Although the Men in Black organization above all else seeks anonymity, to not stand out in any way and be dismissed just as quickly as déjà vu, Sony is hoping that Men in Black International stands out in a big way and is not dismissed by audiences when it opens in theaters next month. The latest tracking is in for the upcoming spinoff, and Men in Black International is headed toward a $40 million opening weekend.
People with access to the early tracking data, as well as individuals at Sony Pictures, are both pegging F. Gary Gray's Men in Black International to open at $40 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This number is right in line with the long-range tracking of a $30-$50 million domestic debut that came out last month. So if the tracking is right, Men in Black International should land in that neighborhood.
A $40 million debut isn’t quite a ‘push the little red button’ kind of incredible launch for the spinoff, but it would show that audiences haven’t been neuralized and still remember this franchise seven years after Men in Black 3. However, an opening weekend around $40 million for Men in Black International would be the lowest debut for a film in this franchise.
Men in Black opened to $84.1 million in 1997, but it came out on a Wednesday in advance of the July 4 holiday, so its 3-day total was $51 million. 2002’s Men in Black 2 also opened right before Independence Day and enjoyed an $87.2 million 5-day performance and a $52.1 million 3-day performance. The most recent film in the franchise, Men in Black 3, opened on Memorial Day weekend in 2012 and made $54.6 over the Friday-Sunday frame and $69.2 million when factoring in Memorial Day.
So not accounting for inflation, this franchise has overall been pretty consistent with its opening weekend performances and MIB International would be a bit below them. But as mentioned, all of the previous films have opened on holiday weekends and likely benefitted from that even in the 3-day numbers. Men in Black International comes out on Flag Day and that Sunday is Father’s Day, but it will not enjoy the kind of long weekend where people are off work.
The previous Men in Black films had the star power of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, and the latter two were also sequels to a beloved film and had that to their advantage. As a spinoff, Men in Black International has to prove itself. While stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson have major recognizability thanks to their roles in the MCU, neither has really proven to be a box office draw yet outside of those films.
That said, the two actors’ chemistry in Thor: Ragnarok and the proximity of Avengers: Endgame might compel some audiences to see them together in something else. While the tracking has held steady around that $40 million mark, tracking is inexact and Men in Black International could still theoretically see a swing in either direction depending on the final marketing push and the reviews/early reactions to the film.
On the competition front, Men in Black International opens the week after Dark Phoenix and The Secret Life of Pets 2. Opening opposite Men in Black International is the new Shaft, which is R-rated, but unlike some of its predecessors, it's going for a comedic approach. That could make it something of a direct competitor to Men in Black for audiences looking for comedy that weekend.
Jim Jarmusch’s zombie flick The Dead Don’t Die, starring Bill Murray and Adam Driver, also opens that weekend, but that’s a smaller movie and Jarmusch’s work doesn’t usually play to the mass market.
Men in Black International opens on June 14. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see everything headed your way this summer.