Box Office: ‘Skyscraper’ Crushed by ‘Hotel Transylvania 3’

‘Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation’ opens to $44.1 million in the U.S., while Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Skyscraper’ only scales $25.5 million; ‘Eighth Grade’ passes with flying colors at the specialty box office.

An animated Dracula and crew got the last laugh at the weekend box office, trumping Dwayne Johnson’s action pic Skyscraper in a major upset.

Sony’s Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation easily placed No. 1 in North America with $44.1 million from 4,267 theaters, compared to a wincing $25.5 million from 3,782 theaters for Skyscraper.

Overseas, Hotel Transylvania 3 bit off $46.4 million from 44 markets for a global cume of $100.2 million, including special Amazon prime screenings in the U.S. and early grosses internationally.

The Sony threequel — proving the power of family fare amid a sea of male-dominated pics — opened behind the $48 million domestic launch of the last film in the profitable, second-tier animated franchise. Notably, it’s the first time the series has braved the competitive summer corridor; the first two films opened in September.

“We expected a three-horse race and we are incredibly happy to be number one. It’s a very competitive market,” says Sony president of worldwide marketing and distribution Josh Greenstein, adding that launching the film in summer means strong midweek business because of kids being out of school.

Costing $80 million to produce before marketing, Hotel Transylvania 3 follows Dracula (Adam Sandler) as he takes a cruise with his nefarious pals, only to fall in love with the captain of the ship (Kathryn Hahn). The cast also includes Selema Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, Jim Gaffigan and Mel Brooks, with Genndy Tartakovsky directing.

Disney and Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp followed at No. 2 with an estimated $29 million-$30 million. The superhero sequel fell more than 60 percent in its second outing, one of the steeper declines for a Marvel Cinematic Universe title. Last year, Sony and Marvel’s Spider-Man Homecoming tumbled 62 percent to $44.2 million in its sophomore weekend, which likewise followed the robust July Fourth corridor.

Placing No. 3, Skyscraper came in well behind expectations, raising concerns that Johnson has become overexposed. The action pic — the actor’s fifth film in 14 months — cost Legendary and Universal a hefty $125 million-$129 million to produce before marketing, and will need to be a sizable player overseas in order to come out in the black.

So far, however, international returns are likewise disappointing. Skyscraper debuted to an estimated $41 million-$43 million from its first 57 markets timed to its U.S. launch. Legendary and Universal are counting big time on China, where Skyscraper unfurls on July 20. Earlier this year, Johnson’s Rampage earned $156.4 million in the Middle Kingdom, almost half of its entire foreign gross.

Skyscraper — billed as Die Hard meets Towering Inferno — had hoped to mimic the performance of earthquake disaster pic San Andreas, which debuted to a better-than-expected $54.6 million two summers ago and boosted Johnson’s standing as a leading man. Instead, the pic is one of Johnson’s lower openings for any film, although not as bad as Baywatch in summer 2015 ($18.5 million) or Pain and Gain in spring 2013 ($20.2 million).

The movie stars Johnson as a former FBI hostage rescue team leader and amputee now assigned to provide security for a towering skyscraper in China. He must spring into action when his wife (Neve Campbell) and children are trapped inside the world’s tallest building after villains set fire to it. Rawson Marshall Thurber, who made Central Intelligence with Johnson, wrote and directed.

The movie’s CinemaScore was B+. Hotel Transylvania 3 earned an A-.

Disney/Pixar’s Incredibles 2 and Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom rounded out the top five in North America with roughly $16 million each (the exact order won’t likely be decided until Monday when final weekend numbers are tallied.)

The specialty box office delivered strong results on several fronts, fueled in large part by a pack of films that premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival.

Expanding into a total of 805 theaters in its second weekend, Annapurna’s Sorry to Bother You, about a black telemarketer in London who adopts a white accent to get ahead, rocketed to No. 7 upon grossing $4.3 million for a 10-day cume of $5.3 million.

And A24’s Eighth Grade passed up Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs to deliver the best opening screen average of the year so far with $63,071. The critically acclaimed film, written and helmed by Bo Burnham in his feature directorial debut, stars Elsie Fisher as a middle schooler who tries to find her place in the age of social media.

Eighth Grade debuted in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, grossing $252,284.

Ditto for four theaters for Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far, which logged a screen average of $20.780. The Amazon Studios film stars Joaquin Phoenix as real-life cartoonist John Callahan, who discovered his artistic calling after being permanently paralyzed at age 21 and getting sober.

More to come.

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