 million remake of a film most people under 60 can’t even remember or explain: Ben-Hur. I have vague memories of my parents renting this movie and it coming on two, two I tell ya, VHS tapes because any movie with Charlton Heston deserved to be 212 minutes long. Somehow I can get through four hour-episodes of Stranger Things, but I can’t imagine trying to sit through all of the original Ben-Hur (or more importantly, trying to get my kids to sit through it). Even though the newer film is only two-hours in length, it’s like everyone from Gen X on tapped out on this swords and sandals thing years ago as the new film only started with $11.2 million.

The Top Five If Today Was Labor Day:
#1. Finding Dory - $478.4 million
#2. Captain America: Civil War - $407.7 million
#3. The Secret Lives of Pets - $346.8 million
#4. Suicide Squad - $262.4 million
#5. X-Men: Apocalypse - $155.4 million

by Matt Neuenburg on 08/23/2016

Movies Mentioned in this Post: Ben-Hur, Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory, Pete’s Dragon, Suicide Squad, The Secret Life of Pets, X-Men: Apocalypse
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