August is generally a slow month even though it is part of the summer period. But things had turned out very different last year, as the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rode strong to set a record-breaking August box-office figure. We seem to have returned to normalcy this year though, as one after the other, each movie has reported lacklustre figures. Exceptions being Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (which was technically a late July release) and Straight Outta Compton. The latter fell by 56% in its second weekend but still retained its top spot at the domestic box-office as three new releases hardly posed any threat. Straight Outta Compton has now amassed $111 million in North America, marking another fine victory for Universal Pictures. The Tom Cruise starrer Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation keeps second spot at the domestic box-office and has also been brilliant in foreign markets. The movie has grossed $438 million globally so far, and with an opening scheduled in the big market of China next month, I still estimate the movie to reach closer to $700 million before its run ends.
Now we come to the disappointing new releases. Sinister 2 opened with $10.6 million which is weaker than the $18 million opening of Sinister back in 2012. Sequels are supposed to do better than the originals, right? Even by the low-cost production standards of Jason Blum, the opening of Sinister 2 is quite disappointing. It is weaker than each of the three Insidious films, and somewhere close to this year’s Gallows which was made in a tenth of a million. Sinister 2 had a production budget of $10 million, so maybe we could expect it to achieve break-even. But that would be a poor showing in comparison to 2012’s Sinister which was made in only $3 million and went on to rake $78 million worldwide ($48 million in North America). A third part in this franchise is quite unlikely.
The second attempt at adapting the video game Hitman has fared worse than the first. Hitman: Agent 47, which had a production budget of $35 million, opened with only $8.2 million domestically, which is about a third lower than the $13.2 million opening of 2007’s Hitman. The previous movie had managed close to $100 million globally, and if the 2015 reboot achieves a similar tally it should break-even. But that is a big ‘if’. Hitman: Agent 47 would need a stronger performance in the global markets than it has seen in the domestic one. As of now, it has earned about $16.7 million globally; a long way to go (the 8% score on Rottentomatoes will not help)! Oh, this film too comes from 20th Century Fox, who failed miserably at another reboot a few weeks back – Fantastic Four.
The final new release in North America was American Ultra, which too had a sub-$10 million opening despite the leading pair of Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart. It’s a low-budget flick from Lionsgate with only $12 million put in production, but despite that, a weekend tally of $5.5 million does not seem good. I doubt it would have much of a market globally, and so it’s quite likely that we will be forgetting about American Ultra soon. And before I wrap up, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. dropped by a respectable 45% in its second weekend; it has earned $53 million worldwide so far, and it will have to bank hard on the foreign markets because the domestic collections are going to be weak.
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Straight Outta Compton ($26.8 million; second weekend)
2. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation ($11.7 million; fourth weekend)
3. Sinister 2 ($10.6 million)
4. Hitman: Agent 47 ($8.2 million)
5. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ($7.4 million; second weekend)