Men in Black: International Crash Lands with $25 Million Domestic Opening Weekend

Early box office estimates published Friday report Sony’s Will Smith-less Men in Black revival, starring Marvel co-stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, will open to #1 but with a franchise worst of $25 million domestically.

A mid-day Friday update from Deadline reports an estimated $10 million Friday following opening night Thursday previews of $3.1 million. The estimated $25m comes as ComScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak reveals exiting polls have won just a 44% “recommend” from general audiences. Kids under 12 give MiB 4 stars and parents and general audiences 3 stars.

Late May tracking reported the sequel-slash-spinoff was expected to win a $40m opening weekend, still down from the $69m won by its predecessor — the Smith and Tommy Lee Jones-led Men in Black 3 — over Memorial Day weekend in 2012.

That was before critic scores were released: the $110 million-budgeted International carries a 24% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, second only to dead on arrival X-Men sequel Dark Phoenix (23%) as the worst of the summer among major releases.

ComicBook.com’s Charlie Ridgely praised charismatic and capable leading duo Hemsworth and Thompson — teamed a third time after Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame — but criticized a lack of cohesion, an ineffectual story, and a clunky, wheel-spinning adventure that spans the globe.

A lukewarm moviegoing week will see Universal’s The Secret Life of Pets 2 drop 53% to add an estimated $20m, while Disney’s strong holding Aladdin will take around $14.7m. New Line’s Shaft is headed for fourth place with $8.5m, followed by Paramount’s Rocketman (5th, $8m) and Dark Phoenix (6th, $7.6m).

It’s the calm before the storm as Disney-Pixar’s well-received Toy Story 4, out June 21, is projected by some for a $200m opening weekend, according to Deadline.

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This latest Men in Black sequel is set in the same universe as the first three Barry Sonnenfeld-directed hits, which grossed a combined $1.6 billion worldwide, but centers on a pair of franchise newcomers: hotshot Agent H (Hemsworth) and rookie Agent M (Thompson), who must combat shapeshifting aliens infiltrating the Men in Black.

F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton, The Fate of the Furious) directs from a script by Transformers: The Last Knight scribes Art Marcum and Matt Holloway. Men in Black series producers Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald again produce alongside series executive producer Steven Spielberg (Ready Player One).