In a blow for returning director Steven Soderbergh, his star-studded heist pic Logan Lucky was mowed down at the domestic box office by The Hitman's Bodyguard despite rapturous reviews.
Hitman's Bodyguard also doesn't lack for star power in its two leading men, Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. Lionsgate's action comedy debuted to a better-than-expected $21.6 million from 3,377 theaters to easily top the weekend box-office chart, although it couldn't do anything to stop overall summer revenue from continuing to tumble as Hollywood and theater owners endured the lowest-grossing weekend of the year to date.
Critics snubbed Hitman's Bodyguard, while audiences gave the R-rated pic a B+ CinemaScore. Directed by Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3), the action comedy tells the story of a world-renowned bodyguard (Reynolds) who must protect an infamous hitman (Jackson) who is scheduled to testify. The movie drew its fair share of females (48 percent).
Logan Lucky placed third with an estimated $8.1 million from 3,301 theaters, the lowest nationwide start of Soderbergh's career behind the 2002 space odyssey Solaris ($6.7 million) and the lowest when adjusting for inflation. The filmmaker made the $29 million heist comedy outside the Hollywood studio system by relying on a combination of foreign presales and equity, while raising another $20 million for marketing so as to retain tight control of how the PG-13 pic was sold. Indie distributor Bleecker Street distributed the pic on behalf of Soderbergh's Fingerprint Releasing.
Starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes and Hilary Swank, Logan Lucky follows two brothers (Tatum and Driver) as they attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.
The film — Soderbergh's first in four years after his previously announced retirement — boasts a stellar 93 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but audiences were notably less enthusiastic, giving it a B grade.
No other new movies opened nationwide. Total revenue for the weekend is roughly $94 million-$95 million, behind Super Bowl weekend ($99 million).
Among holdovers, Warner Bros./New Line's Annabelle: Creation came in a strong No. 2 with $15.5 million in its second weekend for a domestic total of $64 million. It declined 56 percent, an unusually good hold for a horror title. Overseas, Annabelle 2 earned conjured up $42 million from 56 markets, enough to beat China blockbuster Wolf Warrior 2 ($36 million), which has amassed a record-shattering $772 million since debuting earlier this month, the majority of which it has earned in China, according to comScore. Annabelle 2's global cume stands at $160.7 million.
Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk is still going strong, placing No. 4 with $6.7 million for a domestic total of $165.5 million and a global haul of $392.7 million. And in a third win for the studio, Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman cleared the $800 million mark at the global box office, including $404 million domestically. (Disney and Marvel's summer superhero tentpole Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. II is still ahead worldwide with $862.1 million.)
Open Road's The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature fell to No. 5 in its second outing, earning $5.1 million for a 10-day domestic total of $17.7 million.
At the specialty box office, the news was grim for filmmaker Geremy Jasper's Sundance Film Festival sensation Patti Cakes$, which opened to $66,000 from 14 theaters for a screen average of $4,714. Fox Searchlight acquired the suburban rapper comedy for $9.5 million following a heated bidding war at Sundance in January.
The Weinstein Co.'s Wind River moved into the top 10 as it expanded into a total of 694 locations, grossing $3 million for a location average of $4,359 and an early domestic total of $4.1 million.
Ingrid Goes West and Good Time both continued to impress in their sophomore outings. From Neon, the comedy-drama Ingrid earned $265,567 from 26 cinemas for a screen average of $10,214 and a cume of $438,685. And A24's crime drama Good Time upped its theater count to 20, earning $173,000 for a screen average of $8,652 and a 10-day total of $349,007.