The action comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard smashed its way to the top of this weekend's domestic box office while the other major new release, Logan Lucky, stumbled out of the gate. In a bit of irony, The Hitman's Bodyguard, an action comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, muscled its way past poor-to-middling reviews (it scored a "rotten" 39 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes), while Logan Lucky, starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Daniel Craig, was not so lucky despite a 93 percent fresh rating from the critic aggregator and was virtually ignored by audiences.
Driven by a Midnight Run-like vibe, The Hitman's Bodyguard stars Reynolds as a bodyguard on a personal and professional downslide who, thanks to his ex-girlfriend (Elodie Yung) is called upon to transport a notorious hitman (Jackson) to a trial at the international court of law at The Hague to testify against a brutal Russian dictator (Gary Oldman). The problem is, the dictator wants the hitman dead before he reaches The Hague so he can go free; and the hitman and the bodyguard would just as soon see each other dead since the were previous adversaries.
Given the star power of The Hitman's Bodyguard and Logan Lucky, studios were no doubt hoping that both films would pull Hollywood out of its summer box office doldrums as the normally lucrative movie-going season limps to an end, and at best had half their wishes granted. According to Variety, the R-rated bodyguard The Hitman's Bodyguard earned $21.6 million at 3,377 locations domestically for a first place finish, followed by Annabelle: Creation, which saw a 55.7 percent drop from its stellar debut weekend to earn $15.5 million at 3,542 locations.
Logan Lucky placed a distant third, however, with only $8 million at 3,031 locations. The returns are no doubt a huge disappointment for distributor Bleecker Street, given the Steven Soderbergh-directed heist comedy (set at the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race) was not only a critical darling, it had the opportunity for attracting a wider audience because of its PG-13 rating.
Rounding out the top 5 was Christopher Nolan's World War II epic Dunkirk at No. 4, which brought in $6.7 million at 3,271 locations for a running domestic cume of $165.5 million, while The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature made $5.1 million at 4,003 locations for a fifth-place finish.
As Hollywood summer box office woes draw to an end, the industry has already found a beacon of hope for its fall season. The big screen adaptation of Stephen King's IT is projected to have the biggest September opening ever with $50 million or more in its first weekend of release after it opens Sept. 8.