Film Discussion

US Box Office Report: 14/07/23 – 16/07/23

Mission: Impossible does a death-defying climb back from the cliff-edge, Theater Camp is overflowing with recruits, and Other Box Office News.

Good morning, Agent Petch.

Last Wednesday, Paramount Pictures released the much-anticipated Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One into theatres nationwide.  Being the studio’s biggest shot for 2023, a sequel to the eighth-biggest film of 2018, one of the most critically-acclaimed films of the year so far, and following on from the surprise mega-success of Tom Cruise’s last headline role in 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick, expectations were high.  Not least because of the $290 million budget being sported, $112 million more than Fallout had.

So, when those Wednesday and Thursday numbers came in at a very disappointing $15.5 million and $8.2 million respectively, the DISCOURSE bots online started coming out declaring Dead Reckoning the latest victim of the Summer of Flops.  The actual three-day performance rebounded to $54.6 million, but that still turning out lower than what another $250 mil+ budget opener of recent times managed to score across its first weekend, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, has only given more fuel to the fire of randos who don’t understand how Box Office actually works.

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Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sufficiently convince anyone who may be susceptible to those DISCOURSE goblins that Dead Reckoning’s opening weekend performance is actually rather promising.  You’ll want to point to the facts that the Friday take was already double Thursday’s ($16.6 million) and, unlike every other three-day opener, was not juiced by Thursday night preview numbers.  There’s also the fact that, to further indicate strong word-of-mouth as if the “A” Cinemascore didn’t already do it, the film increased significantly yet again on the Saturday to a $21.1 million daily haul.  New intel has revealed that Dead Reckoning is shattering franchise records overseas too, pulling in $155 million internationally with series-best openings in the UK, Australia, and a $25.4 million take from the still-lucrative China market, which makes for a worldwide debut of $235 million.

We fully expect certain sceptics to still claim “BOMB” due to the $290 million budget, the fact that this was nowhere near Top Gun: Maverick’s opening, and the inbound Barbenheimer nuke in just a few days.  If/when such a situation arises, Agent Petch, we recommend rebutting each argument in order.  That the $290 million budget, and in fact nearly all mega-budgets for blockbusters in the last few years, is less a sign of studio extravagance gone mad and more the reality of how expensive trying to make pre-pandemic blockbusters during a time of COVID can be (as Dead Reckoning famously was) since the safety precautions for a globetrotting enterprise are not in the least bit cheap.

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(This will also have accounted for Fast X’s budget reaching $340 mil; at least Dead Reckoning is only paying out absurd salaries to one star rather than 20.)  That Top Gun: Maverick was a freak anomaly unlikely to be repeated rather than a yardstick to measure all films against.  And that both Barbie and Oppenheimer are arguably targeting different audiences than Mission: Impossible which, combined with the evidently strong word-of-mouth for Dead Reckoning, should see it through even with both films stealing those premium IMAX screens.

It’s a difficult task.  But we have utmost confidence that you can succeed in your assignment.

Oh, and be sure to tack on at the end a little bit about theatre kid comedy Theater Camp kicking off its run in Limited Release to a very impressive $301,220 on 6 screens, a PTA of $50,203.  That movie looks real fun, we want to see it.

This Full List will self-destruct in ten entries.

US Box Office Results: Friday 14th July 2023 – Sunday 16th July 2023

1] Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

$54,688,347 / $78,491,897 / NEW

So, yeah, not entirely sure why Paramount chose to give this a five-day rollout, but it seems to be just about working for them.  Unless there’s a total collapse next weekend, and I don’t see that happening, Dead Reckoning is gonna do fine.  Dave Bond has a review for you, and I, the M:I atheist (I’M SORRY), will see the thing at some point.

2] Sound of Freedom

$27,280,179 / $85,778,760

The last time I can recall a film earning more on its sophomore weekend than its opening was Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, and the only other time before that (to my knowledge) was The Greatest Showman back in 2017.  Real polar opposites on the quality spectrum there and something tells me Sound of Freedom is not located on the Puss in Boots end.

3] Insidious: The Red Door

$13,001,603 / $58,087,157

Remember when Neil Marshall was the hottest name in British horror cinema, until he pissed all that reputation away on a dogshit Hellboy movie and is now stuck in direct-to-streaming/DVD mines to pay penance?  Turns out he has a new movie, The Lair, that Amy Walker believes is good enough to grant him parole back into reputable society!

4] Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

$12,268,425 / $145,628,290

Dial of Destiny is currently the tenth-highest-grossing movie of the year so far despite it going to lose Disney quite a bit of money; case you want a microcosm of the industry’s health right now.

5] Elemental

$9,099,221 / $125,688,508

Frustratingly hard to love.  Admirable in its ambition, but the rom-com half of the equation just doesn’t crackle like these things should, and the second-generation Asian immigrant aspect (which is great and specifically-drawn enough to avoid lesser comparisons to Turning Red) can struggle to breathe from the screenplay’s busy-ness.  Enjoyable, but mid-tier Pixar.

6] Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

$6,052,660 / $368,800,269

Finally got my rewatch in by taking a friend who had yet to see the film and the way she nearly fell off her seat when the “To be continued…” card appeared.  What an incredible movie.

7] Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

$3,441,343 / $152,785,930

It’s a busy old week over here at Set The Tape HQ!  Lots of new articles for you to get your teeth stuck into!  But don’t let this Johnny English throwback by our Aussie correspondent Lachlan Haycock slip you by!  A plug I’m not just making because I met him in-person mid-hangover over the weekend as he trips around Blighty learning how much better Summers are in his home nation, honest.

8] No Hard Feelings

$3,280,355 / $46,570,526

The movie overall is pretty decent, if ultimately too sentimental for its own good, but the part where a naked Jennifer Lawrence back-suplexes a teenager gets all the stars in the world from me.  Glorious pure cinema, that, and I’m not just saying it because I want to be back-suplexed by a clothed Jennifer Lawrence.

9] Joy Ride

$2,695,461 / $10,737,458

Well, piss.  I wish people would go see comedies in a cinema again.  Ones that aren’t connected to world famous properties (Barbie) or fronted by mega-stars pivoting to a hopefully-prosperous comedy career (No Hard Feelings), I mean.

10] The Little Mermaid

$2,399,436 / $293,965,993

This should likely go without saying given everything I’ve typed here over the years, but solidarity from myself and the STT team with both the striking SAG-AFTRA and WGA members, as well as unions around the world.  Things have been fucked for far too long and it’s time for the ultra-rich CEOs and artistically-barren venture capitalists driving the creative industries off a cliff to be taken down several hundred-thousand pegs.  No quarter!

Dropped out: Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken

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