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’s 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 toward a strong box office potential for ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE.
- The earlier INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE held up extremely well after its pre-Christmas opening in 2018, drawing large audiences for weeks throughout the holidays and into the first two months of 2019. In fact, its total run wound up at a remarkable 5.4 to 1 multiple of its opening weekend. For most films, studios are pleased when the multiple from its opening weekend reaches a 3 to 1. When INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE hit 5.4 to 1, studio execs were convinced that additional movies in the animated series would have a bright future.
- On 7/2/2019, Sony registered $92.6M in the opening weekend of its live-action feature SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME, which went on to earn an impressive total of $390.5M domestic and $1.1B worldwide.
- On 12/17/21, SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME stunned with a three-day opening weekend of $260.1M, with continued success for many weeks to finish up with a total box office of $814.1M domestic and $1.9B worldwide. It was easily the highest-grossing SPIDER-MAN movie of all time, surpassing FAR FROM HOME by $800M!
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 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 from 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 the 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 houses 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.
WHERE ARE WE AS OF 6/1
The total box office for the first 21 weeks of 2023 is 126% of the amount earned at the same point in 2022, but only 77% of results from 2019.