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By R.T. Watson
So far this summer, studios not named Walt Disney Co. are failing to capture moviegoers' attention in a significant way.
Attempting to capitalize on the weekends in which Disney isn't releasing one of its blockbusters, rivals have tried to stand out with sequels and remakes of their own once-successful franchises.
The results have been mediocre at best.
This weekend was no different as Sony Corp.'s "Men in Black International" reboot took the top spot with a meager $28.5 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to preliminary studio estimates.
In a close second place, "The Secret Life of Pets 2," from Comcast Corp.'s Universal, made $23.8 million over the weekend, bringing its two-week total to $92 million. In third place, Disney's live-action reboot of "Aladdin," made $16.7 million domestically, bringing it to a respectable four-week total of $263.4 million.
Premiering this weekend alongside "Men in Black," AT&T Inc.'s Warner Bros. "Shaft" sequel struggled, amassing a paltry $8.3 million. The 2000 version, which also starred Samuel L. Jackson, opened to $21.7 million.
The first three installments in the "Men in Black" series -- all starring Will Smith -- opened to more than $50 million their first weekends. This latest iteration stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, who looked to recapture their chemistry from another cinematic sequel: "Thor: Ragnarok," from Disney's Marvel Studios.
Potentially softening the blow to Sony, the latest "Men in Black" cost half as much as it did to produce the previous installment, 2012's "MIB 3." "Men in Black International" grossed $73.7 million overseas.
Last week, the latest X-Men sequel "Dark Phoenix" -- originally produced by Twentieth Century Fox, which is now owned by Disney -- bombed in its opening. "Pets 2" also fell short of its predecessor in its opening.
Last month, the Warner Bros. movie "Godzilla: King of the Monsters," also a sequel, opened poorly.
Sony will look to regain some traction when its highly anticipated webslinger sequel "Spider-Man: Far From Home" headlines over the July 4 weekend. Universal also still has "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" to look forward to, which is out in August.
But box-office totals in North America are down 7.1% when compared with 2018's bumper year, according to Comscore. Whether the industry manages to match or surpass last year's level will depend a great deal on how well the rest of Disney's programming does.
The studio still has two more big summer plays to make with "Toy Story 4," out next weekend, and then "The Lion King" live-action remake out July 19. Both films are expected to perform well.
Disney kicked off its summer domination by releasing "Avengers: Endgame, " which has risen to become the second-highest grossing film of all time in the domestic market with $830.5 million. The film also ranks second all-time internationally.
Write to R.T. Watson at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 16, 2019 15:03 ET (19:03 GMT)
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