Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: John Krasinski's IF Rises to the Top

The animated/live-action family film successfully dethroned the kingdom of apes, while The Strangers and Amy Winehouse failed to make much noise.

by | May 20, 2024 | Comments


The summer movie season got the second of its rare non-sequels this week and the numbers already seem less than inspiring. That is disconcerting for a film primarily rooted in the power of imagination to soothe us from our anxieties. Ironic how the studios fronting the bill for these original ideas are forming new anxieties based on the limited attendance compared to the usual IP. It doesn’t bode well for IP IF new ones can’t be created for the future, but IF we dig into the numbers further, is it too early to sound the alarm on disappointment? Let’s give it a try.

King of the Crop: John Krasinski’s IF Rises to the Top

John Krasinki’s IF became the third No. 1 film of the summer this weekend with an opening of $33.7 million. That is below the projections of at least $40 million for the family film with Ryan Reynolds and a star-studded voice cast of imaginary friends. Much is being made of the fact that it is a PG-rated, original, non-adapted, live-action film, which just haven’t generated huge numbers over the years. Take the word “original” out of the equation and you find titles like Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Disney remakes like Alice in Wonderland and Aladdin. As it stands, the top film in the category is 2011’s Easter bunny film Hop, which opened to $37.5 million. By that measure, IF’s $33.7 million doesn’t look too bad, right in the vicinity of National Treasure ($35.1 million), Runaway Bride ($35.0 million), and Enchanted ($34.4 million), ahead of Paul Blart: Mall Cop, The Truman Show, Elf, The Pacifier, and Night at the Museum. Or does it?

All of those films grossed over $100 million, with, oddly enough, Hop coming in last with just $108 million. (The Pacifier made $113 million.) IF entered the weekend with a 50% Tomatometer score from critics (and 85% Audience Score) but was followed up with an A Cinemascore from its limited audience polling. Those numbers certainly didn’t hurt Disney films like the 2019 Lion King redux (52% Tomatometer, 89% Audience SCore) and Maleficent (54% Tomatometer, 70% Audience Score). PG-rated films opening between $27-34 million all at least tripled their opening weekends, even if films like The Muppets and Beverly Hills Chihuahua came up short of $100 million. That is not exactly what Paramount wants to hear for a film carrying a $110 million price tag — more than the combined total of Krasinski’s Quiet Place films. Those films made a healthy profit for the studio. This one is going to need a word-of-mouth rally and a decent international haul to become a theatrical winner.

The Top 10 and Beyond: The Strangers Performs Better Than Expectations, Back to Black Fades

Down to second this week is Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes with $25.4 million. That 56.5% decline might seem like a big fall, but it is smaller than War’s 62.9% drop back in 2017. Its second weekend was only $20.8 million, allowing Kingdom to make a little comeback from the week to get ahead of War’s 10-day haul of $98.4 million. That may suggest a final total close to $150 million domestic. On the other hand, Kingdom’s numbers are similar to John Wick 3’s $24.5 million second weekend and $101.2 million 10-day total. That film finished with over $171 million. It’s a good range for a film that is already over $237 million worldwide. Add another $50-60 million to that at home and another $120 million overseas, and Kingdom will find itself in profit and enough to greenlight another in the series.

One film that did better than its projections this weekend was Renny Harlin’s The Strangers: Chapter 1. The first of an already filmed trilogy grossed $11.8 million when expectations were in the $7-8 million range as part of the lackluster interest in theatrical horror this year. Scoring lower than either Night Swim (22%) or Tarot (20%) with a 13% from critics, The Strangers nevertheless had the best opening of the year for horror, which, apart from The First Omen, has been relying on original content, and, more importantly, tiny budgets. Strangers’ cost of $8.5 million is now headed easily into the black along with those other poorly-reviewed horror titles and this year’s other IF tale, Imaginary (27%). Tarot got its total over $15 million domestic this weekend and nearly $30 million globally.

Pushed back to fourth place is David Leitch’s The Fall Guy, which dropped about 40% in its third week to $8.35 million. Now, I know what followers of this column are thinking: Isn’t that what Leitch’s Bullet Train made in its third weekend? Why yes, readers, that is true, and it did indeed gross over $103 million. Key differences though: That film had already made $69 million by its 17th day, while The Fall Guy is at just $62.9 million. Bullet Train was also an August release that benefitted from weekly challengers that opened weakly or faded quickly, allowing it to remain a top five release for seven straight weeks. Save for a massive Strangers drop next week, The Fall Guy will be out of the top five by Memorial Day and, at best, is hoping to get itself over $80 million domestic. It is aligned closely with the numbers of another TV adaptation released in May, Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, which had $62.9 million through 17 days after a $7.5 million third weekend and finished with $79.7 million. Worldwide it stands at just $127.6 million and it will be hitting VOD this Tuesday with a 20-minute extended cut.

Though it has made over $36 million overseas, Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Amy Winehouse film Back to Black, was barely noticed here in the States with just a $2.84 million opening. It is the latest in a series of openings from Focus Features to not start with at least $4 million including Lisa Frankenstein and Drive-Away Dolls. It’s their fourth straight release in over 1,000 theaters to register less than a $1,500 per-theater-average ($1,393) and the third weakest opening for one of their films opening in over 2,000 theaters ahead of just Dolls and Come Away, which opened in October 2020 during the pandemic. None of their films have hit $10 million domestic in 2024, but thanks to those international numbers, it is their highest-grossing film worldwide since Asteroid City last year.

In fifth place ahead of Back to Black with two men getting more scrutiny for their toxicity than those from Amy’s life is Luca Guadangino’s Challengers with $2.87 million. That brings its 24-day total to $43.4 million and over $78 million worldwide. Domestically the $55 million production will be passing Madame Web this week. Rounding out the top 10, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire dropped to $1.68 million this week. That puts its domestic total at $194.3 million, and despite hope in recent weeks, it looks like it may come up just short of $200 million. Memorial Day could give it a little boost, and it will be close, but it may just have to settle for over $560 million worldwide, the second best total of 2024 to date. Amazon/MGM’s release of the IMAX documentary The Blue Angels grossed $1.4 million in just 227 theaters, a $6,167 PTA. Christian music biopic Unsung Hero brought in another $1.04 million for a total of $19 million. Falling out of the top 10 this week was Alex Garland’s Civil War added another million bringing it to $67.2 million. Kung Fu Panda 4 grossed $950,000, bringing its domestic total to $192.6 million.

Down in limited release, Pamela Adlon’s pregnancy comedy Babes, with Ilana Glazer and Michelle Buteau, started with $171,000 in just 12 theaters. That’s a decent per-theater average of $14,277 ranking between 1996’s Big Night ($185,749) and 1995’s Carrington ($151,722) for 12-theater launches. Ethan Hawke’s Wildcat expanded to 101 theaters and grossed an estimated $139,000 for a total of $279,000. Finally, Jane Schoenbrun’s I Saw the TV Glow moved into 469 theaters and grossed a cool million bringing, its total to $1.48 million. A24’s release of the documentary Amy (about Amy Winehouse) expanded in its third weekend to 435 theaters, where it grossed $1.1 million and ultimately $8.3 million domestic after a quicker expansion. TV Glow is closer in sync with Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room, whose third weekend jump from 30-to-470 theaters grossed $926,370 and had $1.32 million after 17 days and ended with $3.2 million.

On the Vine: Prepare to Witness Furiosa (and Garfield)

Furiosa. ‘Nuff said, right? The next chapter in George Miller’s Mad Max universe with Anya Taylor-Joy stepping in the shoes of Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth as her nemesis as already 85% approved from critics and should lead the way next week. Families will have the opportunity to abandon IF for The Garfield Movie next week, which has already grossed $49 million around the globe. Another iconic character voiced by Chris Pratt would like to be the family film of choice until Pixar’s Inside Out 2 opens on June 14.

Full List of Box Office Results: May 17-19, 2024

49% IF (2024)

  • $33.7 million ($33.7 million total)

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

  • $25.4 million ($100.6 million total)

22% The Strangers: Chapter 1 (2024)

  • $11.8 million ($11.8 million total)

81% The Fall Guy (2024)

  • $8.3 million ($62.8 million total)

88% Challengers (2024)

  • $2.87 million ($43.4 million total)

34% Back to Black (2024)

  • $2.84 million ($2.84 million total)

19% Tarot (2024)

  • $2 million ($15.4 million total)

54% Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024)

  • $1.68 million ($194.3 million total)

85% The Blue Angels (2024)

  • $1.4 million ($1.4 million total)

59% Unsung Hero (2023)

  • $1.04 million ($19 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 ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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