The stars of “The Spy Who Dumped Me” sit down with USA TODAY to talk friendship and spy tricks.
NEW YORK – Tom Cruise sped past Winnie the Pooh at the box office to lead all films for the second straight week with an estimated $35 million in ticket sales for “Mission Impossible – Fallout.”
The success of the sixth, stunt-filled “Mission: Impossible” installment, along with muted enthusiasm for the live-action “Christopher Robin,” made for a seldom-seen result: A Disney movie making its debut in second place.
In a year where the studio has already notched three $1 billion films worldwide (“Black Panther,” ”Avengers: Infinity War” and, as of this week, “Incredibles 2”), the more modest Winnie the Pooh revival opened with a relatively ho-hum $25 million. As a reminder that “Christopher Robin” was a minor release for Disney, “Black Panther” on Sunday became the third film ever to cross $700 million domestically, a feat only previously accomplished by “Avatar” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Made for an estimated $75 million, “Christopher Robin” stars Ewan McGregor as a grown-up Christopher Robin reunited with the beloved characters of the Hundred Acre Wood: Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and the rest (who are rendered digitally but look convincingly like stuffed animals). While reviews were mixed, audiences gave it an A grade on CinemaScore.
Cathleen Taff, head of distribution for Disney, says there’s room for nontentpole releases in the Disney slate.
“It’s one of our smaller films, and it’s really focused on character and emotion,” says Taff. “We’re happy with where it’s at and (where it could go), being one of the only family options going forward.”
Taff confirms that “Christopher Robin” has been denied a release in China, locking the release out from the world’s second-largest film market. While China provides no reason for the films it doesn’t select for its theaters, government censors have been blocking images of Winnie the Pooh because bloggers use him to parody Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The late-summer success of “Mission: Impossible” – which has made $124.5 million thus far, along with $205 million internationally – is helping solidify a comeback summer for Hollywood. The summer box office is up 10.6 percent from last year’s record-low season, according to comScore, and year-to-date ticket sales are up 8 percent.
“As we head into what is almost always the slowest month at the summer box office, we have some nice momentum going,” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore.
Not all the news was great. Comedy continues to struggle at the box office. The R-rated action comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” starring Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon, debuted in third with $12.4 million.
Rounding out the top five: ” Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” in fourth with $9.1 million and Denzel Washington’s “The Equalizer 2,” which finished fifth with $8.8 million.
A pair of poorly reviewed releases sputtered in nationwide release. Young-adult dystopian thriller “The Darkest Minds” (19 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes) opened with $5.7 million. And right-wing filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza’s “Death of a Nation” (0 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes) debuted with $2.3 million.
Final numbers are due Monday.
Contributing: Kim Willis
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