Sometimes it feels like Hollywood is just one giant recycling center: In goes the existing intellectual property, out come the sequels, remakes, reboots, and adaptations. So it’s a little sad when a movie not based on something people already love flops, if only because it could hurt the chances of execs investing more regularly in original ideas. Skyscraper, the movie where The Rock jumps off a crane into a really tall building, is about as unoriginal as “original” visions get. As a mediocre action movie, it didn’t exactly “deserve” to become a giant hit. All the same, the film’s underperformance this weekend threatens to send the wrong message to a studio system already reluctant to bank on anything without built-in appeal. Maybe audiences could just tell that it wasn’t going to be very good, and weren’t simply rejecting a blockbuster without a franchise brand.
Skyscraper debuted with about $25 million—a good $10 million less than what Dwayne Johnson secured on the opening weekends for Rampage, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, and Central Intelligence, though it did a little better than Baywatch, which is based on something audiences presumably remember. At the reported cost of $125 million, this disaster-movie vehicle is going to need to do gangbusters business overseas to look like anything less than a big disappointment for its big star. The film landed in third place on the box-office charts, with Hotel Transylvania 3 taking the top spot. Opening to $45 million, Adam Sandler’s animated sequel did almost exactly as well as its two predecessors, despite the fact that Incredibles 2, the highest-grossing animated movie in the U.S. ever, is still going strong. (The Pixar mega-hit has officially crept into the top ten of domestic hits, edging out The Dark Knight with its $16-million fifth weekend.)
The Rock couldn’t climb past Ant-Man And The Wasp either, though it wasn’t all great news for Marvel’s smallest heroes: Scott Lang’s second adventure is one of only a handful of MCU titles to fall out of first place in its second weekend, losing almost two-thirds of its audience for a $28-million encore showing. Not that any studio bigwig is going to look at those returns and see anything less than an imperative to keep turning something old into something new. Thankfully, audiences seeking genuinely original stories—as opposed to only technically original ones, like a Die Hard knockoff in a towering inferno—found them elsewhere. Boots Riley’s Sorry To Bother You expanded into more than 800 theaters, cracking the top ten with a solid $4.2-million second weekend. And Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade opened to about $252,000 at just four theaters, which gives it a per-screen average of $63,000—the highest of the year, edging out Isle Of Dogs. In a summer of sequels, they offered a glimmer of fresh fun.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.