Secret Life of Pets 2 Pitty-Pats to Top

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Pets 2 MM

Technically, summer isn’t even here yet. But at the box office, it already feels like we’re in its dog days.

As expected, The Secret Life of Pets 2 pawed its way to the top of the box-office stairs, but it did so with more a half-hearted growl than a full-throated howl. The animated sequel earned an estimated $47.1 million during the traditional three-day weekend. That’s less than half of what the 2016 original did. Add in the grosses it picked up during advance screenings and the money it pulled in overseas, and Pets 2 has earned a relatively meek $97 million. It’s possible that the movie’s (ahem) purr-view at the top may be a short one.

Indeed, it feels like the whole industry is whining a bit. After the “summer” got off to a spectacular fiscal start with Avengers: Endgame (released way back in the last week of April), followed by the strong debuts of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and Aladdin. But Godzilla: King of the Monsters stumbled a bit in its win last week, and Pets 2 never truly got off its leash. Even though it seemed like movie houses was starving for some new entertainment for the kiddos, Pets 2 proved to be low in kibble, high in bits.

Interesting note: All of the movies listed above are cinematic sequels or rehashes. Could it be that moviegoers are just tiring of at least some Hollywood retreads?

Still, Pets 2 topped Dark Phoenix, the weekend’s other high-profile rookie. The latest chapter in the X-Men series indeed proved to be dark … for its backers at 20th Century Fox (which is now owned by Disney), at least. The action flick flopped with critics and was scorned by audiences, earning just $33 million. That’s the first time an X-Men movie has fallen short of $50 million, according to Box Office Mojo. And this in a superhero-saturated age where fans would pony up more than that just to watch Tony Stark clear his throat for two hours.

Still, Disney can console itself with the continued strength of Aladdin, its live-action remake of the classic cartoon. It finished third with $24.5 million, which makes it the year’s third highest-grossing movie. It trails Disney stablemates Endgame (which has earned a staggering $824.4 million now) and Captain Marvel ($426.4 million).

Godzilla might’ve triumphed against his arch-nemesis Ghidorah in his namesake movie, but the box office this weekend proved to be a far more formidable opponent. Just a week after claiming the top spot, Godzilla: King of the Monsters tumbled all the way to fourth place with a $15.5-million take. It did, however, stave off the Elton John biopic Rocketman ($14 million for fifth place), proving that the King of all Monsters can still beat a bespectacled piano wizard with a thing for sequins.

Will the box office be able to shake off its summer-ish doldrums next week? It’ll be up to another sequel—Men in Black International—to put the box office back in the black.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 9 days ago
I loved Secret Life of Pets 2, maybe not as much as the original, but still thought it was a very nice movie to watch with some interesting new characters brought in. On the other hand all the previews of Toy Story 4 makes it seem dumb as heck, so I doubt I'll be wanting to see that one anytime soon.
Anonymous 8 days ago
Toy Story 3 was awesome, so why spoil the ending with another? Unfortunately I will probably end up seeing both that and SLOP 2. Oh my goodness. I didn't know that Pet initials spelled that!! :)  But I have certain parties in my family who will be begging to view those two. 
-Emma Bibliophile
The Kenosha Kid 8 days ago
I agree -- Toy Story 3 had a perfect ending about putting aside childish things and passing them down to the next generation. It was incredibly touching and brought the series to its natural end point. Making a fourth film seems crass and cynical.

Although given Pixar's track record, I wouldn’t be surprised if the new movie wins me over with its charm.

-- The Kenosha Kid
Anonymous 10 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Glad to see not that many people turned out to see the sequel to that Toy Story knockoff. It’s good to see audiences actually get smarter and not just watch whatever’s playing in theaters.

As for Dark Phoenix, I guess I see now why Feige won’t be introducing the X-Men in the MCU for a while. He probably wants to work with a clean slate, and wants some distance between Fox’s X movies and his.

@Plugged In Staff
I’ve been told that A-Non-Mouse was one of the people banned during that whole impersonation cleanup that happened a few weeks ago. If I may ask, could you do the right thing and allow him to come back, considering he didn’t do anything wrong? Thanks.
Anonymous 10 days ago
I hated Secret Life of Pets. It was kind of a rude parody of some of the great pet stories, like The Incredible Journey or Lassie Come Home, but without the long distances traveled. 
@Plugged in Staff I second FCG's request. Mouse wasn't rude, and he didn't impersonate anyone. He got impersonated by someone saying rude stuff. 
-Emma Bibliophile
Karl The Klown 9 days ago
I thought you were glad that Mouse was gone?
Anonymous 9 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I am, but that doesn’t mean I think that it was fair for him to get banned for no reason.
Anonymous 10 days ago
I find it interesting that those movies were all sequels.  Maybe people are looking for a new series or something?  Or something original.

fishyperson1000 (I like fish, I don't mean I'm fishy)
The Kenosha Kid 10 days ago

You just hit upon my pet peeve about the contemporary movie industry: aversion to risk.


Sequels have a built-in audience, so the industry doesn’t have to drum up a new audience by marketing a movie based on marquee movie stars and respected directors. Instead studios rely on pre-existing characters who have already proven their box office muscle. More often than not, the directors are relative unknowns who have a strong incentive to stick to the same tropes that have proven successful in the past (like the last few Jurassic Park movies). They just have to make their movie bigger, louder and more extravagant than the last entry in the franchise.

 

You can actually trace it back to the end of the New Hollywood era in the late ‘70s, when Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate (a grandiose, expensive, massively flawed art film) flopped and Steven Spielberg’s Jaws ushered in the modern blockbuster era. The trend has accelerated in recent years, for a lot of reasons: studios being run like big corporations instead of traditional art-centered studios, the rise of streaming, the importance of overseas markets, etc.

 

There are still ambitious directors with the freedom to forge their own paths: Paul Thomas Anderson, Christopher Nolan, the Coen Brothers, Quentin Tarantino, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Lee.

 

But some of the older visionary directors – Martin Scorsese and David Lynch come to mind – have turned to streaming and premium cable. It’s no coincidence that the so-called golden age of TV, which started in the early ‘00s, coincided with the rise of franchise moviemaking.


-- The Kenosha Kid

Anonymous 10 days ago
That's why I like musicals. Those don't have sequels. Not that I don't enjoy sequels, but most musicals stand on their own. 
 My movie pet peeve is movies that don't live up to the amazing book they were based off of, mostly because instead of making a story better (How to Train Your Dragon is a good example) they make it worse due to messing up the important details of the story. (Anne of Green Gables...The Wizard of Oz...) 
-Emma Bibliophile
Anonymous 10 days ago
Originality is always a plus, fishy. (I like fish too.) Frankly I believe people should read more good books, of which there is vastly more originality than that spawn of theater, movies. 
 I've noticed a trend toward revamping on netflix too, with the new Veggie Tales and Magic School Bus. (I hate them both. They are cheap watered down versions of the originals) 
-Emma Bibliophile
Anonymous 10 days ago
Thanks for all your comments!  I see what you all are saying :)   
Anonymous 9 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I for one am glad they’re bringing back the REAL Veggietales.
Anonymous 9 days ago
@First Comment Guy

They are?  I hadn't heard of that.

fishyperson1000
Anonymous 8 days ago
They're bringing back Veggie Tales? That's crazy. I was raised on them, but I could not stand VeggieTales In the House. There was a slab of bacon. Bacon. I was flabbergasted. 
 But what would this "Bringing back real Veggietales" entail? Bringing back the classics? Or making new ones in that are similar to them? 
-Emma Bibliophile
Awesomepants Films 8 days ago
Emma, they are making new ones in the style of the old ones, and the original creators such as Phil Vischer are returning to work on it!
Anonymous 7 days ago
Are they going to keep calling it VeggiesTales in the House?  I personally haven't watched them because they changed them.