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Ant-Man beats Pixels to retain US top spot as Southpaw over-performs


Story by Jack Foley

ADAM Sandler suffered another box office blow as his latest film, the family adventure Pixels, missed out on a predicted top spot and only opened to a modest $24 million.

The tent-pole title, directed by Chris Columbus, finds Sandler leading a group of friends into battle with aliens who have used video games from the 1980s to attack Earth. It cost an estimated $88 million to produce.

Instead, Marvel’s Ant-Man remained on top for a second weekend, pulling in an estimated $24.8 million for a 10-day US total of $106.1 million.

But given the lower than expected grosses for several film titles, particularly family-friendly ones, it has been suggested that the fatal shooting in Louisiana during a screening of Trainwreck may have hurt family friendly and younger-skewing titles – or at least made people think before heading to their multi-plex.

There’s also the fact that the summer box office is currently saturated with family-friendly titles that are over-performing as well, with the likes of Jurassic World and Minions continuing to perform well and therefore dividing audiences more evenly across releases.

Certainly, Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer was dismissive of any suggestion that Pixels had under-performed, telling The Hollywood Reporter: “I don’t feel like there is any bad news here. We opened to No. 1 in a lot of countries and exceeded expectations. The gross in the U.S. is okay because this is a world play.”

Pixels wasn’t the only new offering to underwhelm in the US, as the latest John Green Youth Adult film adaptation Paper Towns opened well behind expectations with $12.5 1million as opposed to the $20 million that had been predicted.

By comparison, the last Green adaptation, The Fault in Our Stars, debuted to a stunning $48 million – but was a more popular book than Paper Towns and benefitted from the higher profile casting of Shailene Woodley in the lead role.

The under-performance of some new releases came in stark contrast to Antoine Fuqua’s more adult orientated boxing drama Southpaw, which did better than expected with $16.5 million (thereby beating Paper Towns into sixth spot).

The $30 million film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a boxer who finds success with the gloves on, only to suffer a personal tragedy that finds him having to rebuild his life and career. The film co-stars Rachel McAdams, Rita Ora, Forest Whitaker, Naomie Harris and 50 Cent.

Other adult-leaning titles also did well this weekend, including Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck, which dropped only 43% to $17.3 million. The R-rated romantic comedy has now taken $61.5 million in 10 days – and marks one of the best performances for a Judd Apatow directed movie.

That means the US top five is as follows: Ant-Man leads the way, followed by Pixels, Trainwreck, Minions and Southpaw.

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