Men in Black: International, Sony’s reboot of Men in Black with Thor: Ragnarok thespians Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, arrived on tracking this morning with a $40 million start. The pic opens June 14.
While lower than the $50M-plus three-day total of the previous Will Smith-Tommy Lee Jones movies, Men in Black: International isn’t being launched over the holiday frames like those pics, and it’s the studio’s means of taking the franchise in a new direction. Whether this film pops further will boil down, natch, to reviews and word of mouth.
The original 1997 Men in Black opened at a time when the star system still worked at the box office, and it was Smith’s subsequent July 4th opener after being crowned the B.O. king of the holiday with 1996’s Independence Day.
The reported $110M-budgeted MiB: International was co-financed by Hemisphere and Tencent and takes place in the same universe as the previous trilogy, with Emma Thompson reprising her role as Agent O, head of MIB, etc. F. Gary Gray directs. As Deadline reported recently, Men in Black: International is being boosted by a promo campaign worth $75M from such brands as Lexus, Paul Smith suits and Zaxby’s.
Also going wide that weekend is New Line’s Shaft from director Tim Story, which we hear has the potential to do $20M-$22M. If those numbers hold four weeks from now, they will be on par with the opening of Paramount’s 2000 Shaft movie starring Samuel L. Jackson ($21.7M opening, $70.3M domestic). The conceit of the new pic reflects the previous Shaft universe, with Richard Roundtree reprising his role as the elder Shaft from the 1971 original and Jackson along for the ride too. Jessie T. Usher stars as John Shaft Jr., a cybersecurity expert with a degree from MIT who enlists his family’s help to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death.
Also opening over June 14-16 is The Dead Don’t Die, Jim Jarmusch’s Focus Features zombie comedy that opened the Cannes Film Festival, and Roadside Attractions’ R-rated drama American Woman, starring Aaron Paul, Sienna Miller and Christina Hendricks in a story about a woman who raises her young grandson after her daughter goes missing.