TAGGED AS: Box Office, movies, news
You can put an exclamation point into your title but that does not mean it is going to reflect the enthusiasm of the box office numbers. Director David F. Sandberg said that he got his money upfront for the latest DCU sequel and apparently does not have to worry about the lack of residuals on the back end. Sorry to anyone else who needed them, but for some reason Zachary Levi’s Shazam just never caught on with its clear family audience, and more serious-minded fans seemingly dismissed it outright. Critics weren’t as kind time around either, and the numbers should not be as big of a surprise as they have been made out to be.
The lowest opening weekends within the current DC Universe occurred during our time in the pandemic. Wonder Woman 1984 made $12 million in December 2020 and The Suicide Squad started with $26.2 million as vaccines were starting to take hold in August 2021. Both films were part of Warner Bros.’ HBO MAX day-and-date streaming experiment. Now in the 2022-23 “Movies are BACK!” period, Shazam! Fury of the Gods opened exclusively in theaters with just $30.5 million. Call it a lack of interest in the character, or call it being burned one too many times in the pre-Gunn era of DC; just don’t call it a success.
The first Shazam! opened to $53.5 million in April 2019 but became the only film in the non-pandemic DCU that failed to gross $200 million. Its placement on that list with only $140.3 million would find company last year with Black Adam ($168.1 million). The bigger problem for Fury of the Gods is whether it will be the first DCU film, pre- or post-pandemic, to fail to reach $100 million. The Lost City managed to do it last year after starting with $30.4 million, and a pair of family-targeted March films post-2000 (The Pacifier, Spy Kids) achieved it by opening with $30.55 million and $26.5 million, respectively. So we’re saying there’s a chance, but it would be a hollow victory since, at present, even China isn’t buying tickets. Fury of the Gods grossed just $4.4 million of its $35 million international haul there, and that is adding up to another big loser for the DC Universe.
Last week’s No. 1 is this week’s No. 2, as Scream VI dropped over 60% down to $17.5 million. That currently puts the horror sequel on a Dumbo path. Tim Burton’s Disney remake grossed $76.2 million after 10 days with a second weekend of $18.2 million. It finished with $114 million, so let’s set an estimate of $105-110 million for Scream VI, still more than enough to boast the highest domestic total of any of the Scream films.
The sequel still leading sequel month is Michael B. Jordan’s Creed III, which, for two weeks, was estimated to finish somewhere around $150 million. That changed this week with a third weekend haul of $15.3 million, bringing its total to $127.6 million. That is the 19th best 17-day total for a film released in March, between animated films Home and The Croods. The film is about $7 million off the pace of Kong: Skull Island in 2017, and with a third weekend around $700,000 more than that film, Creed III has upped its estimate to between $160-165 million, nearly $50 million higher than Creed II.
For all its negative headlines, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is still the highest-grossing film of the young year. That may soon be challenged by John Wick: Chapter 4, but it is over $200 million this week with one of the lowest fifth weekends an MCU film has ever had. $4.07 million this weekend is lower than Eternals ($4.09 million), Captain America: The First Avenger ($4.1 million), and Thor ($4.2 million). Only Edward Norton’s version of The Incredible Hulk ($2.3 million) and Black Widow ($3.9 million) were lower. No other MCU film since then has grossed less than $6 million in this spot. Its global total is at $462 million and looks to be coming up well shy of getting out of the red for Disney. At least they still have Avatar: The Way of Water in the top 10 with another $1.92 million, driving its total to $678.1 million. It is only about $700,000 behind Avengers: Infinity War to claim the seventh spot on the all-time domestic list, which it will accomplish this week.
Sony’s Adam Driver sci-fi film, 65, dropped 53% this week to $5.8 million. That drives its total over $22 million, or about half the film’s reported budget. With another $16.4 million overseas, the film is no winner by any stretch, but Quantumania is still currently a bigger loser. Universal’s Cocaine Bear also isn’t quite into profit yet, needing about another $30 million to clear that hurdle. With nearly $75 million worldwide so far, it grossed $3.87 million this weekend to clear $58 million of that domestically. The studio’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish spent its 13th week in the top 10 and has passed $182 million at home, with a global total of $470 million. Lionsgate is likely going to be happy with returns on John Wick next weekend, but they should also be happy about Jesus Revolution, still holding strong with $3.5 million. After a month of release, the film is approaching $50 million and won’t need any international bucks to be on the right side of the ledger. Bobby Farrelly’s Champions, however, only just crossed $10 million for Focus. It is their first film to do so since last July’s Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris.
Keanu Reeves returns in John Wick: Chapter 4. ‘Nuff said? How about the fact that the film is Certified Fresh at 93% after its special screening at last week’s SXSW Film Festival, where it brought the house down? Chapter 3 opened to $56.8 million and finished with over $171 million. Chapter 4 should best both of those numbers and be THE sequel for the month of March.
49% Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)
76% Scream VI (2023)
88% Creed III (2023)
36% 65 (2023)
46% Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (2023)
67% Cocaine Bear (2023)
58% Jesus Revolution (2023)
59% Champions (2023)
76% Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)
95% Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022)
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.