War For The Planet of the Apes Dominates The Box Office
The third instalment in the rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise claimed the top spot at the US box office with an estimated $56 million. Once again directed by Matt Reeves, Andy Serkis returns as Caeser, the leader of the militant ape rebellion and is forced into a deadly last stand against a ruthless human army.
Despite overwhelmingly positive reviews and being one of the best films of the year, War came in more than $16 million below the previous sequel's (Dawn) opening weekend back in 2014. Thankfully, the international box office paints a different picture with more than $46 million taken, and it's only open in a third of the planned territories so far.
Spider-Man: Homecoming dropped one place to number two with a solid second weekend of $45 million. The first film in the Marvel Studios/Sony deal has a current global total of $470 million and will swing over the half a billion mark in the next couple of days. Edgar Wright's super cool crime caper Baby Driver has now racked up more than $73 million in the US and is on the verge of a global total of $100 million. Sony has already asked Wright to think about a sequel, but it remains unclear if Wright will make it his next project.
Despicable Me 3 is well on its way to joining the $1 Billion Club with more than $619 million after less than three weeks on release. We can expect news of the inevitable Despicable Me 4 or Minions vs. Gru announcement before the end of the summer. After a successful limited release, Michael Showalter's The Big Sick expanded to more screens and climbed three places to number five with a healthy $7.6 million for the weekend. The semi-autobiographical romantic comedy written Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon is shaping up to be the sleeper hit of the summer.
2017 has been another odd year for returning franchises at the US box office. Most have been struggling to build their US audiences this year with a number of high-profile sequels grossing significantly less domestically. Cars 3, Pirates 5, Transformers: The Last Knight, Alien: Covenant, xXx 3, Resident Evil The Final Chapter and even the mighty Fast and Furious 8 all took a noticeable dip. Admittedly, the latest Furious sequel still clocked up $1.2 billion worldwide, but it grossed almost $130 million less than Furious seven domestically.
I think the pattern here is that long-running franchises are having a challenging time and US audiences are tiring of more of the same. Take Logan for example, Hugh Jackman's victory lap as Wolverine after seventeen years offered viewers something different with a brutally raw farewell. Unsurprisingly, Logan made more money than the previous two Wolverine spin-offs and X-Men: Apocalypse.