WEEKEND MOVIES: “Meg” challenges “Mission,” but not in reviews

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The giant prehistoric shark thriller “The Meg” opens to indifferent reviews, and middling box office expectations.

A $23 million opening for a reported $150 million film won’t please the accountants, but the Chinese investment, co-stars and setting suggest that’s where the box office expectations lie.

Reviews aren’t helping. With popcorn pics, they don’t dampen fan enthusiasm for a picture people are dying to see, but in this case — a 45 at Metacritic and a whopping 50 at the broader sample (less exclusive, greener reviewers allowed in) Rottentomatoes won’t convince an indifferent audience to change its mind.

That will make for a neck and neck race at the box office with “Mission: Impossible–Fallout,” one of the best MI movies and something of a late summer phenomenon. It heads into the weekend closing in on $150, and should end it around $170-175 million 17 days after release.

The best reviewed new film of the weekend is “BlackKklansman,” a return to funny, politically/socially relevant form for Spike Lee (with a producing assist from Jordan Peele). It could catch fire, but nobody sees any evidence of that at this point. An $11 million weekend is projected. It’s good enough to make money on into September, if audiences find it.

“Slender Man” isn’t awful, just an attempt to substitute style for scares in a horror film that doesn’t come off. It’ll still flirt with $10 million this weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. 

Will Disney’s “Christopher Robin” overperform an expected 50% drop at the box office on its second weekend and manage over $13 million? Doubtful.

 

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