If Hollywood was expecting outsized numbers for the weekend, they are waking up disappointed. Ant-Man, in its second week of release, managed to barely stay ahead of Pixels. It was close, Ant-Man grabbed $24.8 million while Pixels had a $24 million opening.
The numbers for Pixels are disappointing for both the studio and Adam Sandler. His box office magic at this point is gone. The film was a departure from his normal template. Pixels was loaded with special effects like a giant Pac-Man and Donkey Kong.
The nostalgic video game characters were not enough to put people in the seats. It had enormous pressure to deliver thanks to its budget and non-stop questionable marketing. Who else remembers those terrible NBA-Pixels ads from the playoffs?
It didn’t help the movie was poorly received by critics. Yes, some will point out that Jurassic World had generally negative reviews, but critics also praised Chris Pratt’s performance. Plus, it had dinosaurs. The movie was an event.
One surprise of the weekend was Southpaw. Drawing a release date against tentpoles like Ant-Man is normally a recipe for disaster. Instead, it hauled in $16 million. The budget for the film isn’t outsized, and word of mouth should help keep it moving along.
In addition to the Ant-Man holdover, Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck grabbed the fourth spot while Minions held onto the third.
The adaptation of John Green’s Paper Towns was the other newcomer to theaters. It grabbed sixth place, grossing just over $12 million. It wasn’t quite the repeat of last summer’s Fault in Our Stars (also a John Green novel), which opened to $48 million. Theaters are packed at this point with plenty of holdovers.
The young adult novel/movie also had to deal with Pixels pulling younger audiences away. Fault in Our Stars was up against Edge of Tomorrow, which did not have quite the overlap in audiences.
A decent weekend for the box office, but everyone is gearing up for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Tom Cruise doing crazy stunts? It’s a popcorn movie, and one I can’t wait watch.