The first quarter of 2023 has been carried by sequels. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA, CREED III, and SCREAM VI have all had record-breaking openings within their respective franchises and will likely become the top box office earners of their series. Alas, this winning trend for sequels was broken by SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS only earned $30.5M in its debut weekend.
Four years ago, the industry welcomed Zach Levi’s entrance into the DC Extended Universe with SHAZAM!’s opening on 4/5/2019 – 4/7/2019. After a three-day gross of $53.9M, there was optimism that Marvel’s newest feature star would go on to power a long-running and profitable franchise. The original went on to earn an impressive $140M domestic and $366M worldwide, on a production budget of only $100M.
The storyline for FURY OF THE GODS introduces the goddesses Hespera, Kalypso, and Athena played by Helen Mirren, Lucy Lui, and Rachel Zegler, with the goal of expanding the film’s appeal beyond the core superhero-fan demographic of young males. Unfortunately, warning lights are flashing after an opening that yielded only 57% of the original’s take, on a higher production budget of $125M.
Adding to the uncertainty is a chorus of bad reviews, with critics rating it at 54% on Rotten Tomatoes. Thankfully, moviegoers have been more receptive by giving an 85% audience score. Next weekend, FURY OF THE GODS will need to hold on to at least 50% of its opening results to have any chance at profitability. That would be a tall order under any circumstances but even more so next weekend when it will be up against the opening of JOHN WICK IV, which is sparking interest from a large portion of the moviegoing public.
Last weekend’s top movie SCREAM VI came in second place with $17.5M, a drop of 61% from its opening frame. With $76M domestic and $100M worldwide after ten days, SCREAM VI is on track to become the highest-grossing movie of the storied horror series. CREED III finished in third with $15.4M, a decline of 44% from last weekend. CREED III has already amassed $127.7M and surpassed the $116M total domestic gross of CREED II, the previous top earner in the CREED series. It also reached ROCKY IV’s total domestic gross of $125.4M, which makes it the all-time box office champion among the nine ROCKY/CREED movies.
Sony’s 65 finished fourth with $5.8M, a decline of 53%. The domestic run for this Sci-Fi thriller is fading fast, after earning only $22.4M in its first ten days. It has no reasonable chance of matching its $45M production budget. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA finished in fifth place in its fifth weekend, with an additional $4.7M and a week-to-week drop of 43%.
The total box office for all films this weekend came to $92.2M, compared to $84.6M from the same weekend last year when THE BATMAN earned $36M to hold onto its first-place position for the third consecutive weekend and Crunchyroll’s anime JUJUTSU KAISEN O opened in second place with $18M.
WHERE ARE WE AS OF 3/16
After ten weeks, the 2023 box office stands at 130% compared to those same ten weeks from 2022. The first ten weeks of 2023 have risen to 76% compared to the same period in 2019.