Franchise fatigue continues with ‘Men in Black’ and ‘Shaft’

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brand familiarity isn’t everything when it comes to attracting audiences to the multiplex, and Hollywood is learning that lesson the hard way this summer with a slew of underperforming sequels and reboots. That so-called franchise fatigue came to a head this weekend with the releases of “Men in Black: International” and “Shaft.”

The writing may have been on the wall after neither an X-Men movie (“Dark Phoenix”) nor a Godzilla movie (“Godzilla: King of the Monsters”) could get moviegoers enthusiastic enough to turn out. But this weekend, down over 50% from last year, is the worst yet.

“This was a rough weekend,” said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “We’ve had some big franchises that are not resonating with audiences or critics.”

And there’s a common denominator between all the recent disappointments: Poor reviews. All four have been certified “rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Men in Black: International” took the No. 1 spot in North America, but it’s a dubious distinction for the Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth-led reboot which isn’t exactly the franchise-revitalizer it hoped to be. Sony Pictures on Sunday estimates the F. Gary Graydirected film earned only $28.5 million over the weekend against a reported $110 million production budget. The three previous “Men in Black” films all opened to over $50 million not accounting for inflation.

However, international audiences are helping the bottom line with the film earning $73.7 million from 36 markets, bringing its global total to $102.2 million.

Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Men in Black: International,” $28.5 million ($73.7 million international).

2. “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” $23.8 million ($8.5 million international).

3. “Aladdin,” $16.7 million ($47.5 million international).

4. “Dark Phoenix,” $9 million ($24.2 million international).

5. “Rocketman,” $8.8 million ($8.5 million international).

6. “Shaft,” $8.3 million.

7. “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” $8.1 million ($14.1 million international).

8. “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,” $6.1 million ($6.2 million international).

9. “Late Night,” $5.1 million ($255,000 international).

10. “Ma,” $3.6 million ($2.3 million international).