7:49am PT by Pamela McClintock
Weekend Box Office: 'Skyscraper' Crushed by 'Hotel Transylvania 3'
An animated Dracula and crew got the last laugh at the weekend box office, trumping Dwayne Johnson's action pic Skyscraper in a major upset.
Sony's Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation easily placed No. 1 in North America with $44.1 million from 4,267 theaters, compared to a wincing $25.5 million from 3,782 theaters for Skyscraper.
Overseas, Hotel Transylvania 3 likewise beat Skyscraper for the weekend with $46.4 million from 44 markets for a global cume of $100.2 million, including special Amazon Prime screenings in the U.S. and early foreign grosses. Skycraper took in a muted $40.4 million from 57 markets, although it doesn't land in China until July 20. There was plenty of competition for eyeballs this weekend, between the final World Cup soccer match, the Wimbledon final and people going on holiday.
Hotel Transylvania 3 — proving the power of family fare amid a sea of male-dominated pics — opened behind the $48 million domestic launch of the last film in the profitable, second-tier animated franchise. Notably, it's the first time the series has braved the competitive summer corridor; the first two films opened in September.
"We expected a three-horse race and we are incredibly happy to be number one. It's a very competitive market," says Sony president of worldwide marketing and distribution Josh Greenstein, adding that launching the film in summer means strong midweek business because of kids being out of school.
Costing $80 million to produce before marketing, Hotel Transylvania 3 follows Dracula (Adam Sandler) as he takes a cruise with his nefarious pals, only to fall in love with the captain of the ship (Kathryn Hahn). The voice cast also includes Selema Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, Jim Gaffigan and Mel Brooks, with Genndy Tartakovsky directing.
Disney and Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp followed at No. 2 with $28.8 million. The superhero sequel fell more than 60 percent in its second outing, one of the steeper declines for a Marvel Cinematic Universe title. Last year, Sony and Marvel's Spider-Man: Homecoming tumbled 62 percent to $44.2 million in its sophomore weekend, which likewise followed the robust July Fourth corridor.
Ant-Man 2 continues to pace well ahead of the first Ant-Man, which finished its second weekend with a domestic total of $106.2 million — compared to $132.8 million for the sequel. Overseas, Ant-Man 2 took in another $35.3 million for a foreign total of $150.9 million and $283.7 million globally.
At No. 3, Skyscraper came in well behind expectations, raising concerns that Johnson has become overexposed. The action pic — the actor's fifth film in 14 months — cost Legendary and Universal a hefty $125 million to $129 million to produce before marketing and will need to be a sizable player overseas in order to come out in the black.
So far, however, international returns are also disappointing. Legendary and Universal are counting big time on China, where Johnson's Rampage earned $156.4 million earlier this year, almost half of its entire foreign gross.
Universal domestic distribution president Jim Orr says Skycraper will be fine both domestically and globally by the end of its run. "We have a lot of summer left, and our audience is very broad. And Dwayne Johnson is literally and figuratively the biggest movie star in the planet, and we're thrilled to be in business with him," says the exec.
Skyscraper — billed as Die Hard meets Towering Inferno — had hoped to mimic the performance of earthquake disaster pic San Andreas, which debuted to a better-than-expected $54.6 million two summers ago and boosted Johnson's standing as a leading man. Instead, the pic is one of the actor's lower openings for any film, although not as bad as Baywatch in summer 2015 ($18.5 million) or Pain & Gain in spring 2013 ($20.2 million).
Skyscraper stars Johnson as a former FBI hostage rescue team leader and amputee now assigned to provide security for a towering skyscraper in China. He must spring into action when his wife (Neve Campbell) and children are trapped inside the world's tallest building after villains set fire to it. Rawson Marshall Thurber, who made Central Intelligence with Johnson, wrote and directed.
The pic's CinemaScore was B+. Hotel Transylvania 3 earned an A-.
Disney/Pixar's Incredibles 2 and Universal's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom rounded out the top five in North America with $16.2 million and $15.5 million, respectively. Incredibles 2, which has fast become the top-grossing animated pic of all time, grossed $33.3 million internationally from 43 markets for a global haul of $856.9 million. Jurassic World 2 followed with $26.7 million offshore for a worldwide total of $1.134 billion.
The U.S. specialty box office delivered strong results on several fronts, fueled in large part by a pack of films that premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival (save for Whitney, each of the films mentioned below played at the 2018 edition of the storied fest).
Expanding into a total of 805 theaters in its second weekend, Annapurna's Sorry to Bother You, a sci-fi comedy about a black telemarketer in Oakland who adopts a white accent to get ahead, rocketed to No. 7 upon grossing $4.3 million for a 10-day cume of $5.3 million.
Neon's acclaimed documentary Three Identical Strangers moved up the chart to No. 13, grossing a stellar $1.2 million in its third weekend from 167 theaters for a U.S. total of $2.5 million. Identical Strangers came in two spots behind Focus Features' specialty hit Won't You Be My Neighbor?, the Fred Rogers doc that earned another $1.9 million from 868 locations over the weekend for a U.S. cume of $15.8 million.
In its second weekend, Roadside Attractions and Miramax's Whitney Houston doc Whitney saw its theater count reduced by roughly 40 locations. Whitney, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May, earned $535,385 from 408 locations for a 10-day total of $2.4 million.
Among new offerings, A24's Eighth Grade passed up Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs to deliver the best opening screen average of the year so far with $63,071. The critically acclaimed film, written and helmed by Bo Burnham in his feature directorial debut, stars Elsie Fisher as a middle schooler who tries to find her place in the age of social media.
Eighth Grade debuted in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, grossing $252,284.
Gus Van Sant's Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot likewise debuted in four theaters, logging a screen average of $20,780. The Amazon Studios film stars Joaquin Phoenix as real-life cartoonist John Callahan, who discovered his artistic calling after being permanently paralyzed at age 21 and getting sober.