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.