Universal learned that keeping Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass together for another “Jason Bourne” was a smart move after all the drama that ensued some years back. The studio decided they could replace Damon with Jeremy Renner, who did well in the role, but audiences definitely missed the original Jason Bourne.
Between the return of Matt Damon as super spy “Jason Bourne,” the promise of laughing along with a few fed-up ladies in the raunchy comedy “Bad Moms” and the dark internet thriller “Nerve,” all of which had strong debuts, there was something new for everyone in theaters this weekend.
Even after a nearly 10-year hiatus, Matt Damon as Jason Bourne still draws a significant audience. The Paul Greengrass-directed sequel raked in a healthy $60 million in its opening weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Not adjusted for inflation, it’s the second highest opening of the series, behind “The Bourne Ultimatum’s” $69.3 million debut in 2007 — the last time Damon appeared as the Robert Ludlum-created character.
With a nine-year gap between films, Universal kept awareness high in the lead up to the release with airings of the Matt Damon “Bourne” trilogy on eight of NBCUniversal‘s networks. Social media channels also pushed out a video where Matt Damon recaps the previous three films in 90 seconds.
“In the exit polls, the No. 1 reason for people checking it out was the previous films,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “Audiences were ready for it and satisfied.”
According to exit data, audiences were 55 percent male, and 60 percent over the age of 35.
The original R-rated comedy “Bad Moms,” from the writers of “The Hangover,” also had reason to crack open the champagne this weekend. The STX Entertainment film, starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn as a trio of moms on the edge, blew past its $20 million budget to take in earning $23.4 million in its first days in theaters.
An estimated 82 percent of the audience was female, and 48 percent were over the age of 34. “Bad Moms” earned solid A CinemaScore from first weekend audiences, indicating that the film should continue to gain traction in the coming weeks.
“This was a classic case of counter-programming,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “To compete on that level with two of the biggest names in box office history (‘Bourne’ and ‘Star Trek’) is impressive. It tells you that late in the summer, this is what people are looking for — something different and edgy.”
“Bad Moms,” which debuted at No. 3, just barely missed second place to “Star Trek Beyond,” which fell 59 percent in its second weekend in theaters with $24 million. The Paramount sequel has earned $105.7 million to date.
“The Secret Life of Pets” continues to perform extremely well, taking fourth place with $18.2 million even after four weekends in theaters. The Illumination Entertainment and Universal film has earned a total of $296.2 million.
In fifth place, the micro-budget thriller “Lights Out” took in $10.8 million. The film cost only $5 million to make and has already grossed $42.9 million.
The youthful thriller “Nerve” also did well, taking in $15.1 million since launching on Wednesday. It earned $9 million over the weekend for an 8th place finish. Starring Dave Franco and Emma Roberts, “Nerve” cost a reported $20 million to make.
Overall, the box office is up nearly 30 percent from this weekend last year and up 3 percent for the year.
“This has been a summer with some of the biggest ups and downs that I’ve ever seen,” Dergarabedian said. “This is the late summer push that we’ve all been hoping for.”
Next week should prove even bigger too with the release of “Suicide Squad.”
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “Jason Bourne,” $60 million ($50.1 million international).
2. “Star Trek Beyond,” $24 million ($13 million international).
3. “Bad Moms,” $23.4 million.
4. “The Secret Life of Pets,” $18.2 million ($29.5 million international).
5. “Lights Out,” $10.8 million ($8.1 million international).
6. “Ice Age: Collision Course,” $10.5 million ($19.5 million international).
7. “Ghostbusters,” $9.8 million ($10.7 million international).
8. “Nerve,” $9 million.
9. “Finding Dory,” $4.2 million ($23.6 million international).
10. “The Legend of Tarzan,” $2.4 million ($22.4 million international).
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:
1. “Jason Bourne,” $50.1 million.
2. “League of Gods,” $30 million.
3. “The Secret Life of Pets,” $29.5 million.
4. “Finding Dory,” $23.6 million.
5. “The Legend of Tarzan,” $22.4 million.
6. “Skiptrace,” $20.5 million.
7. “Ice Age: Collision Course,” $19.5 million.
8. “Operation Chromite,” $14.7 million.
9. “Star Trek Beyond,” $13 million.
10. “Train to Busan,” $12.6 million.