For 'Christopher Robin,' Outselling Tom Cruise Is an Impossible MissionAugust 5, 2018
LOS ANGELES — “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” once again dominated the North American box office, blowing past a new, computer-generated version of Winnie-the-Pooh (and Tigger too) to generate an estimated $35 million in ticket sales.
Starring Tom Cruise, “Fallout” (Paramount) has now taken in $124.5 million in the United States and Canada and about $330 million worldwide, according to comScore, which compiles box-office data. Despite its fantastical plot, “Fallout” relies on reality — real stunts filmed in real locations — which provides a thrill that superheroes in computer-generated worlds cannot, analysts said. “Fallout,” the sixth chapter in the “Mission: Impossible” film series, has also benefited from exceptional reviews.
“Christopher Robin” (Disney) was second. The PG-rated movie, which cost $70 million to make and tens of millions more to market, sold about $25 million in tickets in North America, a respectable start if still a long way from profitability. It received mixed-to-positive reviews and finds Pooh, Piglet and Eeyore reminding the now grown-up Christopher (Ewan McGregor) about the meaning of life.
“Christopher Robin” may have a hard time making up the slack overseas. China, which restricts the number of American movies that play in its theaters, declined to give the film a release date. Chinese authorities, per usual, did not give a reason. (Maybe Disney has already received its share of slots? Maybe regulators thought the movie was too twee? Maybe there is still sensitivity about President Xi Jinping being compared to Pooh? All of the above?)
Rival studios were eager to position “Christopher Robin” as a misfire for Disney, which has achieved runaway success at the box office over the last three years. Among the six biggest film studios, Disney currently ranks No. 1 in terms of domestic market share for 2018, with 35 percent. The next closest studio is Universal, with 14 percent.
Truth be told, “Christopher Robin” can lose money and still be considered a success inside Disney. If nothing else, the film raised the profile of the 92-year-old Pooh, who still generates more than $1 billion in merchandise sales annually for Disney. “Christopher Robin” also represents an improvement from Disney’s previous attempt at big-screen glory for the befuddled bear: “Winnie the Pooh” only took in $27 million over its entire run in 2011. (It only cost about $30 million to make, however.)
Third place for the weekend went to “The Spy Who Dumped Me” (Lionsgate), an action comedy starring Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon. It took in a modest $12.4 million.
Also arriving in wide release was a lightly marketed, poorly reviewed science-fiction thriller called “The Darkest Minds,” which cost 20th Century Fox roughly $34 million to make and sold $5.8 million in tickets. “Death of a Nation” (Quality Flix), the latest far-right polemic from Dinesh D’Souza, collected an estimated $2.3 million.