HEAT VISION

Box Office: 'Dark Phoenix' Crashes With $33M, 'Pets 2' Top Dog at $47M

Elsewhere, Mindy Kaling's 'Late Night' bowed to an impressive per-theater average of $62,414.
'Dark Phoenix'   |   Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox
Elsewhere, Mindy Kaling's 'Late Night' bowed to an impressive per-theater average of $62,414.

Dark Phoenix failed to rise at the North American box office over the weekend, where the superhero installment was beaten out by the animated offering The Secret Life of Pets 2. Overall, it wasn't a high-earning frame at the nationwide box office, although the specialty box office proved lucrative for Mindy Kaling's Late Night.

Universal and Illumination's animated family film Pets 2 collected $47.1 million on 4,561 screens. The pic earned a middling response from critics, with a 54 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but fared better with audiences, receiving an A- CinemaScore. Forty percent of Pets' audience was under 17 years old, while 62 percent was female.

In the movie, Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart, Harrison Ford, Jenny Slate and Patton Oswalt voice star as a menagerie of family pets that get into various types of mischief while their owners are away.

Pets 2 is the 10th team-up for animation studio Illumination and Universal, with its opening weekend landing in the lower end of those titles, which include 2011's Hop ($37.5 million), 2016's Sing ($54.9 million) and their most recent release, 2018's Dr. Seuss' The Grinch ($67.5 million). While Pets 2 debuted far below the 2016 original's massive $104.3 million, that pic was a box office anomaly and still holds the record for the highest-grossing opening ever for an original film. (The movie went on to take in $875.4 million at the global box office.)

Meanwhile, Dark Phoenix bombed with $33 million in stateside ticket sales on 3,721 screens, the lowest-earning debut for an X-Men film ever. Previously, 2013's The Wolverine was the lowest-opening X-Men title, with a bow of $53.1 million. The last X-Men movie, 2016's Apocalypse, opened to $65 million.

Dark Phoenix, which is the supposed end of a 19-year-long X-Men franchise, currently sits at a 22 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with a B- CinemaScore. The audience was largely male (57 percent), with 56 percent of moviegoers falling between 18 and 34 years old.

Longtime X-Men writer and producer Simon Kinberg makes his directorial debut with the franchise installment that sees Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) turn into her evolved form, with newfound powers that tear the team apart. The movie also features the return of team members like Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Professor X (James McAvoy) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence).

Dark Phoenix, the first X-Men movie released by Disney, opened in 53 territories (all of its international markets save for two, Japan and Indonesia) for an overseas launch of $107 million. China led the foreign box office with $45.6 million in ticket sales, followed by Korea ($5.7 million), Mexico ($5 million) and the U.K. ($4.9 million).

Elsewhere, box office holdover Godzilla: King of Monsters sits at $78.6 million after its second weekend domestically, where it dropped 67 percent to gross $15.5 million over the three days. The latest installment in Warner Bros. and Legendary's kaiju franchise is heavily underperforming at the North American box office, with Warner Bros. picture group chairman Toby Emmerich saying that it is likely that the series' next film, Godzilla vs. Kong, will be pushed back off its March 2020 release date.

At the specialty box office, Amazon Studios' Late Night bowed at four locations in New York and Los Angeles over the weekend, scoring an impressive per-theater average of $62,414 for a total of $249,654.

The comedy-drama, which sits at an 80 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, follows a talk show host (Emma Thompson) who tries to become more current by making an inclusive writing hire (Kaling). Amazon, which will be expanding Late Night nationwide next weekend, picked up U.S. rights to the comedy out of this year's Sundance for $13 million.

Also opening in limited release was CBS Films' Pavarotti, which debuted to $142,500 on 19 screens in several markets across North America. The documentary, which notched a per-screen average of $7,500, has an 84 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Ron Howard directed the film, which features interviews and performances from the late legendary opera singer Luciano Pavarotti.

Another music doc, Echo in the Canyon, which tracks the expansion of the Laurel Canyon music scene, expanded to 14 screens in its third week in theaters, taking in an average of $6,915 per screen.

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