Box Office: John Krasinski’s Ryan Reynolds Starrer ‘IF’ Improves to $35M Opening for No. 1 Finish

Paramount and writer-director John Krasinski are breathing a sigh of relief after IF‘s domestic opening improved to an estimated $35 million thanks to a strong family turnout on Saturday.

Still, the live-action/CGI hybrid film — starring Ryan Reynolds and featuring an A-list voice cast — came in behind tracking’s projected $40 million domestic opening amid an overall tough early summer at the box office. But it could have been worse. Based on Friday’s traffic, the forecast was a bleak $30 million to $31 million.

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Paramount insiders say IF‘s performance is a victory for original fare, noting it is one of the top openings ever for an original live-action PG title. Critics dissed the film, but audiences awarded it with an A CinemaScore and strong exits, which are key ingredients needed for word-of-mouth and a long run as kids begin their summer break. IF is also drawing an ethnically diverse audience, which is another plus. Families made up 56 percent of the audience, while it skewed female (54 percent).

Animated family film The Garfield Movie opens next weekend and is expected to play younger.

Overseas, IF earned a somewhat subdued $20 million from 52 markets for an early foreign total of $24 million (it opened in France and Belgium last weekend) and a global tally of $59 million.

Outside of Pixar titles — which are animated — it’s hard to find original live-action PG fare that’s done gangbusters. Even if many reviewers found flaws with IF, they still commended Krasinski for trying to crack the code, much as he did with horror when creating The Quiet Place movie franchise.

The fantasy pic explores the world of discarded imaginary friends and what happens when a young girl (Cailey Fleming) and her neighbor (Reynolds) try to reunite the IFs with their previous human pals.

The impressive voice cast features Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Steve Carell, Emily Blunt, Louis Gossett Jr., Matt Damon, Maya Rudolph, Jon Stewart, Sam Rockwell, Sebastian Maniscalco, Christopher Meloni, Awkwafina, Blake Lively, George Clooney, Matthew Rhys, Bradley Cooper, Amy Schumer and Keegan-Michael Key. The live-action cast is rounded out by Krasinski, Fiona Shaw, Alan Kim, Liza Colón-Zayas and Bobby Moynihan.

Disney and 20th Century Studios’ male-fueled Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, the only summer event pic so far to exceed expectations, placed a strong No. 2 with $26 million as it crossed the $100 million mark domestically in its first 10 days. Overseas, it earned another $40.6 million from 52 markets for a foreign total of $136.3 million and $237.5 million globally.

Lionsgate’s latest horror offering, The Strangers: Chapter 1, placed third with a notably better-than-expected $12 million. That’s a promising start for a small-budgeted movie that had been tracking to open in the $7 million to $9 million range.

Universal’s The Fall Guy — which kicked off the summer box office in muted fashion despite good reviews and a cast led by Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt — came in fourth with $8.1 million for a domestic total of $63 million through its third Sunday. Its foreign weekend haul was $7.2 million for an overseas cume of $64.6 million and a muted $127.6 million globally.

Another new title on the marquee this weekend is Studio Canal and Focus Features’ Amy Winehouse biopic Back to Black, which is launching nationwide in just over 2,000 cinemas. The movie sang out of tune with just $2.85 million, putting it in a close race with Amazon MGM Studios’ Challengers for fifth place. Right now, Comscore shows the latter narrowly ahead with $1.9 million. The final order will be decided Monday.

Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, Back to Black is far less commercial in scope than a biopic such as Rocketman or Bohemian Rhapsody, and the film has been skewered by a majority of critics. (Its Rotten Tomatoes score was 36 percent as of Sunday.) Focus/Universal acquired domestic and certain international rights for under $20 million from Studio Canal, which produced the movie and worked with the Winehouse estate.

At the specialty box office, Neon’s Babes opened to a solid per location average of $14,277 upon opening in 12 locations. The R-rated comedy is directed by Pamela Adlon from a script by Ilana Glazer and Josh Rabinowitz. Ilana Glazer and Michelle Buteau star.

Amazon MGM Studios opened The Blue Angels in 227 locations to a weekend debut of $1.3 million for a per location average of $5,774. The documentary follows the newest class of the storied Navy and Marine Corps flight squadron.

This story was originally published on May 18 at 9:22 a.m.

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