As expected Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows took the weekend box office crown, but its estimated $35.25 million opening was soft, 46% lower than its predecessor, magnifying a trend from last weekend when both the X-Men and Alice sequels disappointed.  If audiences continue to display these symptoms of “sequelitis,” Hollywood honchos might have to rethink their “more and more of the same” game plan.  Overall box office receipts were almost exactly even with a similarly “soft” post-Memorial Day weekend last year when the R-rated Melissa McCarthy comedy Spy topped the box office with $29 million.

The new TMNT film, which like its 2014 predecessor was produced by Michael Bay, cost $135 million, so Paramount can’t be happy with the film’s domestic debut.  Out of the Shadows will have a hard time earning $100 million in the domestic market, so Paramount is hoping for big things from overseas where the film earned $34 million as it opened in about 40 international markets, but the real test will come when it opens in China where its predecessor earned a substantial $62 million in 2014.

Domestically the new Turtles film played younger than its predecessor with 40% of the audience under 18 versus 27% for the 2014 live-action reboot.   Those under 18 gave Out of the Shadows a solid “A” CinemaScore, which becomes an “A-“ if the grades from the other demos are included.  The opening weekend audience skewed male (54%) and younger (52% under 25).

Second place went to Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse, which tumbled 66%, earning an estimated $22.3 million.  While the percentage drop is not out of line for X-Men movies, which tend to drop faster than Marvel Studios’ releases, the fact that Apocalypse’s domestic opening was so soft means that the film will struggle to make as much in its entire domestic run ($160 million) as Deadpool earned in five days or Batman v. Superman brought in during its opening 3-day weekend.

X-Men: Apocalypse is doing better overseas where it earned $84.4 million this weekend, bringing its overseas haul to $286 million and its global total to over $400 million.  This weekend’s total includes $59 million from China where Apocalypse earned $20 million more in its debut weekend than Days of Future Past.  Unfortunately China is one of the few markets in which Apocalypse is outperforming its predecessor, and Apocalypse will have to play out well overseas to come within $100 million of Future Past’s global tally ($748 million).

Third place went to the romantic drama Me Before You, which beat expectations by earning $18.3 million from 2700 theaters.  With few female-oriented films in theaters now, Me Before You, which is based on Jojo Moyes’ novel about a woman who takes care of a man who paralyzed in an accident, proved to be a very effective bit of counterprogramming thanks to a strong appeal to young women.  Females made up 81% of the audience, and 53% of the crowd was under 35—and they gave Me Before You a solid “A” CinemaScore, so don’t expect this film to disappear anytime soon in spite of its lackluster reviews (just 56% positive on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes).

Weekend Box Office (Studio Estimates): June 3-5, 2016


Weekend Gross



Total Gross



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows







X-Men: Apocalypse







Me Before You







Alice Through the Looking Glass







The Angry Birds Movie







Captain America: Civil War







Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising







Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping







The Jungle Book







The Nice Guys






Disney’s troubled Alice Through the Looking Glass dropped 60.2% in its second weekend as it earned $10.7 million bringing its domestic total to $50.8 million.  It now appears that Through the Looking Glass could end its entire domestic run with a total lower than its predecessor made in two days ($85 million). Overseas revenues fell to $30.9 million for ten-day total of $125.5 million and a global total of $176.4 million.  With a production cost of over $170 million, Through the Looking Glass represents Disney’s first outright failure in the subgenre the studio has created by making live-action films of properties it had originally explored via animation.

Fifth place went to The Angry Birds movie, which dropped 48% as it earned $9.8 million to bring its domestic total to $86.7 million, while Disney’s Captain America: Civil War dropped 50% in its fifth weekend as it earned $7.6 million to bring its 2016-to-date leading domestic total to $388.9 million.  Civil War should make it to $400 million domestically (though not much further), and it has already pushed its year-leading global take to $1.132 billion.

While the R-rated comedy sequel Neighbors 2 dropped to #7 in its third weekend, yet another indication that sequels are underperforming, the well-reviewed, original R-rated comedy Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping bombed as it debuted with just $4.6 million from over 2,300 theaters.  Adam Samberg’s broad parody of the lifestyle of a Justin Bieber-like popstar garnered a strong (for an R-rated comedy) 76% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, yet it couldn’t draw flies at the box office even though it was clearly DOA.

Disney’s The Jungle Book finished in ninth place in its eighth weekend in theaters as it earned $4.2 million to bring its domestic total to $347.5 million, number 3 in 2016 so far behind just Civil War and Deadpool.  The success of The Jungle Book and Civil War aren’t the only reasons folks need not feel bad for Disney because Through the Looking Glass is a flop—this week Zootopia crawled across the $1 billion mark worldwide, not bad for an original animated property.

Be sure to check back here next weekend as a trio of new films open including two sequels, the caper film Now You See Me 2 and the horror movie The Conjuring 2.  Will either of these films be able to buck the current “sequelitis” trend?   Both films have substantial TV marketing campaigns as does the Universal’s Warcraft, which is based on the popular MMORPG, and which has been showing internationally for 2 weeks during which it has earned over $30 million.