Happy Mother’s Day! GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 3 stayed at the top of the box office on its second weekend, with a three-day gross of $60.5M. Some have been lamenting the demise of Marvel’s entire GUARDIANS franchise after last weekend’s $118M debut, down by 19% from the $145M opening of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 in 2017. We beg to differ. The following chart compares the results of the three GUARDIANS movies after ten days of release.
GUARDIANS VOL. 3’s decline of 49% from its opening to its second weekend is less than the drop experienced by both prior movies in the franchise. Note also that recent Marvel titles have suffered much steeper declines in their second weekend, including DR. STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS (May 2022, down 67% in weekend #2) and THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER (July 2022 down 68% in weekend #2).
We project that the total run for GUARDIANS VOL. 3 will reach $300M – $320M domestic and $650M – $670M worldwide. Even after deducting its sizeable production budget of $250M, Disney will earn a handsome profit from VOL. 3, which gives a strong start to the summer moviegoing season. Some have compared the lower results for GUARDIANS VOL. 3 to the disappointment of ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA.
But GUARDIANS has been a much more robust franchise, whose first three movies will earn an estimated $2B compared to ANT-MAN’s $1.4B. In fact, it’s not unusual for the third chapter in a superhero series to be less successful at the box office than the second.
Next up from the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be the June 2nd release of Sony’s animated SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE. Two weeks after that, DC’s THE FLASH arrives in theatres, with much anticipation and strong franchise potential.
Universal’s THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE came in second with a gross of $13M, a drop of 30% from last weekend. SUPER MARIO has exceeded all expectations, having earned $536M in domestic box office through its first six weekends and 38 days. It currently stands as the highest-grossing movie of 2023, a prize that it may still hold at the end of the year. After factoring in a production budget of $100M, SUPER MARIO may also wind up being the single most profitable movie of the year.
With a perfectly timed Mother’s Day opening weekend, Focus secured a third-place finish for BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER with an opening weekend gross of $6.5M. This is a sequel to the 2018 surprise hit BOOK CLUB, which opened with $13.6M in domestic sales and went on to earn $35.9M domestically and $104.4M worldwide, on a pauper’s budget of only $14M.
BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER continues to track four best friends as they take a girl’s trip to Italy. Of course, things go wrong during their travels creating a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The all-star cast of Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen reprise their original roles and are joined this time by Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, and Craig T. Nelson.
Critics seem down on THE NEXT CHAPTER, having given a 48% Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes while audiences were more positive, with an 80% rating. By comparison, the original BOOK CLUB earned 54% from critics, and a surprisingly low 51% score from audiences.
The opening box office for the sequel is only 46% of that earned from the original in its opening weekend. Still, THE NEXT CHAPTER has a reasonable chance of becoming profitable, since it was produced on a very reasonable budget of $20M despite top tier cast and international setting for the movie.
Warner Bros.’ EVIL DEAD RISE finished in fourth place on its weekend with $3.7M, down 37% from last weekend. After 24 days, EVIL has produced an impressive $60.1M and we expect it to wind up earning approximately $65M domestically and $125M worldwide.
It has already surpassed the third film in the series, EVIL DEAD, which earned $54M in 2013 and had previously been the best performer among the four prior movies in the series. With a production cost of only $15M, this horror franchise continues to turn a profit. We expect the sequels to keep on coming in the years to come.
Lionsgate’s ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME MARGARET slotted into fifth place with a weekend total of $2.5M and a drop of 23%. To date, the film has grossed $16.5 domestically. Still, MARGARET has been extremely well-received by critics and audiences with grades of 99% and 96% respectively. On the strength of this positive word of mouth, we expect it to realize most of its earnings potential by staying until the Memorial Day long weekend.
Sixth place was taken by HYPNOTIC, with an opening weekend gross of $2.4M. The Sci-Fi action thriller stars Ben Affleck and was directed by Robert Rodriguez (SIN CITY, SPY KIDS, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN). Its story follows a detective consumed by a mystery involving his missing daughter and a secret government program. The critics are down on this Rodriguez film, with only a 39% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Audiences are somewhat more positive with a 56% rating. Rodriguez’s last outing was ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL which opened on 2/14/2019 and produced a solid $86M domestic and even more powerful $405M worldwide. After a production budget of $65M, HYPNOTIC will have to perform mightily in international markets and climb into the black.
All movies this weekend grossed $99.3M, compared to $94.1M from the same weekend in 2022. Last year’s top movie was the second weekend of DR. STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS which produced $60.4M.
WHERE ARE WE AS OF 5/11
After 18 weeks, the 2023 domestic box office stands at 131% compared to 2022, and 77% compared with 2019.