Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weekend Box Office: Never underestimate the giant shark

Illustration for article titled Weekend Box Office: Never underestimate the giant shark
Photo: Warner Bros.

In an outcome that’s both surprising (considering the plop with which it landed with critics) and not surprising at all (because it’s Jason Statham and a giant fucking shark), The Meg was the No. 1 movie in America last weekend. By quite a bit, too—the film outperformed expectations with a megalodon-sized $44.5 million in its opening weekend, more than twice its nearest competitor, Mission: Impossible—Fallout.


Of course, that film is now in its third week in theaters, so some depreciation is natural and expected at this point; however, Fallout fell a relatively soft 43.4 percent, a drop about which daredevil star Tom Cruise must have mixed feelings. Following the thrills of the sixth Mission: Impossible movie at No. 3 came the spills (as in tears, it’s very poignant) of Christopher Robin, Disney’s latest live-action “reimagining” described by our own Ignatiy Vishnevetsky as “nostalgic-emotional pornography,” but not necessarily in a bad way.

Occupying the No. 4 and No. 5 spots were two new releases, very different despite having “Man” in their titles: Slender Man, a PG-13 horror movie whose skittishness about coming too close to a true story only enhances its blandness; and BlacKkKlansman, an R-rated comedy full of edgy auteurist flourishes that confronts some very uncomfortable historical truths. The cynics in the audience will be unsurprised to hear that the mush triumphed, albeit barely, with Slender Man at No. 4 ($11.3 million) and BlackKklansman at No. 5 ($10.8 million). That dynamic may very well reverse in the films’ second weekend, however, as Slender Man got a D- CinemaScore—always a bad sign for word of mouth—and BlacKkKlansman an A-.

They both did better than Ken Marino’s Dog Days, which we’re still not entirely convinced isn’t an elaborate meta-joke a lá Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell’s Lifetime movie. Despite the presence of many cute dogs, Dog Days opened at No. 12 with $2.6 million in wide release, which came out to a measly $1,077 per-theater average. Which brings us to the always-scintillating realm of limited release, where Madeline’s Madeline won the weekly per-screen prize with an average of $20,225 on exactly one screen. That’s followed by Skate Kitchen, which made $17,000 on the one screen where it opened this last weekend, and then by (checks notes)—The Meg, which boasted a fantastic per-screen average of $10,806 as well as the No. 1 spot. That’s because, again, no matter how many times critics say it’s not as much fun as it sounds, Jason Statham fighting a giant shark sounds awesome.