Game over already for Adam Sandler's Pixels?
By Rich Matthews
The days when Adam Sandler made mega-bucks comedy blockbuster do now appear to be resolutely behind the former Saturday Night Live star. The $90m-plus-budgeted Pixels from Sony and directed by Chris "Harry Potter" Columbus limped into US cinemas this weekend at number two, grossing a meagre $24m. It is doing so-so business overseas, so is coming up on $50m worldwide, but Sony is likely going to have a big loss on this one.
Disney claims that its holdover, Ant-Man, narrowly pipped Pixels to the top spot with $24.8m for a domestic tally of $106.1m and global gross of $226.5m, suggesting it should pass Marvel's lowest grosser so far, 2008's The Incredible Hulk, both foreign ($128.6m) and domestic ($134.8m), as long as it can stay strong in the face of upcoming rivals Vacation (29 July), Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (31 July), and (the main threat) the Fantastic Four reboot from Fox (7 August).
Overall, the weekend was up a decent 2.4 per cent over the same frame last year thanks to a higher calibre of films than 2014's Lucy and The Rock as Hercules. At three, Universal/Illumination Studios Minions spinoff continued to do rampant business ($22.1m, $261.6m US, $759.4m worldwide), suggesting it could end nearing 2013's Despicable Me 2 size grosses ($368m US, $970.8m worldwide). At four, it looks like Amy Schumer/Judd Apatow comedy Trainwreck may have seen little impact from the horrific Lafayette, Louisiana cinema shooting – although there may have still been a slight dip in overall attendance across the board – managing a strong $17.3m for a domestic gross of $61.5m. At five, Antoine Fuqua's gritty boxing flick Southpaw, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and scripted by Sons of Anarchy scribe Kurt Sutter, actually overperformed (the ONLY new release to do so), grossing $16.5m, while fellow debutante Paper Towns could only muster $12.5m ($28.5m global), a mere shadow of fellow John Green adaptation The Fault In Our Stars' $48m last year – but that film did have Shailene Woodley from the Divergent franchise.
At number seven, Pixar's Inside Out continued to delight ($7.4m, $320.3m, $550.1m), as it became the Disney brand's third highest US earner behind Toy Story 3 ($415m) and Finding Nemo ($339.7m). It's possible that the Pete Docter-directed animation could well pass Nemo by summer's end. It also sits at eighth on the studio's worldwide chart – sandwiched between Brave and Cars 2 – but it has some big markets still to conquer.
Talking of conquering, Jurassic World landed at eight this weekend, becoming the third highest domestic grosser in history in the process with $623.8m, passing The Avengers, just as it did last week to becomes the third highest worldwide grosser ever with $1.54bn. It won't worry Titanic ($658.7m, $2.2bn) or Avatar ($760.5m, $2.8bn), but is nonetheless the success story of the past three years. The chart was rounded out by Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock in Mr Holmes ($2.8m, $6m), and Arnold Schwarzenegger watching his movie career blink out like a terminator's eye as it sinks into molten metal as Terminator Genisys ($2.4m, $85.7m, $305.1m) now looks likely to top out domestically at $90m, which if you adjust for inflation, easily makes it the least successful in the franchise.