Why Did Everyone Sleep On Midway? War Film Set For 'Surprise' Veterans Day Win

Nick Jonas in Midway

Maybe it shouldn't be surprising for a war film to dominate the Veterans Day weekend box office. But this particular war film -- Roland Emmerich's Midway -- wasn't expected to dominate this particular Veterans Day 2019. And yet, here we are. World War II probably should've taught us not to underestimate Midway!

Going into this weekend, it looked like the Stephen King adaptation Doctor Sleep would rule the weekend. Box Office Mojo was estimating it would take #1 with about $27 million, followed by Last Christmas with $15 million, Terminator: Dark Fate with about $13.4 million, and then Midway with $13 million.

Not anymore! Not even close, it seems.

After Friday's numbers came in, the box office estimates were recalculated. Now Doctor Sleep might be lucky to top $12.5 million across three days, with Midway looking to take the leaderboard with something closer to $18.5 million.

Many war films tend to be critic-proof, and Midway is another one. Reviews have been mixed-to-bad, with 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the RT Audience Score is a much more effusive 90%. Not only that, Midway earned an A CinemaScore from moviegoers polled on opening night. Ticket buyers got what they paid for.

That's not to say Doctor Sleep is getting bad reviews from fans. Not according to what's out there, anyway. Doctor Sleep has a B+ CinemaScore and a 91% RT audience score from 1,403 user ratings. The Shining sequel also has a 7.6/10 rating from 10,791 IMDb users. Meanwhile, Midway has a 6.7/10 rating from 2,122 IMDb users.

So this is great news for Midway. But will it be enough? According to Deadline, a domestic box office of $65 million would be the break even point for Lionsgate with Midway, which reportedly cost $100 million to make. And that's with director/producer Roland Emmerich having to curb his ambitions a bit to keep costs down.

At any rate, this has to be exciting news for Roland Emmerich and the star-studded Midway cast -- including Ed Skrein, who wanted to honor all of the soldiers who fought in the real Battle of Midway; and Dennis Quaid, who explained why Midway was such an important WWII battle; plus Nick Jonas, who grew that mustache.

Vikings star Alexander Ludwig is also one of Midway's stars, playing Lieutenant Roy Pearce, and he posted about the movie's unexpected box office victory:

A photo posted by on

What went wrong for Doctor Sleep? That will be a point of discussion, I'm sure. I'm guessing changes from Stephen King's book, and the 2.5 hour runtime, are probably in the mix. Be sure to check out our full weekend box office rundown tomorrow (Sunday, November 10) for all the details.

Did you see or are you planning to see Midway, Doctor Sleep, or another movie this weekend?

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.