Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: Furiosa Edges Out Garfield in Worst Memorial Day Weekend in Decades

George Miller's action-packed prequel narrowly beat The Garfield Movie over the three-day weekend but suffered the worst overall Memorial Day debut since 1989.

by | May 27, 2024 | Comments


The justifications have been flying this month for the poor start to the summer box office. For The Fall Guy we heard blame for a weak, forgotten IP and forthcoming streaming. The Apes movie got a bit of a pass for falling in line with — if not breaking — records. John Krasinski’s family film IF was no Super Mario or Harry Potter but was among the top live-action PG-rated original openings of all-time. So how will the excuses read for Furiosa? One dreads the modern implications of only including Mad Max as a titular reminder and how that plays on the internet. But maybe nine years of cementing Fury Road as one of the best action spectacles of all-time wasn’t enough, or maybe some theaters are just too expensive and people are staying home waiting for those PVOD prices. Whatever the answer is, the truth is that y’all missing out.

King of the Crop: Furiosa Edges Out Garfield in Worst Memorial Day Weekend in Decades

There is something oddly appropriate about Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga having the lowest 3-day Memorial Day weekend ($26.3 million) for a No. 1 film since 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ($29.3 million), a film that began with an origin prologue complete with its own Praetorian Jack character. If you saw the movie, you know. Plus Furiosa’s $32 million 4-day holiday weekend is the lowest since 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ($33.9 million), which was indeed a prequel and, at the time, was the highest opening weekend of all time, besting 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Furiosa thus puts itself in league with one of the best prequels of all time in two ways. (Critically, that tracks if you wish to argue.) Furiosa’s 90% also makes it the second-best reviewed film of the year in wide release in over 3,000 theaters, behind only the other desert-based sci-fi follow-up, Dune Part Two (92%), which is also the highest-grossing film of the year.

Any other number is a consolation prize to George Miller’s film, which reportedly cost $168 million. That’s a bit higher than 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road ($150 million) which opened to $45.4 million the week before Memorial Day (finishing second to Pitch Perfect 2) and went on to gross $153 million domestic and $376 million worldwide. Even that amounted to a slight disappointment given its budget, but its legacy was further cemented with 10 Oscar nominations and six victories (missing out on Best Picture to Spotlight and Best Director to The Revenant). These numbers are even more disappointing. No film since Notting Hill in 1999 to open below $30 million over this 3-day weekend or even below $33 million over the 4-day Memorial Day holiday has grossed over $100 million domestic. Ask Tomorrowland, Sex and the City 2, Prince of Persia, and Alice Through the Looking Glass how they did.

People have asked why anyone might think a new Mad Max film might not do well, given the presumed limited appeal and fanbase over the years. Well, with inflation, Miller’s 1981 sequel Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior would amount to nearly a $77 million gross. That led three years later to Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome inflating to a $105 million gross. 20 years later, Fury Road made $153.6 million. Today, that would amount to over $203 million. So in many ways, these numbers have only grown over time, and Furiosa is the first time that they would ever shrink. The hope was certainly that Fury Road brought more into the fold instead of folding into the usual law of diminishing returns for franchise entries. Internationally, the film added another $33 million over the weekend, and if worldwide markets have a ceiling on the Saga as well, it is going to be hard in keeping this from becoming one of the biggest financial disappointments of 2024.

The Top 10 and Beyond: Garfield takes second, IF Falls to Third

Finishing in second place, but not by much, is Sony’s The Garfield Movie. The animated film opened to $24 million over the weekend and an estimated $31.1 million through the holiday. At 38% with critics, it is the worst-reviewed animated wide release since 2021’s The Addams Family 2 (28%), though not quite as bad as the live-action Garfield films from 2004 (14%) and 2006 (12%). As animated releases in May go, The Garfield Movie ranks between Epic ($33.5 million) and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron ($17.7 million). In other words, Garfield is no Angry Birds, which opened even higher with $38.1 million and finished nearly identical to Epic’s $107.5 million. That’s not the worst opening for a $60 million production, and even if the film fails to reach $100 million domestic, it could still clear a profit, as both live-action Garfields grossed over $242 million combined internationally. The animated film has made an additional $66 million overseas.

Last week’s No. 1 family film fell back to third place this week. John Krasinski’s IF dropped 50% down to $16.1 million over the weekend and an estimated $21 million through the holiday for an 11-day total of $63.5 million. These numbers are slightly better than that of Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, another live-action PG film about an older male stranger guiding a young girl on a fantastical adventure into a secret world. That film had $64.9 million after its 11th day, though IF’s second three-day weekend is better than Tomorrowland’s $14.3 million. Therefore it is trending for north of $95 million and may just squeak over the $100 million line. A small drop next week would certainly help, though maybe not enough to turn a profit for Paramount, as its worldwide haul for the $110 million production stands at $103 million.

In fourth place is the biggest success — or lowest disappointment — of the summer season so far. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes fell 47% to $13.4 million over the weekend, giving it a 17-day total of $122.9 million. Add another estimated $3.7 million into the holiday and it is at $126.6 million. The film now stands closely with John Wick: Chapter 3, which had $125.7 million after 17 days after an $11 million third weekend. That puts Apes on a path for somewhere around $170-175 million domestic, leaving the international audience to fill in the roughly $225 million it would need to get out of the red like most films this summer. Currently its international gross stands at $172 million. This franchise clearly had no problem sitting out seven years even after the lowest grossing of the previous trilogy. Kingdom will outgross War in the next two weeks, while Furiosa will end up with less than Fury Road. In related news, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire dropped out of the top 10 this week, grossing under a million, and it’s around $196 million domestic. Kung Fu Panda 4 made under a half-million and is over $193 million.

Down to fifth place is the poster child for the season’s disappointment, The Fall Guy, which debuted on PVOD this past Tuesday while it is still in the top five at the box office. It added nearly $6 million over the weekend and $7.6 million through the weekend for a 25-day total of $73.9 million domestic and $145 million worldwide. That’s a similar fourth weekend to Prince of Persia ($5.56 million), which had $80.8 million after 24 days. The Fall Guy is about $7 million off that pace, suggesting a final gross somewhere between $80-85 million domestic.

Falling three spots to sixth place is Renny Harlin’s The Strangers: Chapter 1. At $5.5 million for the weekend and an estimated $6.9 million for the holiday, the first part of the trilogy has made $22.6 million to date. That takes care of its $8.5 million production tag nicely. It is also more than $2.5 million ahead of where Night Swim was on day 11, and that is still the highest-grossing horror film of the year.

In seventh place is the latest release from Angel Studios, Sight, with Greg Kinnear and Terry Chen. It grossed $2.8 million over the weekend and an estimated $3.6 million through the holiday. Challengers made another $1.42 million over the weekend and is close to $47 million through the holiday. The $55 million production has grossed close to $82 million worldwide. That is better than the other toxic relationship film in the top 10. The Amy Winehouse biopic Back to Black grossed just another million and has made just $5.2 million to date. It has made an additional $38.7 million overseas.

Neon expanded Pamela Adlon’s pregnancy comedy Babes into 590 theaters this weekend, and that was good enough to get it into the top 10 with $1.32 million. That is roughly the same amount that Sony Classics got expanding Wicked Little Letters into 1,002 theaters in its second weekend ($1.34 million). That film has grossed $4.85 million to date. Through the holiday, Babes is up to $1.8 million. Jan Schoenbrun’s I Saw the TV Glow grossed an estimated $514,000 over the weekend and $642,000 through the holiday bringing its total to around $2.8 million. Love Lies Bleeding, also released by A24, remains the highest-grossing film of the year to open in limited release with $8.3 million.

On the Vine: Daisy Ridley Becomes the Young Woman and the Sea

Audiences will get a second shot at this week’s new releases next week as the rankings may not change that much. Disney is releasing Young Woman and the Sea with Daisy Ridley as the first woman to swim the English Channel. Roadside has Summer Camp with Kathy Bates and Diane Keaton, and IFC is releasing what it hopes to be the next horror discovery of the year, In a Violent Nature. You can hear the audience reaction to one of the film’s gnarliest kills from the Chicago Critics Film Festival right here.

Full List of Box Office Results: May 24-27, 2024

90% Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)

  • $26.3 million (3-day), $32 million (4-day) –  $32 million total

36% The Garfield Movie (2024)

  • $24.1 million (3-day), $31.1 million (4-day) –  $31.1 million total

49% IF (2024)

  • $16.1 million (3-day), $21 million (4-day) – $63.5 million total

80% Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (2024)

  • $13.4 million (3-day), $17.2 million (4-day) – $126.6 million total

82% The Fall Guy (2024)

  • $5.9 million (3-day), $7.6 million (4-day) – $73.9 million total

21% The Strangers: Chapter 1 (2024)

  • $5.5 million (3-day), $6.9 million (4-day) – $22.6 million total

71% Sight (2023)

  • $2.8 million (3-day), $3.6 million (4-day) – $3.6 million total

88% Challengers (2024)

  • $1.42 million (3-day), $1.76 million (4-day) – $46.8 million total

34% Back to Black (2024)

  • $1.08 million (3-day), $1.35 million (4-day) – $5.2 million total

90% Babes (2024)

  • $1.06 million (3-day), $1.23 million (4-day) – $1.46 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 ©Warner Bros. Pictures

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