It unfortunately looks like the domestic fate of Universal’s The Mummy, the first title in the studio’s monster Dark Universe, is sealed: Warner Bros./DC’s Wonder Woman is expected to give the Tom Cruise movie a lesson in manhood at the box office in a respective runoff that’s $60M to $35M-$42M.
As we saw last month with Alien: Covenant and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Mummy is bound to be another case of audience’s fatigue with dusty old summer franchises.
If there was a chance potentially to morph The Mummy into something akin to a Kong: Skull Island at the U.S./Canada box office, it was reviews, but the pack rats on Rotten Tomatoes are pounding Uni’s monster movie to dust at 27% Rotten. Supposedly the net production cost for Mummy is $125M-$130M before P&A, but one vital source tells us it’s more in the $195M range.
Keep in mind that there’s a cap in terms of how high a Cruise movie can open at the domestic B.O. with anything that’s not a Mission: Impossible in the $20M-$37M range; the exception being his record domestic opener, Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds ($64.9M 3-day, $100.6M 5-day). While each of the five Mission: Impossibles have opened between $45.4M-$57.8M, Cruise’s next best opening outside of them is Universal’s Oblivion at $37M (and it’s unlikely that $120M production was profitable off a global take of $286M). The Mummy opens at 7 PM tomorrow and by Friday will be in 4,036 theaters plus Imax and RealD.
But there’s hope for The Mummy, just like there was a life vest for Pirates 5 which yielded a $271.8M opening against its $230M production cost and current running global cume of $514M, and that’s Cruise’s star appeal in foreign lands. A clear indicator that Uni is banking on foreign coin, they traveled The Mummy team to Australia, Taiwan, Spain, France and Mexico City for red carpets.
Currently, industry sources tell us that The Mummy stands to clear $125M-$135M in its overseas release in 63 territories, which when added to its domestic range puts global between $160M–$177M. On the high end, that would be a record global opening for Cruise, besting War of the Worlds which posted a traditional global opening of $167.4M (3-day domestic + 5-day foreign; Box Office Mojo’s $203.1M figure rolls in extra domestic days). After War of the Worlds, Cruise’s next best worldwide debut is Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation ($120.5M).
The Mummy won’t be alone this weekend among new wide releases. While it’s a PG-13 title intended for the masses — earlier in the week it was first choice among males over 25 (12%), guys under 25 (10%) and females under 25 (9%) — A24 will be chipping away any die-hard genre crowds from the Alex Kurtzman-directed monster movie with Trey Edward Shults’ horror title It Comes at Night, which is looking to do $8M-$9M at 2,500 theaters. The pic follows a man (Joel Edgerton) whose family home is besieged by evil. It currently is on the right track for a horror movie with an 87% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score. Riley Keough also stars. Bleecker Street also is going wide in 1,944 locations with its Kate Mara war drama Megan Leavey, which the New York-based distributor acquired from Liddel Entertainment back in January. Critics currently like it at 87% fresh. Industry projections have it at $2M. You can watch the trailer here.
Unwrapping The Mummy‘s overseas prospects
Some even believe foreign could go as high as $150M+, and as always, it comes down to China, which is projected to gross $40M-$50M. Already, The Mummy has broken records in South Korea with $6.6M, the biggest opening day ever in the territory with business spurred by a local holiday. The country traditionally has embraced Cruise. The Dark Universe title also is hitting China, the UK, Mexico, Germany, Australia, Brazil and Russia through Friday. France and Japan come later.
Cruise recently had two big hits in the Middle Kingdom with Mission: Impossible – Rouge Nation ($136M final) and Edge of Tomorrow ($66M), though his Jack Reacher: Never Go Back had few greenbacks at $9M.
Comping to the humor-laced Mummy series that starred Brendan Fraser and kicked off in 1999 is going a long way back, though for argument’s sake, the first film totaled $261M overseas ($416M global) before the sequel faltered and the threequel unwrapped $301M final ($401M global). More recent monster pics like Dracula Untold ($161M overseas) did not feature a star on the level of Cruise. His Oblivion, also with Universal, opened to $60M pretty much day-and-date in 2013, with China coming later to be the ultimate top market at $24M.
This year’s Kong: Skull Island, also a strong comp abroad, opened to $85M without China, which later chimed in for a total $168M (overseas ended with $$398M, global was $566M). Kong‘s draw arguably was good reviews and the titular beast, but again it came with human stars who lack Cruise’s worldwide appeal. Brad Pitt-starring zombie pic World War Z also is seen as a possible comp. In 2013, it opened to $46M international in 25 markets and finaled with $337.6M abroad, $540M worldwide. It didn’t go to China because, well, zombies.
While Rogue Nation is a loaded comp, it’s worth noting that when it bowed in 2015 it was in only 40 markets and did not turn up in China until a month later. The start at historical rates was $64.5M. It ultimately set a benchmark as the biggest 2D film ever in the Middle Kingdom and was the first global tentpole to involve e-commerce giant Alibaba. Important to keep in mind, however, that this Mummy doesn’t have the same franchise momentum behind it.
In other Cruise-driven pics, Edge of Tomorrow opened in only a handful of markets in relatively this same corridor in 2014 with $20.1M. The following weekend it looped $81M and went on to be a big hit in Korea ($38M final) and China ($66M).
As was the case with Wonder Woman a few weeks back, The Mummy’s UK premiere was canceled in the wake of the Manchester suicide bombing. In the interim, London was hit with another deadly terrorist attack last weekend and that again could have an impact on its local box office. Although, the effect hasn’t been as marked in Britain as it was in France in 2015, when turnstiles saw 20% less action after the November 2015 massacres in Paris.
In the UK, The Mummy has been slapped with a 15 -certificate which could entice older audiences but might leave some of the younger folk to stick with Wonder Woman and the third session of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.