Mike Banning may have dropped out of favor as a Secret Service agent in the third installment of Gerard Butler's Fallen series, but not in the eyes of domestic audiences.
Angel Has Fallen easily topped the box office with a $21.3 million debut, according to studio estimates Sunday, as the action sequel became the latest mid-budget release to find modest success in the often quiet late summer.
Lionsgate and Millennium's Angel Has Fallen, the action-packed political thriller, hit first place at the box office on its opening weekend, grossing about $21.3 million in the United States and Canada. It brought in nearly the same amount as its prequel, "London Has Fallen," did when it opened in 2016, making roughly $21.6 million in ticket sales. The first film of the series, Olympus Has Fallen, earned $30.3 million over its opening weekend in 2013.
The Lionsgate film beat expectations going into the weekend, opening similarly to the previous 2016 installment London Has Fallen. The film series stars Gerard Butler as a Secret Service agent protecting the U.S. president played by Morgan Freeman. In Angel Has Fallen, Butler's agent is wrongly accused of trying to assassinate the president.
Going back to 2013's Olympus Has Fallen, the franchise has been a quietly consistent performer, taking in roughly $200 million worldwide each time. Angel Has Fallen, produced for about $40 million by Millennium Films, is poised for a similar course, opening just shy of the $21.6 million London Has Fallen debut.
David Spitz, president of domestic distribution for Lionsgate, pointed to the film's A-minus CinemaScore and 94% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes (far better than the 39% critic score) as good word-of-mouth harbingers for the continued playability of "Angel Has Fallen" through the last weeks of summer.
"That's a great sign that the movie is going to be in theaters for a long time," Spitz said. "Over-performing this weekend and exit polls suggesting we're going to have a nice long runway is terrific."
Angel didn't receive the warmest reviews from critics (the movie holds a mere 39% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes). But its star-studded cast, which also includes Jada Pinkett Smith and a grizzled Nick Nolte, presumably contributed to its success with audiences. According to Comscore, which compiles box-office data, the movie had a stronger opening weekend than was expected.
Universal's Good Boys, which debuted last weekend at the top of the box office, grossed about $11.8 million domestically in its second weekend. The R-rated original comedy follows the misadventures of a gang of foul-mouthed sixth graders, and cost about $20 million to make. According to Comscore, it's already grossed roughly $49 million in cumulative global sales.
Some of the bigger films are still expanding around the globe, though. The Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw opened this weekend in China -- where the high-octane franchise has regularly thrived -- grossing $102 million and pushing the film to a worldwide total of $588.9 million.
Disney's The Lion King, after seven weeks of release, still ranks among the top four films domestically and has now passed $1.5 billion worldwide. That ranks ninth all-time, not accounting for inflation.
Overcomer, Sony's faith-based film about a cross-country runner from the brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, came in third, grossing about $8.2 million in its opening weekend.
However, the acclaimed Fox Searchlight horror release Ready or Not, about a bride forced into a deadly game of hide-and-seek with her new in-laws, got off to a lackluster start. It took in $7.6 million in ticket sales and $10.6 million since opening Wednesday.
Among specialty releases, Amazon's Brittany Runs a Marathon, about a young woman (Jillian Bell) who devotes herself to running to lose weight, scored the weekend's most packed theaters. It debuted with a per-theater average of $35,194 in five locations.
And Roadside Attractions' Peanut Butter Falcon made an impression in expansion, taking in $3 million from 984 theaters. The film stars Zack Gottsagen, who has Down syndrome, Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson.
At No. 7, Sony's The Angry Birds Movie 2 added $6.4 million in its second weekend. In eighth place, Lionsgate's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark added $6 million in its third weekend. At No. 9, Paramount's Dora and the Lost City of Gold added $5.2 million. Rounding out the top 10, Sony's Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood added $5 million in its fifth weekend.
MovieStyle on 08/30/2019
Print Headline: Falling up: Latest in Fallen series takes top spot