Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: Mean Girls Rule

The adaptation of the musical based on the 2004 film starts out with a healthy $33 million, defeating Jason Statham's vigilante Beekeeper.

by | January 16, 2024 | Comments


As always, what’s old is new again. Actually, what’s old gets renewed by adding songs to it and bringing it to stage and then turning it into a movie that is planned for the new age of streaming, only for it to reemerge as a theatrical release and open No. 1 at the box office. But enough about The Beekeeper. Seriously, if only that had songs, right? Take that, Greatest Showman. Nevertheless, both films referenced had a solid holiday weekend, and theaters are hoping they can carry them through a very scarce January going forward.

King of the Crop: Mean Girls Rule

When the Tina Fey-penned Mean Girls opened on the last day of April in 2004, it debuted to $24.4 million and rode the early summer season to a solid $86 million on just a $17 million budget. It propelled the careers of two future Oscar nominees in Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried and is considered a genuine classic within the teenage genre. The 2024 musical version, Mean Girls, cost more than twice as much ($36 million) but is well on its way to recouping that, with $28.6 million over the weekend and $33.2 million through the MLK holiday. That may not be American Sniper ($107.2 million) or Bad Boys For Life ($73.0 million) money, but it is right there with other female-led openers on this weekend like 2022’s Scream ($33.8 million) and 2013’s Mama ($32.1 million). For most critics this version was not a horror show, with a Fresh Tomatometer score of 70%; admittedly lower than the original’s Certified Fresh 84%, but not terrible either. Interestingly enough, there has only been one film to open on the second weekend of January to cross $100 million, and that is 2019’s The Upside with Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston. But the three $30+ million openers (Taken 3, The Green Hornet, and 2022’s Scream) all grossed over $80 million, which should be at worst the floor for this one.

Fresh Surprise: Anyone but You Continues Its Underdog Run

The genuine surprise of the holiday season continues to draw a steady audience. Anyone But You finished in fourth place with $7.1 million over the weekend and an estimated $8.5 million through the holiday. That brings its total up to $56.7 million and word-of-mouth is driving the film unlike few we have seen in the 2000s. Best comparison at the moment is it is scaling around where Saving Mr. Banks was with $58.9 million after 24 days (and that was after a week of limited release.) Banks’ 4th wide weekend generated $6.55 million in revenue on its way to $83 million. So the Glen Lowell/Sydney Sweeney rom-com is headed possibly for an $80-90 million finish. It is at $78 million worldwide right now on a $25 million budget.

Rotten Returns: Audiences Forsake The Book of Clarence 

Jeymes Samuel’s The Book of Clarence earned a 68% on the Tomatometer but didn’t get a lot of support from audiences. The $40 million production grossed just an estimated $3 million through the holiday. That is $3 million more than Samuel’s previous film, the Certified Fresh The Harder They Fall, since Netflix did not give it a theatrical run, but this is a disappointment for a genuine talent, even with a more esoteric approach to the subject matter. January has seen its share of expensive misfires over the years opening to less than $3 million, such as Uwe Boll’s $60 million In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Paramount’s $50 million The Rhythm Section in 2020, and the $30 million Keanu Reeves sci-fi thriller Replicas in 2019, among others.

The Top 10 and Beyond: The Beekeeper Finds Its Fans, Wonka Surpasses Taylor Swift

The two biggest Jason Statham openings of all-time featured him basically playing second fiddle to a giant shark. The Meg movies had his name front and center, as opposed to the Fast & Furious films, the Expendables films, and Spy, where he was second-billed. The Beekeeper is all Statham, and its $16.58 million three-day weekend (if it holds) bested the all-Statham Transporter 2’s opening of $16.54 million back in 2005. The Beekeeper’s goofy concept and trailer clearly resonated with audiences in a way that the remakes of Death Race and The Mechanic or the Crank films never quite did.

Beyond any of those franchise films and the Melissa McCarthy comedy, Statham has never had a film gross $50 million; The Beekeeper hopes to change that, but there is certainly no guarantee. Vin Diesel’s return as Xander Cage opened to $20.1 million in January and only finished with $44.8 million. Among this month’s 32 openers between $16-20 million, only half of them reached $50 million. The Beekeeper is estimated to have $19 million in the bank through Monday, so it is almost two-fifths of the way there. Again, a dry January could keep this film chugging in the top five well into February.

This week, Wonka will have accomplished what no other film could do throughout the entire Fall and Holiday movie seasons: outgross Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour. With $8.4 million over the weekend on its way to over $11 million through the holiday, Wonka is sitting pretty with $178 million domestic and an honest shot at passing $200 million. Right now, it is still pacing ahead of (and along with) Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which had $170 million by day 31 with an $8.5 million fifth weekend. Again, the lack of any big titles opening for the rest of the month should keep Wonka well afloat and outpacing Holmes’ drops, which should get it over the finish line. The film also became just the ninth of 2023 to pass a half billion at the global box office, and it will be one of the 10 highest-grossing domestic films of the year.

Family fare rounds out the top five as Universal and Illumination’s Migration made another $6.2 million and over $8.3 million through Monday. That brings its total up to $87.8 million with numbers floating in the vicinity of more adult fare like Passengers and David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, both of which just squeaked over $100 million. Migration is going to benefit from a barren marketplace, too, and will likely just get over the hump as well. It is that international number it wants to get over, though — specifically $190 million — to secure a profit. Currently, it stands at $172 million.

Falling behind its fellow Dec. 22 openers is Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which earned $5.2 million for the weekend and is up to $108.1 million through Sunday. That has it very much in line with another man-on-the-ocean tale, Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, which had $107.2 million after a $4.2 million fourth weekend and finished with $114 million domestic. Aquaman may be headed for the $120-125 million range, but thankfully has done fairly well overseas to cushion its losses. Worldwide, the film is over $373 million, which will keep the film from becoming another $100 million loser from 2023, but still well in the red, like The Color Purple, which fell out of the top 10 this week with $1.9 million. Expected to have over $58 million through the holiday, the film is coming up well short of its $90-100 million budget, but even with its impending international release, it could end up losing more than Aquaman.

Sticking with the water we have last week’s Night Swim, which fell 66% down to $4.6 million. Its total of $20.1 million is a million ahead of where the Diane Lane serial killer thriller Untraceable was in 2008 after a $5 million second weekend. It finished with $28.6 million, so Night Swim should expect to finish somewhere in that vicinity. The water theme continues with George Clooney’s The Boys in the Boat, which added $3.5 million over the weekend and will hit $40 million this week. Better numbers than were expected for the underdog true story; it’s not a great haul when you realize it cost just as much to produce.

On the awards and limited release front, Poor Things lost 170 theaters but still grossed $1.78 million, bringing its total to $17.69 million. We’ll see if theaters change their mind when Oscar nominations come out in a couple of weeks. Searchlight’s All of Us Strangers by Andrew Haigh made another $463,000 in 120 theaters to run its total up to $1.62 million. A24 added 19 theaters for Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest, and with $237,976 over the weekend, it will hit $1 million in the next day or so. Sean Durkin’s The Iron Claw also grossed $2.4 million bringing its total to $29.1 million and is now A24’s sixth highest-grossing domestic release ever. The biggest expansion came from Focus as they added 511 theaters to the run of Cord Jefferson’s American Fiction. Now in 625 theaters, the film grossed $1.89 million to bring its total up to $5.61 million through the holiday.

Wrapping things up, the latest Telugu action film, Guntur Kaaram, grossed an estimated $4.5 million through the holiday. Disney released the first of its pandemic streaming lineup into theaters and Soul grossed just $560,000 in 1,350 theaters. And in some delightful news, Godzilla Minus One crossed $50 million to become the highest-grossing Japanese language film ever released in the U.S. GKids’ release of Studio Ghibli’s The Boy and the Heron will pass $42 million this week.

On the Vine: I.S.S. Takes Off and Origin Expands

As stated, it is slim pickings for new films in theaters for the rest of January. Next week the sole wide release will be the sci-fi thriller I.S.S. from Bleecker Street starring Ariana DeBose, John Gallagher Jr., and Chris Messina. The studio has not had a $4+ million opening since Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky back in 2017. Their recent presentation of Waitress: The Musical was their best opening ($3.5 million) since Unsane in 2018 from… Steven Soderbergh. Neon will also expand Ava DuVernay’s Origin after its brief qualifying run in December.

Full List of Box Office Results: January 12-15, 2024

  • $28.6 million (3-day) / $33.2 million (4-day) –  $33.2 million total

  • $16.5 million (3-day) / $19 million (4-day) –  $19 million total

  • $8.4 million (3-day) / $11 million (4-day) – $178.8 million total

  • $7.1 million (3-day) / $8.5 million (4-day) – $56.7 million total

  • $6.2 million (3-day) / $8.3 million (4-day) – $87.8 million total

  • $5.2 million (3-day) / $6.6 million (4-day) – $109.5 million total

  • $4.6 million (3-day) / $5.5 million (4-day) – $20.1 million total

  • $3.44 million (3-day) / $4 million (4-day) – $39.8 million total

  • $3.44 million (3-day) / $4 million (4-day) – $39.8 million total

  • $2.58 million (3-day) / $3 million (4-day) – $3 million total

  • $2.4 million (3-day) / $2.47 million (4-day) – $29.2 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 ©Paramount Pictures

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