(Photo by Marvel Studios)
Going into the second week of the summer movie season, studios did not offer much of note to challenge its inaugural contender to become the top grosser. Instead, the look ahead to this weekend was a journey to see what labels were going to be appropriate for Marvel’s latest after last week’s numbers were branded as somewhat disappointing. What would its second frame hold for analysts looking for another angle to gloat about moviegoers’ comic book fatigue? The jury is not completely in yet but based on the figures we told you to watch last week, there is perhaps a bit more optimism in the Guardians’ long-term goals.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 wanted to avoid at all costs the 60 percent drop that other Marvel titles had been seeing in their second weekend since the pandemic began. That was its first victory, as it grossed $60.5 million, for now just the smallest pandemic era drop for the MCU of just 48.9 percent, but it also became one of just five MCU films to drop less than 50 percent, joining Black Panther (44.7 percent), Thor (47.2 percent), Iron Man (48.1 percent), and Doctor Strange (49.5 percent). The second victory was getting its total to over $213 million after 10 days, which significantly increases its odds to reach $300 million domestic at least, as only six films (out of 71) have failed to achieve that after hitting $200 million in that period, and no films have missed after a $55 million-plus second weekend. Of course, these numbers are meaningless if the international grosses fail to get the film to $750 million, which is the magic number to keep Vol. 3 in the black.
As of right now, the film sits at $529 million worldwide. The first two films had international grosses of $441 million and $473.9 million. Every dollar counts for Vol. 3, especially on the domestic front. Guardians’ $60.5 million second weekend is ahead of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which had a $54.7 million second frame and $201 million after seven days. It finished with just $290 million, after a massive drop to under $20 million in its third weekend.
Fast X is going to strip away audiences from Guardians next week, and if it does fall below the $25 million region, its estimate may only be landing in the $310 million–$325 million range. That would be low end for the franchise and keep the burden on the global crowd to not also be on the low side under $441 million. Despite the optimism for an unchallenged film after 10 days, right now Guardians is looking like neither a big disappointment nor a big success and that has to be troubling for some of the later entries coming down the pike in the MCU.
Robert Rodriguez’s first theatrical release since Alita: Battle Angel joins a string of high-price failures from the director that began his career with just $7,000 and a little indie calling card named El Mariachi. His latest film, Hypnotic, stars Ben Affleck and Alice Braga, premiered as a “work-in-progress” at SXSW this year, was not well-received — then or now (39%) — and opened to just $2.3 million in 2,118 theaters. The numbers could be dismissed as a failing of distributor Ketchup Entertainment, not known for theatrical efforts, but with a $65 million–$80 million price tag, the film is likely a loser under any studio banner and is set to be the costliest effort for Rodriguez ever. The director has not had a film out of the red since 2005’s Sin City.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie continues to wave bye-bye to every film on the summer movie schedule. Only 20 films prior had grossed $13 million or more in their sixth weekend (including E.T.) and only 12 of those are from the year 2000-present. Mario just missed that list as its weekend totals fell to $12.6 million bringing its total to $535.5 million. At over $1.21 billion worldwide, it is already one of the 25 highest-grossing films of all time and is going to be in the top 10 until at least mid-June.
Paramount opened Book Club on the third weekend of May in 2018 — behind the opening of Deadpool 2 and the fourth week of Avengers: Infinity War — to $13.5 million. It spent five weeks in the top 10 and went on to gross over $68 million. Now, Focus Features releases the sequel, Book Club: The Next Chapter — behind the second week of Guardians 3 and the sixth weekend of Super Mario Bros. — to $6.5 million. Focus has not had a $10 million opening since last May when Downton Abbey: A New Era began with $16 million. It is also the second worst per-theater average ($1,852) they have had opening a film in over 3,000 theaters ahead of only this year’s Champions ($1,699). Their previous low in that arena was 2007’s Balls of Fury ($2,728). The $20 million production may be able to stretch itself over $20 million domestic but will need twice that internationally to turn a profit. The original Book Club grossed another $35.8 million overseas.
Evil Dead Rise, once set for a streaming premiere on HBO MAX, now sees itself passing $60 million this week. With $3.7 million this weekend, it is now outpacing 2005’s The Amityville Horror, which finished with $65 million after a $3.3 million fourth weekend. Somewhere between $65 million–$68 million looks to be its final landing place domestically and with another $61 million internationally, this is a solid hit for Warner Bros. Unfortunately, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. is not for Lionsgate. Another $2.5 million in its third weekend only brings its total to $16.4 million. John Wick: Chapter 4, on the other hand has grossed over $419 million worldwide with nearly $183 million of that domestically after its 8th week in the top 10. That is more than double Paramount’s Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, which has crossed $92 million domestic and just $203 million worldwide.
As mentioned, Fast X opens and will take the top spot at the box office next weekend. The once-penultimate film in the Fast & Furious series now appears to be the beginning of a concluding trilogy of films. Despite declining grosses on this series since the heights of Furious 7, Universal looks to milk every last dollar out of one of the most successful franchises in their history. The studio even seemed to allow — unless its justified displeasure was expressed privately — online news outlet The Wrap to post a big spoiler ahead of the release of Fast X reviews to tease the final chapters. Also in limited release is a new thriller from Paul Schrader and starring Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver, Master Gardener, which was chosen as part of this year’s Chicago Critics Film Festival.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
Thumbnail image by ©Marvel Studios