Weekend Box Office June 30-July 2: Sony's big risk pays off for 'Baby Driver'

July 2nd 2017

Note: With the unusual extended holiday this weekend, keep in mind that all box office numbers will actually be higher once the July 4th numbers come in.

But to start off, by now, you would think that studios know you can't fool the public. Hiding a film from critics isn't going to convince filmgoers that they should go see it. Now in the case of Sony and their films Baby Driver and Spider-Man Homecoming, and Fox with War For the Planet of the Apes, both studios have been screening those films like crazy for the media over the past few weeks. They know they have winners on their hands, and can't wait to get the word out. They even lifted any press embargoes for reviews on the film to let critics start posting their reviews early to get the buzz started and create anticipation.

However, in the case of Warners Will Farrell/Amy Poehler comedy The House, which opened this weekend, the studio very quietly leaked out that there would be no advance screenings for the film. In other words, this film is so bad, that maybe if no one sees any bad reviews for it maybe they'll go see it. Of course, studios haven't figured out yet that there's this thing called the internet, which means that critics rush out to see the film at the first Friday showing in theaters, then write their reviews and post them that same day. But audiences can always smell a loser, which is why The House has joined the ranks of the box office losers of the summer of 2017, grossing only $9 million — making it the lowest opening for any film starring Poehler or Farrell to date.

In the case of writer/director Edgar Wright's Baby Driver, it seems that a bad idea may have worked out for the studio. Originally, the film was scheduled to be released in mid-August in Sony's attempt to copy the success they had with their horror film Don't Breathe, which was the big breakout box office sleeper hit of late summer 2016. But after some very enthusiastic test previews at SXSW earlier this year, Sony moved the release of the film to this weekend and moved their not-so-anticipated release of Steven King's The Dark Tower with Idris Elba to mid-August.

However, some film journalists are saying that in actuality, the real reason Baby Driver was moved was to salvage Dark Tower, The word of mouth for it  has not been great, the trailer has received a lukewarm response and the release date for the film has been moved by now at least four times , which is never a good sign. So in order to save it, Sony essentially decided to sacrifice Baby Driver in order to give Dark Tower a shot, hoping that somehow a mid-August opening with little competition going against it will somehow make it a box office success. The studio crossed their fingers and hoped that the good word of mouth and reviews for Baby Driver could, just maybe, bring some people in.

But it turns out that Baby Driver was able to go up against the current competition and still come out a winner. The modestly-budgeted film opened with a very good $30 million and that number will go even higher once the holiday numbers come in. Looks like a big risk paid off this time.

The number one film this weekend was Universal/Illumination's animated family film, Despicable Me 3, which grossed $75 million which was about six million less than what Despicable Me 2 opened with. But the big news this weekend, has as it has been so often, is what I call the big drop off.

Last week's No. 1 film, Transformers: The Last Knight, dropped to third place with a 62 percent drop off and $102 million domestically and $429 million worldwide. Though those are big numbers, that makes Last Knight the lowest-grossing film in the franchise to-date and making any future films in the series doubtful. Meanwhile Pixar's Cars 3 dropped 60 percent to fifth place with $120.7 in the U.S. and $173 million worldwide making it one of the worst-performing Pixar films in recent memory though still better than Pixar's The Good Dinosaur, which is still the only big box office flop in Pixar's history, though Cars 3 could join that rare list

All Eyez on Me dropped another 67 percent this weekend after a stunning 78 percent drop last weekend. In the meantime, even though people are saying that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales underperformed domestically, it has still grossed to date over $708 million worldwide, which is the same amount that "Wonder Woman" has grossed worldwide so far as well.

This weekend's top 12 grossers follow below:

1) Despicable Me 3 (Universal)  $75,410,275

2) Baby Driver (Sony) $21,000,000 Total: $30,029,105

3) Transformers: The Last Knight (Paramount)  $17,000,000 Total:$102,103,351

4) Wonder Woman (WB) $16,100,000 Total: $346,644,475

5) Cars 3 (BV) $9,524,000 Total: $120,714,099

6) The House (WB) (NL) $9,000,000

7) The Beguiled (Focus) $3,259,740 Total: $3,579,188

8) The Mummy (Universal). $2,785,260 Total: $74,502,100

9) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (BV) $2,411,000 Total: $165,466,587

10) All Eyez on Me (LG/S) $1,880,000 Total: $42,732,463

11) The Big Sick (LGF) $1,672,200 Total: $2,228,690

12) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (BV) $1,430,000 Total: $383,273,975

by Sergio Mims on July 2nd 2017

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