After a solid, but somewhat underwhelming debut, given the film’s critical pedigree and pre-release buzz, the Tom Cruise-starring Mission: Impossible-Fallout demonstrated some strong staying power with a franchise-low 42.8% second weekend drop as it topped the box office for the second consecutive weekend.  Disney’s “live-action” Winnie the Pooh movie, Christopher Robin, bowed below expectations, while the R-rated comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me, and The Darkest Minds, yet another YA-based “persecuted kids with special powers” property, both failed to gain any box office traction.

August 2017 was a box office disaster (producing the lowest total for the month in 20 years), so the fact that the gross of the top 12 films this weekend was almost 15% higher than the same weekend a year ago when Dark Tower set the mood for the disappointing month with a pitiful $19.1 million opening, should be taken with a grain of salt (or two).

Meanwhile after weeks of trying to earn that last million, The Black Panther has now become only the third film ever (not accounting for inflation) to earn $700 million at the domestic box office, where it now trails only Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($936.6 million) and Avatar ($760.5 million) in raw earnings.

Mission: Impossible-Fallout appears to be taking advantage of earning franchise high approval from the critics (97% positive on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes), and audiences (its “A” CinemaScore beats the previous best “A-“) to break out to a wider audience.  A domestic finish of over $200 million seems assured now given the film’s 10-day total of $125.5 million, and Fallout is running about 21% higher than its predecessor Rogue Nation overseas where Rogue Nation earned $487.6 million, so the franchise remains secure, the big question is, will Fallout be able to maintain its strong performance in the face of a direct challenge from Warner Bros.’ overheated Shark drama The Meg, which hits this coming weekend.

Disney’s Christopher Robin’s $25 million debut was short of expectations, but certainly not a disaster either.  There are a lot of family-friendly movies out now (Hotel Transylvania 3, The Incredibles 2, Teen Titans Go to the Movies, Ant-Man and the Wasp), but few opening over the next few weeks, so Christopher Robin has a path to prosperity available.  While the film only has a 68% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it did receive an “A” CinemaScore from opening weekend audiences, which skewed female (56%), and a bit younger with 50% under 25.

With a production cost of around $75 million, Christopher Robin will have to do fairly well overseas, and it won’t get a release in China (because of the government’s crackdown on the image of Winnie-the-Pooh, due to its use by opposition forces, who accentuate the character’s supposed resemblance to Chairman for Life Xi Jinping).

Weekend Box Office (Studio Estimates): August 3-5, 2018


Weekend Gross



Total Gross



Mission: Impossible - Fallout







Disney's Christopher Robin







The Spy Who Dumped Me







Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again







The Equalizer 2







Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation







Ant-Man and the Wasp







The Darkest Minds







Incredibles 2







Teen Titans Go! To The Movies






Debuting in third place with just $12.3 million was Susanna Fogel’s R-rated comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me starring Mila Kunis and Kate MacKinnon.  This $40 million production struggled in spite of strong promotion from Lionsgate, including nationwide previews last weekend.  Live-action comedy continues, for the most part, to suffer at the box office, and the R-rated segment appears to be increasingly problematic.

Prospects don’t look great at this point for The Spy Who Dumped Me, which earned only a modest “B” CinemaScore from opening weekend audiences, which skewed female (62%) and older (70% over 25).

The next two spots went to sequels Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, which dropped just 39.8% to earn $9 million in its third frame for a 17-day domestic total of $91.3 million, and The Equalizer 2, which dipped 37% as it earned $8.8 million to bring its total to nearly $80 million.

Also suffering a very modest drop was the animated Hotel Transylvania 3, which slid 33% as it earned $8.2 million to bring its domestic cumulative to $136.5 million.

The lowest drop in the top ten belonged to Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp, which slipped just 29.4% as it earned $6.2 million in its fifth week of release to bring its domestic total to $195.5 million, and assuring that it will end its North America run well on the other side of $200 million.

Attempting to replicate its modest success with The Maze Runner trilogy, Fox launched The Darkest Minds, based on yet another YA saga about persecuted teens gifted with special powers (yes, comics fans, another X-Men rip-off).  Unfortunately for Fox, The Darkest Minds earned just $5.8 million, the eleventh worst opening ever for a movie debuting in over 3,000 theaters.

The final two spots in the top ten were both held by animated films.  At #9 Pixar’s The Incredibles 2 slid just 31.9% as it added $5 million to its domestic record (for an animated release) total of $583. 1 million, while Warner Bros.’ Teen Titans Go! To the Movies tumbled 53.3% in its second frame as it earned $4.8 million to bring its North American earnings to $29.8 million.  Warner Bros. isn’t going to lose anything on the Titans movie, which only cost $10 million to produce, but it’s a shame that the funniest DC movie by far is being ignored at the box office.

Also opening this weekend was the new political documentary from the recently-pardoned Dinesh DeSouza, The Death of America, which earned $2.3 million from just over 1,000 venues.

Next weekend the big drama will be the box office fate of Warner Bros.’ shark thriller The Meg, which the studio has withheld from the critics so far, and which will open in nearly 4,000 theaters, plus the debuts of the canine-friendly family comedy Dog Days on Wednesday in 2,500 locations, as well as the weekend bows of the horror film Slender Man in over 2,000 theaters and Spike Lee’s BlackKKlansman, in 1,500 venues.