Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: Fast X Screeches to the Top of the Box Office with a $67.5 Million Opening

Chris Pratt could have a $2 billion worldwide box office year between Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Ahoy! The Little Mermaid ahead.

by | May 21, 2023 | Comments

Fast X

Vin Diesel in Fast X (Photo by Universal Pictures)

The second big title of the summer season opened this weekend, and the numbers are big for Fast X. Just not on the side you may be thinking. The 10th installment of the Fast and Furious Saga vroomed into theaters with a cast list bigger than any Ocean’s film or 1960s ensemble war film. As domestic grosses go, its opening was in the bottom half of the franchise. Its Thursday numbers were slightly better than F9’s, which feels like a minor victory given that the earlier film was released during the summer of the pandemic vaccine. Ultimately, chapter 10 could not quite get over the ninth film’s opening hump, but it has a far bigger hump to get over if this is not to be the first failure featuring the series’ core cast.

King of the Crop: Fast X’s Impressive Cast Doesn’t Translate to an Outsized Fast Franchise Opening

Fast X’s $67.5 million opening is better than all but 42 movies to ever open in May. Ratio that down to six of the movies in the franchise opening stronger – two of them just over $70 million, but still. The return of Vin Diesel to the series in 2009 elevated its Tokyo Drift last legs (still the only film in the series to return a loss) up to its highest opening to date with $70.9 million. Dwayne Johnson’s entry brought it up to $86.1 million. Many still believe Fast Five to be the creative peak of the franchise and that brought No. 6 up to a $97.3 million opening. Then the tragic loss of Paul Walker saw Furious 7 rise to $147.1 million, its all-time financial peak. Since then, it has been a steady fall from $98.7 million for The Fate of the Furious, a $60 million for the presentation of Hobbs & Shaw and then $70 million for F9. From the sixth film on though, the international totals have ranged from $550 million up to $1.16 billion. Just international. And it is there that Universal is now counting on to keep No. 10 afloat.

Remember all the hullabaloo when it came to the pre-release budget talks of Waterworld or any James Cameron film from The Abyss on becoming the most expensive film ever made at the time and how they were doomed to failure? Yet where are the headlines that Fast X came into this weekend with a reported production budget of $340 million? Avatar: The Way of Water came in somewhere around $400 million. Avengers: Endgame settled with $356 million. Fast X is next on that list. Those first two titles had no problem clearing a profit as they grossed well over $2 billion globally. But then ask No Time To Die and Justice League about their $300 million budgets and how $774.1 million and $657.9 million left some red ink on the books.

The average final gross of films opening in May between $65 million–$80 million is $233 million. Only two of those films (The Day After Tomorrow and X-Men: Apocalypse) had the kind of drops that the Fast Saga is known for in its second weekend. The smallest drop since the original’s 50 percent has been Hobbs & Shaw’s 57.9 percent. The rest ranged from Tokyo Drift’s 59.1 percent to F9’s 67.2 percent. The latter had some pandemic summer implications, but part six’s 63.9 percent is nothing to get excited about either. The series has also not posted a final multiple of three (times its opening weekend) since the 2001 original (3.60). Second best was Hobbs & Shaw (2.89), the third was Tokyo Drift (2.60), and fourth was 2 Fast 2 Furious (2.51). Sure, it is just a coincidence that those were Vin Diesel–free. Bottom line is unless Fast X has the kind of support that the new Guardians film has, it is very unlikely that it will hit $200 million in North America. That leaves about $800 million for the overseas market to make up for Universal on this one if it is expected to sell the theatrical release as a success. As of this weekend, it has added another $251 million overseas for a global total of $318.9 million.

The Top 10 and Beyond: Chris Pratt Could Have a $2 Billion Worldwide 2023 Box Office

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has been holding up far better than even most optimists imagined. Even after its first big challenger to whisk away moviegoers opened this weekend, Guardians still pulled in $31.9 million, putting its third weekend not far from last summer’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which had a $32.8 million third frame. Strange still had an incredible head start on Guardians, comparing opening weekends. But now with the 13th-best 17-day start for a May release with over $266 million is now looking at a finish over $330 million, currently outpacing Deadpool 2 by around $13 million. It could easily get over the original’s $333 million and these numbers could very well be good enough to top the summer box office. The film is over $659 million worldwide. About another $90 million to go before it turns a profit, but unlike Fast X it should get there.

Guardians star Chris Pratt’s other film, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, continues its run with another $9.8 million bringing its total to $549 million. That is still behind Incredibles 2’s $572.8 million after its seventh weekend though Mario continues to inch forward besting the Pixar film’s $7.2 million haul in the same frame. The window for $600 million is shrinking a bit, but it will be passing The Fate of the Furious ($1.236 billion) and Incredibles 2 ($1.243 billion) globally very soon as it aims to join the top 20 all-time along with being the top film of 2023.

Book Club: The Next Chapter rounds out the top 5, taking just $3 million for fourth place. Its 10-day total of $13.1 million still has not matched the opening weekend of the first film ($13.5 million) back in 2018. Warner Bros.’ Evil Dead Rise spent its fifth straight week in the top 5. The horror film, which was once relegated for streaming, earned another $2.3 million for a total of $64 million. Can it stretch to $70 million? The film is right on pace with Along Came a Spider, which had $64.1 million after 31 days, but also had a $3.76 million fifth weekend; then again that film finished with over $74 million, and Memorial Day weekend is in the Deadites sights. A $70 million domestic box office does look like a real possibility. The film has made $135.6 million worldwide on an estimated $15 million–$19 million production budget.

Lionsgate makes up the next two spots with John Wick: Chapter 4 adding another $1.33 million, which brings its total over $185 million and the franchise overall joining the billion-dollar club worldwide. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret boasts a 99% Certified Fresh Tomatometer score and grossed another $1.32 million but has a total of just $18.6 million.

Last week’s Robert Rodriguez dud, Hypnotic, has held on for another week dropping 63 percent to $825,000 for a total of just $4 million. Fast X grossed approximately 19.7 percent of its budget domestically this weekend. In two weeks, Hypnotic has grossed 6.1 percent of its $65 million price tag. On a brighter side, another critically acclaimed film has made its way into the top 10 in just a third of the theaters that Hypnotic is in.

Matt Johnson’s Blackberry from IFC Films grossed $275,000. At $1.2 million, Blackberry is IFC’s third film in 2023 to break a million alongside The Lost King and Skinamarink. Last year’s Watcher was their only release to crack that since 2021. Blackberry was chosen as the opening night film at this year’s Chicago Critics Film Festival and two more selections also opened in limited release this week: Paul Schrader’s latest, Master Gardener, with Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver, earned $269,000 in 220 theaters. Zachary Wigon’s Sanctuary was also released from Neon in five theaters and the 96%-rated film with Margaret Qualley and Christopher Abbott made $65,000.

On the Vine: The Little Mermaid Offers Family-Friendly Option for Memorial Day Weekend

It is going to be a crowded Memorial Day holiday next weekend, though maybe not all at the top. That is where you are destined to find Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Could this be the first of the recent spate of refashioned live-action musicals to not break $300 million? Also, Lionsgate is opening the Sebastian Maniscalco–Robert De Niro meet-my-parent comedy, About My Father. The eternally doomed Open Road Films is hoping the Gerard Butler war film, Kandahar, will be their first film to break a $4 million opening since 2018’s Show Dogs. Sony is opening the Bert Kreischer comedy, The Machine, without screening for critics. Then the critically acclaimed reteaming of Nicole Holofcener and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, You Hurt My Feelings, opens in limited release from A24. It currently has a 95% approval after its premiere at Sundance this year.

Full List of Box Office Results: May 19-21, 2023

56% Fast X (2023)
  • $67.5 million ($67.5 million total)

82% Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

  • $31.9 million ($266.5 million total)

59% The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)

  • $9.8 million ($549.2 million total)

46% Book Club: The Next Chapter (2023)

  • $3 million ($13.1 million total)

84% Evil Dead Rise (2023)

  • $2.3 million ($64 million total)

94% John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

  • $1.33 million ($185.3 million total)

99% Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. (2023)

  • $1.32 million ($18.7 million total)

32% Hypnotic (2023)

  • $825,000 ($4 million total)

28% Love Again (2023)

  • $400,000 ($5.9 million total)

91% Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023)

  • $390,000 ($92.9 million total)

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]

Thumbnail image by ©Marvel Studios

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