BOX OFFICE: All is lost, as “Men in Black” and “Shaft” are set to underwhelm, “Late Night” goes wide

shaft2.jpegStrip away the run away hits of the summer — those pre-summer phenomena “Avengers: Endgame” and “Aladdin” — and it’s been a near disaster at the box office for any and all concerned.

Another weekend, another rebooted franchise swings and misses.

So it is with the move set to displace “X Men: Dark Phoenix” at the lowered expectations top of the BO heap.

“Men in Black: International,” a classic boardroom-wants-it-and-nobody-else reboot, is riding middling to poor reviews and is set to open at $30 million, in the “Dark Phoenix” ballpark. NOT in the “Secret Life of Pets 2” range.

Box Office Mojo has been on the money by betting low on all its “slumping sequels” opening weekends. It says $28 million, tops, with “Pets 2” coming in at $25 on the last weekend it will enjoy without having to compete with “Toy Story 4.”

As with most of the bloated underwhelmers of this summer, “International” will make its cash abroad, “Godzilla” style.

“Shaft” goes full on action comedy with that rebooted franchise, and it’s also not all that as a movie. But Samuel L. Jackson could lure in $18 million, with a little help from Regina Hall, Richard Roundtree and that dull kid given the Shaft surname for a role he wasn’t up to. Imagine how this might have played with funnier offspring and maybe a villain who is a real part of the picture? Box Office Mojo says nope, $14 million — tops.

“Late Night” is Mindy Kaling’s Amazon Studios take on late night TV work, and has earned decent reviews and a platformed release. Amazon has me blackballed from previews for reasons only they know, but I will get to it eventually. It looks to earn under $5 million in wide release.

No doubt Mindy Kaling will find somebody to blame for that, although she’s used the “white male critics” card already, so who knows?

Indie icon Jim Jarmusch’s deadpan take on zombie movies isn’t out of the gate a critical darling. Without good reviews, how is “The Dead Don’t Die” isn’t likely to scare up much cash, which must have been his only reason for making it.

I mean, Bill Murray’s already done the funny zombie picture thing. The studio knew how bad it was, via their own platformed release, and didn’t even preview it in my top 20 market.

It still could earn $2 million.

Last weekend’s “Dark Phoenix” will fall off a cliff this weekend. “Pets 2” will lose under 50% of its opening audience and “Ma” and “John Wick 3” will have their last weekend in the top ten.


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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