Not counting the pandemic years, this is the first time since 2002 that the month of June did not have a box office leader grossing $20 million. This was supposed to be the weekend that The Flash was settling into a second week victory atop the box office. With nothing big opening this weekend but an R-rated Jennifer Lawrence comedy, even a significant drop should have settled The Flash into a comfortable week two. That was before it fell last weekend from predictions of $75 million to $64 million and finally down to the reality of $55 million. After the holiday it was down to third place, and Warner Bros. began selling off $500 million worth of content. That may just be a wild coincidence, but the failure of The Flash did turn this weekend into the wild west with several contenders hoping for a shot at the title.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse cannot be contained. In its bid to become the biggest film of the summer, it returned to the top of the box office after being beaten last week by a film to be named later. After two weeks of 50+ percent drops, the critically-acclaimed animated sequel posted a nice clean 28% fall down to $19.3 million. That’s the seventh-best fourth weekend for a June release, bringing its total to $317 million; that’s also the 12th best 24-day total for the month. That puts it less than a million behind Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, which posted a fourth weekend of $15 million. It is also now nearly four million ahead of the pace of Spider-Man: Far From Home, which had a fourth weekend of just $12.4 million. That keeps Spider-Verse on a $390+ million pace with a shot of reaching $400 million. Worldwide the film has grossed over $560 million.
The Flash avoided this section last weekend simply by being No. 1. Now it may be booking a weekly stay here for the foreseeable future. The two words Warner Bros. and DC did not want to hear when looking at the numbers this week were “Green” and “Lantern.” They also did not want to add to this film’s infamy by having one of the worst drops in box office history for a film opening in over 4,000 theaters. That title had been owned for nearly 11 years by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (a 72% drop) before Morbius fell 73.8% in April 2022. The Flash missed becoming the grand champion after falling 72.3% down to just $15.2 million, depending on the final numbers.
Shazam! had $94.2 million after 10 days (with a $24.2 million second weekend). Green Lantern had made $88.9 million (with $18 million in frame two). The Flash is only at $87.6 million. The best case scenario right now is that it follows the path of The Fault In Our Stars, which fell 69% to $14.7 million in June 2014, had $80.7 million after 10 days, and still grossed over $124 million. Green Lantern finished with only $116.6 million after an equally disastrous third weekend fall to just $6.5 million. If The Flash can level out next week and have a decent July 4 week, it could still manage $130 million. But if it follows the path of the Lantern, it could be looking at barely $110 million. International bucks have its total at nearly $211 million, but Warner Bros. could be looking at a number not far from that in the loss column when the final figures are counted.
Nearly finding a tiny bit of redemption this week, Disney/Pixar’s Elemental came within less than a million of taking the top spot after outperforming everyone on Thursday for its first and only victory. A 37% drop to $18.4 million does not sound that bad, but its $29.6 million start was far lower than the average June opening for an original Pixar film ($62.9 million) and its 10-day total stands at $65.5 million (and $121 million worldwide). In contrast, $18.1 million is what last year’s Lightyear did in weekend two, and it had a 10-day total of $89.2 million. Spin the headline anyway you want, but Elemental could still be a $200 million loser for the company.
No Hard Feelings had a lot of folks hoping that it could signal a return of the original R-rated comedy. Between 2010-2015, roughly 33 R-rated comedies grossed $60 million or more. Since 2016, only eight have achieved that number (Girls Trip, Sausage Party, Good Boys, Game Night, Bad Moms, A Bad Moms Christmas, The Boss, and Blockers). After grossing $2.1 million in Thursday previews, the new Jennifer Lawrence comedy seemed to be in good company in regards to opening weekends:
Neighbors – $2.6 million (Thurs) / $49.0 million (opening weekend)
Ted 2 – $2.6 / $33.5
Jackass 3D – $2.5 / $50.3
Hustlers – $2.5 / $33.1
No Hard Feelings – $2.15/$15.1
Baby Driver – $2.1 / $20.5
Good Boys – $2.1 / $21.4
Bad Moms – $2.0 / $23.8
Cocaine Bear – $2.0 / $23.2
Trainwreck – $1.8 /$30.0
Get Hard – $1.8 / $33.8
The $15.1 million that No Hard Feelings ultimately made over the weekend is better than the low $12 million projections coming in from ill-fitted tracking services as of late, but that did not get it into the $20 million realm with its peers. Not only would that have put it on pace to join that $60 million club, but it actually would have been enough to win this weekend. Headlines would have been ecstatic. This is not the worst scenario (at least from the theaters’ point of view), seeing as how 2018’s Tag opened to $14.9 million and finished with over $54 million. Get Him To The Greek opened to $17.5 million in 2010 and ended with just over $60 million.
Sony’s perspective will be focused on the film’s $45 million price tag and whether or not it can muster up another $80 million somewhere to make that up. Jennifer Lawrence saw $203 million internationally for Passengers and $104 million each for Red Sparrow and Silver Linings Playbook, but then just $43 million for Joy and $26 million for mother! Many R-rated comedies have found $100 million success overseas, but the only ones to have achieved that since 2016 are Bridget Jones’s Baby and Baywatch. No Hard Feelings has grossed $9.5 million outside North America so far.
Rounding out the top five is Transformers: Rise of the Beasts grossing $11.6 million in its third weekend. That puts its total at $122.9 million, just a bit ahead of where Cars 3 and X-Men: First Class were after third weekends of $9.6 million and $11.9 million, respectively. That also provides some runway for it to reach a final domestic gross between $145-150 million, though at just over $341 million worldwide, it may not reach the final total of Bumblebee ($467 million) and stay well into the red while Paramount hopes to merge it with that other franchise (no spoilers here), which has never gotten out of the red.
Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City is coming off a limited release last week that saw it break the record for the highest opening for a film with just a six-theater launch. Expanding into 1,675 theaters, the film grossed $9 million. That is the quickest expansion ever for Anderson, whose only film to go wide in its second weekend was his last, The French Dispatch, which moved into 788 theaters in 2021 during the pandemic and made $2.6 million. Fantastic Mr. Fox made $6.9 million when it expanded into 2,033 theaters in its third weekend. The Grand Budapest Hotel grossed $8.5 million when it moved into 977 theaters in its fourth weekend and ended up his highest-grossing movie to date with $59.1 million. This is the best weekend for Focus Features since Downton Abbey: A New Era opened to $16 million in May 2022. Meanwhile, A24 moved Celine Song’s Past Lives into just 296 theaters in its fourth weekend and it grossed $1.1 million, bringing its total to $3.5 million. That is the third highest-grossing film of 2023 to begin its run in less than 10 theaters, behind Asteroid City and Beau is Afraid.
Disney’s The Little Mermaid grossed $8.6 million to bring its total to over $270 million. That is better than Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End’s fifth weekend ($7.2 million), which puts Mermaid’s current estimate between $290-295 million. The film will indeed cross half a billion globally, but it’s going to miss its break-even by around $200 million. Thankfully for Disney, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is an $827 million global hit and one of the few success stories of the summer, but that profit will only cover a portion of Mermaid’s losses before Elemental’s are thrown on top. Disney’s studio purchase, Fox, also boasts a far less egregious disappointment in The Boogeyman, which made $2.5 million and drove its total to over $37.7 million. It still needs about another $48 million to break even. Lionsgate’s The Blackening grossed $3 million in its second weekend. The $5 million production has grossed over $12 million and is not far from turning a small profit.
Harrison Ford returns as the famed archaeologist for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, which is currently Fresh at 62% on the Tomatometer since its lukewarm reception at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opened to $100 million back in 2008, but only four films have achieved that this year, and with a reported budget of $295 million (more than the previous four films combined), Dial of Destiny is going to need every penny. Also opening wide is the animated Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken from Dreamworks.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
Thumbnail image by ©Sony Pictures Releasing