With ‘Angel Has Fallen,’ Another Sequel Takes the Top Spot at the Box Office

IndieWire | 8/25/2019 | Staff
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The weekend showed an unexpected uptick with three new films, led by $21 million for the Gerard Butler sequel “Angel Has Fallen.” It’s a positive sign, although not without mixed messages: The other two openers are low-budget originals with Sony’s faith-based “Overcomer” and the Fox Searchlight horror film “Ready or Not,” which grossed a total of not quite $19 million. The reinforces what’s already known: Given a choice, audience usually prefer the familiar.

With Butler reprising his role as a Secret Service agent extraordinaire, “Angel” follows the blueprint of “Olympus Has Fallen” in 2013 and “London Has Fallen” in 2016. The first was a sleeper, reaching close to $109 million adjusted. The third time around surprisingly opened to the same as “London,” and on a weaker date (the first two were March openings). It’s the first in this franchise for Lionsgate; the prior were the now-defunct FilmDistrict and then Focus.

A- - Cinemascore - Drop - % - Interest

It received a surprisingly strong A- Cinemascore, which is reflected a second-day drop of just 2%. It also reflects the mainstream interest in established action films, and Lionsgate effectively filled the space occupied by “Mission: Impossible” in some recent summers. Smart move, as well as a boost for Butler as a brand name. The last decade has seen him perform best in this series, but with a three-year break it wasn’t certain if he’d retained his appeal.

Released by Sony’s niche label Affirm in fewer than 2,000 theaters, “Overcomer” grossed more than many top-end specialized titles and set some kind of record with a rare A+ Cinemascore and a dreadful 17 Metacritic score (on a four-star scale, one star gets a film 25).

Films - Marketing - Unit - Affirm - Audience

Faith-based films allow for very targeted marketing, and a studio-backed unit like Affirm can find its audience much more effectively than higher-end titles. By comparison, the flailing “Blinded By the Light”...
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