The animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse may be the lowest grossing Spider-Man film (or Spider-Man-adjacent film, like the Venoms) since 2002, but it is also the one holding the Oscar. Not only that, but it holds the highest rating with critics on the Tomatometer, Certified Fresh at 97%, and its reputation has certainly been elevated in the years since its release in 2018. This weekend, its sequel opened with one of the longest running times ever for an animated film at 140 minutes. But it also saw one of the biggest sequel bumps ever as well.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse opened to the second-best Thursday “preview” ever for an animated film with $17.35 million. Only Incredibles 2 did better with $18.5 million. (The Super Mario Bros. Movie opened on a Wednesday and did not have previews.) That $17 million is folded into what became the best opening day of 2023 with $51.7 million, beating Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’s $48.1 million. (Again, The Super Mario Bros. Movie has the best Friday of the year with $54.8 million, its third day of release.) Spider-Man’s Thursday and Friday led to a opening weekend of $120.5 million for the Spider-Verse, putting it in league with some of the most boosted sequel events we have seen in the past 40 years. The 2018 film opened in December to just $35.3 million and went on to gross $190.2 million. That is a 341% increase from the first film. Taking out of the equation follow-ups that built anticipation over a decade or more, like Top Gun: Maverick and Hannibal, here are some of the highest increases we have ever seen after word-of-mouth and discovery took over.
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (475.17%)
Scream 2 (418.15%)
Pitch Perfect 2 (366.21%)
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (341.35%)
The Matrix Reloaded (230.26%)
The Dark Knight (224.98%)
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (212.04%)
A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (209.92%)
Die Hard 2 (206.03%)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (205.05%)
Elm Street 3 was more the result of a much wider release than a lot of fan love for Freddy’s Revenge at the time, and Pitch Perfect 2’s percentile is based off the original’s wide expansion in its second week. (The first film initially opened to $5.1 million in 335 theaters.) That is still an impressive list to be a part of. Other 200% sequel increases include Crocodile Dundee II and Rambo: First Blood Part II (also both the result of massive theater increases for their sequels) as well as Insidious: Chapter Two. $113 million also bests DC’s Wonder Woman as the highest opening ever for the first weekend in June. Worth noting that the only film since 2016 to open over $100 million in its first three days and not get itself to $300 million was this year’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Across the Spider-Verse is not going to have that kind word-of-mouth, and it feels like it could stay No. 1 for a second weekend, even with the new Transformers film debuting next week.
Last week’s No. 1, The Little Mermaid, has been having a positive week after some cautious signs in its estimate decline its first few days. With $40.6 million this weekend, the live-action remake is over $186 million and continues to pace closely (for the time being) with 2019’s Aladdin, which had a $42.8 million second weekend and a $185.5 million 10-day haul. Anything above $20 million next week will keep it on a $300+ million pace. Anything below and it may find itself closer to The Matrix Reloaded’s pace, which saw that film end up just over $280 million domestic. It is Mermaid’s international total that has to be more concerning to Disney. At just $78.9 million entering the weekend, it is nowhere near the $698+ million that Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King remakes made internationally. The good news is that with the domestic side flowing well (at the moment) it may only need around $450 million to pull off a profit. But it may turn out to be a very small profit, if at all.
Another film that Mermaid is chasing is Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which finished its fifth weekend with $10.2 million and a 31-day total of nearly $323 million. That total is a little under $6 million off the pace of the first Deadpool film, which had a fifth weekend gross of $10.9 million. $350 million is very much in the cards for Vol. 3 domestically, and with over $437 million overseas, James Gunn’s Marvel farewell has made its way out of the red. Reaching $350 million will keep it on the smaller scale of MCU’s profit, but it’ll be profit nonetheless.
Given the recent success of the horror genre, Fox’s $12.3 million opening for Rob Savage’s The Boogeyman has to feel like a bit of a disappointment. They clearly saw the success of The Black Phone at the end of June last year and tried to grab the same crowd. But this is not much higher than Entertainment Studios’ release of 47 Meters Down back in 2017. That shark movie made $11.2 million, while The Shallows opened to $16.8 million the previous year. The Black Phone, based on a short story by Joe Hill (who is the son of the writer of the short story that inspired The Boogeyman – one Stephen King) opened to $23.6 million. Sony’s purely anonymous Boogeyman opened to $19 million back in Feb. 2005. Originally slated to go directly to Hulu, Savage’s film is already $12 million ahead of that decision, but given its $35 million budget, the numbers are a bit light.
Universal, the studio that had that Black Phone success last summer, has to be of two minds of their films in the top 10. The Super Mario Bros. Movie is unlikely to be caught as the highest-grossing movie of 2023, earning another $3.3 million and bringing its total to $566.2 million domestic and $1.3 billion worldwide; that’s the 19th biggest total ever, passing Frozen this weekend and just $10 million away from overtaking Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to become Universal’s third highest-grossing film ever. The only question there is when the sequel will arrive.
On the other hand, the same studio’s Fast X fell another 60% to just $9.2 million in its third weekend. Tokyo Drift is the only film in the franchise that fell below $11 million in weekend three. A domestic gross below $150 million now appears possible, which is not even half of its reported $340 million budget. Internationally it has added over $474 million and is over $600 million total. But reports may be written soon about how the studio could be writing off possibly more than $150 million to cover the losses on this one. Remember that the next time you think about bringing up Waterworld as a box office punchline.
Last week’s trio of underperformers stayed afloat in the top 10 this week. Lionsgate’s About My Father fell to $2.1 million, bringing its total to $8.8 million. Sony’s The Machine fell even further back to $1.7 million and is just barely ahead of the Sebastian Maniscalco film with $8.7 million. Then Open Road’s Kandahar with Gerard Butler dropped under a million with a total now of just $4 million.
A24 also remained in the top 10 as last week’s release of Nicole Holofcener’s You Hurt My Feelings, despite a drop in half the audience for last week, earned $769,000 to snag the ninth spot; it has grossed just $3 million in 912 theaters in its first 10 days. Likely not helping matters is the fact that A24 dropped another film for adults into a couple theaters in NY and LA this week. The widely acclaimed Past Lives, the Certified Fresh debut feature from writer-director Celine Song, opened in four theaters to $232,000. That is a per-theater average of over $58,000, which is the second highest of the year behind only Ari Aster’s Beau Is Afraid ($320,396 in 4 theaters for a $80,099 PTA), also released by A24. Past Lives begins expanding across the country over the next several weeks.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is the only wide release hitting theaters next week, and it may struggle to pull off a first place victory. The last Transformers film, Bumblebee, opened to just $21.6 million just before Christmas in 2018 and finished with $127 million. The last film to use the titular moniker of Transformers, The Last Knight, opened in 2017 to $44.6 million and finished with only $130.1 million. It would take an extraordinary drop for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse to lose to what is likely going to be a paltry opening by this franchise’s standards.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
Thumbnail image by ©Sony Pictures Releasing/©Marvel Entertainment