WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Space Jam: A New Legacy ($31.65M) Soars Past Black Widow ($26.3M) to Score No. 1 Finish; Escape Room: Tournament of Champions ($8.8M) Debuts in 3rd Place

Images Courtesy of Disney/Warner Bros./Sony Pictures

After posting a pandemic-record $80.37M opening frame last weekend, Disney’s Black Widow dropped to second place in its sophomore frame with an estimated $26.3M, a 67% decline from its debut. It was knocked from its box office throne by the strong launch by Warner Bros.’ Space Jam: A New Legacy, which grossed an estimated $31.65M in its first weekend thanks to broad appeal that stretched across multiple demos. Elsewhere, the weekend’s other wide opener, Escape Room: A Tournament of Champions, took third place with a debut that was more or less in line with expectations.

Opening in 3,965 theaters, Space Jam: A New Legacy rose above other recent family-oriented sequels such as Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway ($10.1M) and The Boss Baby: Family Business ($16M) thanks to a potent mixture appeal among families with children, adults with a nostalgic attachment to the 1996 original and fans of superstar NBA player LeBron James, who essentially steps into the role filled by Michael Jordan in the previous movie. On the latter front, James’ ubiquitous social media presence (141M followers combined on Twitter and Instagram) served as a built-in marketing tool for A New Legacy, which may have helped make the difference in securing the film a No. 1 opening this weekend.

A New Legacy’s theatrical opening is particularly impressive given that the film was available day-and-date on HBO Max for free to subscribers, which inevitably resulted in some watching the sequel from the comfort of their own homes. The lack of vaccine access for children under 12, in tandem with news of the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, no doubt led some families to refrain from seeing the film in a crowded movie theater, though it’s impossible to know to what extent given that there are no streaming figures being made available for the film’s first weekend.

While the opening weekend for A New Legacy can be counted as a win given the hybrid release strategy and ongoing pandemic, it’s also worth noting the film’s reported $150M budget – a hefty price tag that gives it a relatively steep path to profitability. The film’s ultimate success or failure will hinge on both its international performance as well how well it holds up in subsequent weekends in North America. For what it’s worth, the first Space Jam opened to $27.5M in November 1996 on its way to $90.4M domestic and $230.4M worldwide.

At No. 2, Black Widow’s sophomore weekend drop was fairly steep in the scheme of MCU installments, though the film’s day-and-date Disney+ release – it’s the first MCU title to boast a hybrid release strategy – makes any direct comparison with previous franchise entries difficult. It’s worth noting that not every MCU title has remained atop the domestic box office for more than one frame; among the six entries that have been released in July, only 2015’s Ant-Man and 2019’s Spider-Man: Far from Home remained at No. 1 beyond their first weekend. In any event, on Wednesday Black Widow became the fastest pandemic-era release to reach $100M, a feat it accomplished in just five days (three days faster than F9). Its total now stands at $132M after 10 days of release.

In third place, Escape Room: A Tournament of Champions took in an estimated $8.8M from 2,815 theaters in its debut weekend, coming in significantly below the first film’s $18.24M opening weekend. Playing exclusively in theaters, the $15M-budgeted sequel may have been hurt by the release of several other horror sequels over the past month and a half – A Quiet Place Part II, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It and The Forever Purge – which may have led to audience burnout in terms of genre releases. Luckily, the PG-13 title’s relatively small budget should take the sting out of any underperformance relative to its predecessor, which opened with $18.2M and finished its run with $57M domestically and $155.7M worldwide.

F9 slowed its descent with an estimated $7.6M in fourth place, representing a modest 34% drop from last weekend. The Universal sequel now has $154.8M through the end of its fourth weekend, putting it roughly 5% ahead of Hobbs & Shaw at the same point in its run.

Speaking of Universal sequels, The Boss Baby: Family Business dropped 47% to fifth place with an estimated $4.7M, giving the family release a disappointing $44.6M through the end of its third weekend. Family Business is running 62% behind the first film at the same point in its run, though given the unavailability of streaming numbers it’s difficult to say how much of that drop is due to its hybrid release strategy (it was made available day-and-date on Peacock) and the ongoing pandemic, and how much was due to waning audience interest in the property.

Again speaking of Universal sequels, The Forever Purge grossed an estimated $4.1M in sixth place, also in its third weekend, representing a drop of 34% from the previous frame. The horror sequel has a total of $35.9M to date, putting it 40% behind the pace of previous installment The First Purge, which was previously the lowest-grossing installment of the franchise. Unlike The Boss Baby: Family Business, The Forever Purge was not given a day-and-date streaming release.

Seventh place went to Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II, which grossed $2.3M in its eighth weekend for a total of $155.03M to date.

Opening in eighth place was the Focus Features Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, which took in an estimated $1.9M from 925 screens, good for a per-screen average of $2,050. That’s the biggest opening for a specialty film or documentary so far this year. Notably, the buzzy and critically-acclaimed documentary about the late chef is currently only available in theaters.

Cruella took ninth place with an estimated $1.1M in its eighth weekend of release, bringing its domestic tally to $83.4M.

Rounding out the top 10 was the acclaimed Neon thriller Pig starring Nicolas Cage, which took in an estimated $945k in its opening frame from just 552 screens, giving it a per-screen average of $1,712. Like Roadrunner, the indie release was only available in theaters this weekend.

OVERSEAS

Amid increased restrictions in a number of major territories including Australia, Japan and Korea due to surging COVID-19 case numbers, Black Widow grossed an estimated $29.9M from 48 territories, bringing its overseas total to $132M and its global cume to $264M. The highest-grossing international markets to date for the MCU entry, which has yet to open in China, are Korea ($19.1M), the UK ($15.6M), and France ($11.5M).

F9 took in an estimated $28.65M from 57 territories, including new openings in France ($9.4M) and Germany ($6.8M0. The international total for the Universal blockbuster is now $436.43M, while its global cume is $591.27M. Future key markets slated to open include Japan (August 6) and Italy (August 18).

Space Jam: A New Legacy opened with an estimated $23.01M from 63 markets, including No. 1 openings in Australia ($6.5M) and Mexico ($3.2M) and a second-place finish in the UK ($1.9M).

The Croods: A New Age, one of the strongest-performing films of the earlier phase of the pandemic, grossed an estimated $6.42M overseas, including new openings in the UK ($1M) and Italy ($0.9M). The international total for the animated sequel is now $132.68M, while the global cume is $191.24M.


Studio Weekend Estimates: July 16-18, 2021

Title Estimated Weekend % change  Locations  Average Total Weekend Distributor
Space Jam: A New Legacy 31,650,000 New                 3,965 7,982 31,650,000 1 Warner Bros.
Black Widow 26,251,000 -67%                 4,275 6,141 132,012,671 2 Disney
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions 8,800,000 New                 2,815 3,126 8,800,000 1 Sony
F9 7,620,000 -33%                 3,368 2,262 154,839,000 4 Universal
The Boss Baby: Family Business 4,720,000 -47%                 3,449 1,369 44,642,000 3 Universal
The Forever Purge 4,160,000 -42%                 2,735 1,521 35,911,000 3 Universal
A Quiet Place Part II 2,300,000 -27%                 1,995 1,153 155,028,000 8 Paramount
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain 1,900,000 New                    927 2,050 1,900,000 1 Focus Features
Cruella 1,112,000 -53%                 1,175 946 83,429,517 8 Disney
Pig 945,000 New                    552 1,712 945,000 1 Neon Rated
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard 775,000 -52%                 1,034 750 36,673,131 5 Lionsgate
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway 605,000 -52%                 1,117 542 39,297,000 6 Sony
In the Heights 365,000 -40%                    418 873 29,084,000 6 Warner Bros.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It 330,000 -49%                    390 846 64,555,000 7 Warner Bros.
Zola 270,000 -56%                    533 507 4,275,638 3 A24
Summer of Soul 182,000 -52%                    275 662 1,873,366 3 Searchlight
12 Mighty Orphans 94,800 -30%                    140 677 3,332,969 6 Sony Pictures Classics
Spirit Untamed 55,000 -61%                    910 60 17,485,000 7 Universal
I Carry You With Me 26,752 -13%                    111 241 134,762 4 Sony Pictures Classics
Raya and the Last Dragon 18,000 -46%                      41 439 54,623,580 20 Disney

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