Box Office: 'Jason Bourne' scores with $60 million debut, 'Bad Moms' hits big

Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:14pm EDT
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By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES ( - Audiences turned out in force to see Matt Damon in "Jason Bourne," pushing the spy sequel to a sterling $60 million debut.

The film marked the actor's return to the action franchise after a nine-year hiatus, during which he repeatedly hinted that he might be done with his most popular role. He and director Paul Greengrass argued that 2007's "The Bourne Ultimatum" had brought the character full circle by filling in him on the shadowy bureaucratic maneuvers that transformed him into a killing machine. What was left?

Be it creative spark or big paydays, the pair were somehow lured back to the series. That's good news for Universal, which ran the risk of losing a Tiffany franchise without Damon's involvement. In the interim, the studio had made an ill-conceived attempt at cinematic universe building with "The Bourne Legacy," introducing Jeremy Renner as another amnesic ass-kicker dubbed Aaron Cross. The crowds didn't exactly flock to see this sub-Bourne, and the film grossed about $150 million less than "The Bourne Ultimatum" globally.

As a sign of Damon's appeal, audience surveys reveal that the actor's presence above-the-title was the second most frequently cited reason that people turned up for "Jason Bourne."

"It's no secret that people were anticipating a reunion of [Damon and Greengrass]," said Nick Carpou, Universal's domestic distribution chief, adding "Putting the team back together made smart business sense."

"Jason Bourne" marks the series' second highest opening, behind "The Bourne Ultimatum's" $69.3 million debut. When adjusted for inflation, however, it trails all but "The Bourne Legacy's" opening weekends. Universal spent $120 million to make the latest installment and released it in 4,026 theaters.

"It proves that this is a franchise that's still viable and that it can continue if they want to keep making them," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore. "'Jason Bourne' is the perfect title for this film, because that's who everyone wanted to see return."

Aaron Cross...not so much.   Continued...

Luciana Barroso and actor Matt Damon arrive for the Universal Pictures movie premiere of "Jason Bourne" at Caesars Palace hotel-casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., July 18, 2016.  REUTERS/L.E. Baskow