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Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse easily won the Memorial Day box-office race, devouring the family-friendly Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Apocalypse grossed $65.3 million for the three-day weekend, putting its four-day holiday gross at an estimated $80 million from 4,150 theaters, 30 percent behind Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past ($110 million). The big difference between the two films: Apocalypse was lambasted by many critics, who conversely adored Days of Future Past, released over Memorial Day weekend in 2014.
Heading into the weekend, tracking suggested the male-skewing Apocalypse would gross $85 million-$100 million. Fox, however, was more conservative, predicting closer to $80 million.
On Friday afternoon, the $178 million superhero tentpole looked like it would take in $90 million or more, but traffic slowed as the evening wore on. Globally, Apocalypse is in good shape. The mutants took in $55.3 million from 79 markets internationally for a foreign total of $185.8 million (it opened in numerous markets a week ago) and a global cume of $265.8 million through Monday.
“We’re very happy with this result as we introduce new characters in the X-Men universe,” said Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson. “And for us to be at this number globally already means we’re in good shape.”
James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne and Lucas Till are among those reprising their roles, while a raft of new actors joins the franchise. The latter category includes Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse, Alexandra Shipp as Storm, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, Olivia Munn as Psylocke, Sophie Turner as a young Jean Grey, Ben Hardy as Anel and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler. Also, Hugh Jackman makes a cameo as Wolverine.
While Apocalypse came in slightly behind expectations, Disney’s big-budget Alice Through the Looking Glass altogether bombed. Alice 2, receiving dismal reviews across the board, grossed $27 million from 3,763 locations over the three-day weekend for an estimated $34.2 million four-day debut — 70 percent behind Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, which opened to a stunning $116 million in spring 2010 (the original was a major 3D event).
In a public relations nightmare for star Johnny Depp, Through the Looking Glass rolled out in theaters just as the actor’s wife, Amber Heard, was granted a restraining order after alleging Depp previously assaulted her. Box-office observers believe the scandal likely impacted the movie (35 percent of those turning up cited Depp as a reason for seeing Alice 2, compared to 50 percent for the first Alice).
Projections for Alice 2 kept being revised downwards throughout the weekend, a sign of poor word of mouth (on Sunday, for example, the four-day estimate was $35 million). Family-friendly films generally see a sizeable uptick on Saturday; Through the Looking Glass — which had been expected to open to $55 million or more — tumbled 7 percent.
Females made up the majority of the audience (57 percent), while adults (57 percent) beat out families (32 percent).
“It’s disappointing. The domestic opening is wildly less than what every tracking service had us at,” said Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis. “We’re in the tentpole business. More often than not, they turn out to be huge successes. We’ll continue to take those big bets. In this instance, it didn’t turn out as we hoped.”
Hollis added that the film’s A- CinemaScore is a promising sign.
The film fared even worse than Disney’s ill-fated Memorial Day offering last year, Tomorrowland, which flopped after earning $42 million over the four days. Disney can certainly withstand the hit; the studio is crossing $4 billion in 2016 global box-office revenue faster than any company in history, thanks to juggernauts Captain America: Civil War ($1.11 billion), Zootopia ($992 million) and The Jungle Book ($880 million), which overtook Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice ($871.1 million) over the weekend to rank as the No. 3 film of the year to date.
Alice 2 sees Depp once again star as the Mad Hatter, while Mia Wasikowska reprises her role as Alice. However, Burton didn’t return to direct Through the Looking Glass; instead James Bobin, who helmed the Muppets franchise for Disney, took over directing duties. The film cost $170 million to produce.
Overseas, Alice 2‘s debut was mixed with $65 million from 77 percent of the marketplace for a global debut of $99.2 million. The movie did well enough to top the foreign chart, led by China with $27.1 million. The tentpole also did well in Latin America, but struggled in some key European countries, including the U.K. ($3.2 million).
And in some markets where they went head-to-head, Legendary and Universal’s video game adaptation Warcraft beat Alice 2. In total, Warcraft took in $31.6 million from 20 territories two weeks before it debuts in North America on June 10. Warcraft made its best showing in Russia with $10 million, the second-biggest weekend of the year to date after Deadpool. That was followed by a strong $5.9 million in Germany and $4.5 million in France.
Among holdovers, Sony and Rovio’s The Angry Birds Movie crossed the $229 million mark globally. Placing No. 3 domestically in its second weekend, the animated film earned $24.6 million from 3,932 theaters over the weekend for a total of $72.3 million. Overseas, it grossed another $31.8 million for a foreign cume of $157.2 million.
Holding at No. 4 was Disney and Marvel’s juggernaut, Captain America: Civil War. The superhero tentpole took in $19.7 million from 3,395 cinemas, good enough to pass up Deadpool ($362.8 million) to become the No. 1 film of the year to date domestically with $377.2 million.
Universal’s R-rated comedy Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising rounded out the top five with $11.4 million from 3,416 theaters for a domestic total of $40.7 million through Monday. Internationally, the comedy has earned $36.5 million for a global cume of $77.2 million.
Shane Black’s The Nice Guys slipped to No. 7 in its second weekend. The Russell Crowe-Ryan Gosling comedy took in $8.1 million from 2,865 theaters for a domestic cume of $23.5 million and early worldwide cume of $28.5 million.
Amazon Studios and Roadside’s Jane Austen adaptation Love & Friendship expanded at the specialty office, placing No. 9 with an estimated $3.1 million from 493 theaters for a pleasing domestic total of $4.1 million.
Also at the specialty box office, IFC/Sundance Select’s Anthony Weiner doc Weiner grew its cume to $344,938 as it expanded into 27 theaters in its second weekend, grossing $216,270 for a location average of $8,010.
May 30, 8 a.m. Updated with revised numbers.
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