Sony/Columbia’s SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE swung into first place with a box office total of $120.5M in its first 3 days. It’s the second biggest opening weekend of the year, only falling short of THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE which earned $58.2M in its first two days when it opened on Wednesday April 5th and still had $146.3M left for the Friday-Saturday-Sunday period that followed. ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE was a nose ahead of the $118.4M earned by Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 on its opening weekend last month from May 5th–7th.
ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE’s animated predecessor SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE earned a mere $35.4M in its opening weekend from December 14–16, 2018. This year’s follow up surpassed the earlier film’s total by the end of its first full day in theatres, having a combined gross of $51M after Thursday early previews and Friday’s shows. When all is said and done, ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE will fly well beyond INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, which ended up earning $191.6M domestically and $384M worldwide.
Multiple factors have been pointing towards a strong box office potential for ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE.
Despite taking five full years to produce a second animated Spider-Man, each chapter in the franchise has grown larger and larger, with all demographics showing a strong appetite for Spidey. While the live-action movies would seem to have a higher grossing potential, it could be expected that the animated series would see growth as well.
Both critics and audiences love this picture, with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 95% and 97% respectively. With a svelte production budget of $100M, ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE will be highly profitable for all involved. Based on this success, Sony and Marvel are already working on a third animated edition, SPIDER-MAN: BEYOND THE SPIDER-VERSE, which is currently scheduled for a March 29, 2024 release.
Disney’s remake of its animated classic THE LITTLE MERMAID took second place with $40.6M in its second weekend. This year’s live-action version has already outgrossed the original by earning $95.5M domestic in its first three days and $145.6M in its first seven, whereas the total domestic run of the 1989 original was $84.4M. The concern here is that the film dropped 58% from its opening weekend. Last weekend, Disney execs were pleased to see MERMAID open with $95.5M, a 4% increase over the $91.5M earned by the live-action remake of ALADDIN which opened four years ago on Memorial Day weekend 2019. In its second weekend ALADDIN, dropped by 53% and held a 10-day total of $185.5M compared with THE LITTLE MERMAID’s 58% drop in week two, but still with a 10-day total that is slightly higher at $186.2M.
Some of this decline was predictable, as the PG-rated family-oriented INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE was bound to steal away some of MERMAID’s audience. ALADDIN did not face any direct competition for the family audience in its second week. In fact, it’s quite possible that the box office for THE LITTLE MERMAID will continue to be held back by competition from INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, which appears to be headed for a record-breaking run. Disney invested $250M to produce THE LITTLE MERMAID in the hopes that it would be the family blockbuster of the summer, and this can only happen if it continues to produce strong weekly grosses throughout June.
THE BOOGEYMAN from Disney’s 20th Century Studios finished in third place with $12.3M in its opening weekend. This is the 45th Stephen King story to be made into a feature film, making him one of the most prolific creators of film storylines in history. Movies spawned by King’s writing have grossed over $1.7B domestically and include iconic works such as THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, STAND BY ME, CARRIE, IT & IT CHAPTER TWO, THE GREEN MILE, MISERY and THE SHINING.
THE BOOGEYMAN tells the story of two sisters who are struggling to move on after the death of their mother, receiving little or no help from their therapist father. After a desperate patient visits their home, the younger sister begins to sense an evil presence in her bedroom, playing off a child’s fear that a scary boogeyman is living in your house. Despite King’s talent for creating captivating horror tales, the film’s storyline is not original enough to inspire much box office. In fact, quite a number of King’s novels have connected well with readers, without their film adaptations hitting the mark with moviegoers. To list a few, GRAVEYARD SHIFT in 1990 earned $11.6M domestic, CHILDREN OF THE CORN in 1984 earned $14.6M, FIRESTARTER in 1984 earned $17.1M, and THE MIST in 2007 earned $25.6M. We are not expecting much of a boost from word of mouth, as film critics are soft on this title with a 62% Rotten Tomatoes score and audiences are only marginally more positive with a 72% score. However, THE BOOGEYMAN was produced on a modest $35M budget, so even if the movie does not kill at the box office, any loss will be modest.
Refusing to go away, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 finished in fourth place with $10.2M in its fifth weekend, a drop of 51% from last weekend. In its opening weekend, VOL. 3 brought in 81% of the box office earned by its wildly successful predecessor GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2. Now after 31 days, that comparison stands at 91% for VOL. 3 compared to VOL. 2. We expect VOL. 3 to remain in the top five movies for one more week, and then continue at more modest levels throughout the remainder of the month.
FAST X fell to fifth place by grossing $9.2M and suffering another steep drop of 60%. The action sequel appears to be running out of gas after only three weeks, becoming the fastest falling title in the franchise’s history. Even with decent results from international markets, FAST X will struggle to reach its production budget of $340M. Earlier this week, Universal announced that the next film in this series will be an offshoot of HOBBS AND SHAW, which brings back The Rock. Perhaps profitability can be rediscovered, if the studio can hold down its ballooning production costs.
In our spotlight on art house and specialty releases, another A24 film has arrived with a four-theatre debut in New York and Los Angeles of PAST LIVES. This romantic drama earned $232K, making for a very healthy per location average of $58K. The storyline focuses on a reunion between two childhood friends who reflect on where they are in their lives and what their future may hold. It emerged as a darling at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where the team at A24 picked up its distribution rights. PAST LIVES has been very well received by critics, who have given it a 96% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and quite well received by audiences, who have rated it 84%.
All movies playing in theatres the weekend earned $205.2M domestic, compared with $123.7M last year when TOP GUN: MAVERICK earned $90.0M in its second weekend, a decline of only 29% from its opening as it had no significant competition from other wide releases.
|Rank||Title (Distributor)||Week||# Theatres||Weekend $||Per Theatre Average $||Total $|
|1||Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Columbia Pictures)||1||4,313||$120,500,000||$27,939||$120,500,000|
|2||The Little Mermaid (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)||2||4,320||$40,600,000||$9,398||$136,178,040|
|3||The Boogeyman (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)||1||3,205||$12,300,000||$3,838||$12,300,000|
|4||Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (Disney/Marvel)||5||3,580||$10,200,000||$2,849||$243,844,195|
|5||Fast X (Universal Pictures)||3||3,467||$9,240,000||$2,665||$99,285,715|
It appears that two of May’s biggest new releases, Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID and Universal’s FAST X, will wind up with box office receipts below pre-release expectations.
For FAST X, it’s a case of diminishing results from the FAST & FURIOUS franchise, particularly in the Domestic market where FAST X’S opening weekend came in lower than the most recent F9: THE FAST SAGA which arrived in 2021 as one of the first wide theatrical releases after the pandemic shutdowns had lifted. At the time, it was widely assumed that F9’s box office was held back by lingering COVID concerns.
After grossing less than F9 in a much more favorable market, it now seems clear that FAST X may mark the beginning of a steady decline for the 22-year-old car chase series. On the other hand, FAST X has seen better returns from international markets, which may still give the film a chance to reach profitability, despite an eye-popping $330M production budget. This is largely in line with the franchise’s trend, which has often had 75%+ of its grosses come internationally.
Disney’s live-action remake of THE LITTLE MERMAID is experiencing the inverse, having performed well in the US and Canada while interest from international audiences has been muted. As one example, returns from China have been noticeably absent, where MERMAID grossed a mere $2.5M in its opening weekend compared with $18.5M for the opening weekend of the live-action remake of ALADDIN in 2019.
In fact, MERMAID is likely to earn less than $10M in its Chinese run, whereas ALADDIN ended up with more than $50M in the territory. Many have pointed to MERMAID’s relatively little-known star Halle Bailey as being one reason for low interest in the film. These uneven results for both films demonstrate the importance of a big-budget blockbuster doing well in all markets.
As the writer’s strike enters its second month, the WGA is persisting with its aggressive stance to make an impact on the studios and force them to the negotiating table.
The WGA has organized on-site protests in an attempt to shut down production, including at high-profile TV series such as BILLIONS, THE CHI, and LAW & ORDER SVU as well as Lionsgate’s upcoming movie GOOD FORTUNE.
The general sentiment from many in the industry and the general public seems to be sympathetic to the writers and their cause. As a result, many actors and directors have chosen to hold off on active production.
In an article this week published by the Hollywood Reporter, a number of high-ranking studio execs were quoted anonymously as giving credit to the writers for the effectiveness of their tactics.
A single lost day of production can cost a studio $200K-$300K, so the shutdown of production across multiple sets can easily rise to millions of dollars. These losses put the studios in a somewhat weakened position, with costs escalating significantly over a long-term shutdown.
Hollywood’s top studios brought some of their biggest upcoming releases to this year’s Cannes Film Festival, with premieres that provided an early indication of their potential reception. Disney/Lucasfilm’s INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY was screened early on in the 12-day festival and met with a lukewarm reception from both critics and other festival attendees.
The festival concluded with a screening of Disney/Pixar’s animated ELEMENTAL, which also received mixed reviews. Disney has pinned its hopes on a successful run for ELEMENTAL, representing renewed strength for its animated features, after a disastrous 2022 in which both Pixar’s LIGHTYEAR and Disney’s STRANGE WORLD met with weak interest and lost more than $100M.
Outside of Disney, new releases from two of the industry’s best-known auteurs also premiere at Cannes. Focus Features premiered Wes Anderson’s ASTEROID CITY, which also received a mixed response. While some critics commented that ASTEROID was more style than substance, others praised it as another fine example of Anderson’s one-of-a-kind filmmaking.
Moviegoers will soon have their chance to settle the debate when the film opens on June 23rd. Martin Scorsese was the big winner at this year’s Cannes when the screening of KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON was met with unanimous praise, as another great entry for Scorsese and the all-star cast of Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro, and Lily Gladstone.
Apple owns the distribution rights and has enlisted the support of Paramount to manage a theatrical run that will begin on October 20th. It seems likely that FLOWER MOON will be one of the top candidates for major awards in next year’s cycle.
See also: First Elemental Reviews Are Mixed On Pixar’s Beautiful & “Overcomplicated” New Movie (Screen Rant) and Wes Anderson’s ‘Asteroid City’ Has Sharply Divided Cannes (Rolling Stone)
|Transformers: Rise of the Beasts ( Paramount Pictures )||PG-13||220||Wide|
|The DOC ( Vertical Entertainment )||NR||98||Moderate|
|Scarlet ( Kino Lorber )||NR||103||Limited|
|97 Minutes ( Vertical Entertainment )||NR||93||Limited|
|Persian Lessons ( Cohen Media Group )||NR||127||Limited|
|The Flash ( Warner Bros. )||PG-13||150||Wide|
|The Blackening ( Lionsgate )||R||96||Wide|
|Asteroid City ( Focus Features )||R||139||Wide|
|Elemental ( Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures )||PG||93||Wide|