Audiences appear to be saving their money for this weekend. Well, those without kids, that is, and younger kids at that — not those with adolescents who did not take them to one of the best-reviewed coming-of-age films in years. Boxing fans also had their fill with Creed III and decided not to take in the film that Sony hid from critics and practically the public as well. It was the final week of the spring season with Hollywood summer right around the corner, but all of the films between May and August will be playing for second place, and it likely won’t even be close.
One Billion Dollars. That is where The Super Mario Bros. Movie sits atop the global box office. Welcome to the club, Mario; it was bound to happen someday. The film is now the 52nd member of the club and just the fourth to achieve it since the start of the pandemic. How about this, though: $40.8 million is the sixth-best fourth weekend of all time; the two Avatars, Top Gun: Maverick, The Force Awakens, and Black Panther are the only films ahead of it. Depending on the final estimates, this could end up being the fifth-best fourth weekend ever, as Black Panther made $40.81 million. On top of that, $490.8 million is the 11th highest domestic total ever for a film after 26 days, $22 million behind its only animated superior, Incredibles 2, which only had a $28.4 million fourth weekend. Super Mario Bros. bested that by over $12 million this weekend. That could put Mario on a pace to reach $600 million domestic. Name the summer movie this season that is going to top that. You can’t.
You may not have heard, but Sony released Big George Foreman this weekend. Those who did hear managed to make the film $3 million, which wasn’t even good enough to reach the top 10. Instead, it joined an exclusive list of the worst per-theater-averages for a film released in over 3,000 theaters. The new list is as follows:
Reminiscence** ($597), Copshop* ($771), Those Who Wish Me Dead** ($888), The Rhythm Section ($891), Big George Foreman* ($982), Dear Evan Hansen* ($1,065), Babylon* ($1,078), King Richard* ($1,086), Hoot ($1,116), Cry Macho** ($1,116), Firestarter (2022)** ($1,122), The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising ($1,192), Gretel and Hansel ($1,237), Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody* ($1,314), Bros* ($1,449), The Many Saints of Newark* ($1,462), The 355* ($1,470), Malignant** ($1,559), Ron’s Gone Wrong* ($1,624), Easter Sunday* ($1,716)
The asterisks signal those films that were pandemic or post-pandemic releases, with double asterisks indicating that a title was also available day-and-date on streaming. You will notice that Sony’s last attempt at a biopic with an elongated title, Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody, is also on the list with a PTA of $1,314. Laika’s animated Missing Link is the only other pre-pandemic release (not counting re-releases) to open in 3,000 theaters and have a PTA under $2,000. As for Big George Foreman, the $32 million production is immediately going into the loss column.
There were more disappointing returns this weekend with Lionsgate’s release of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. The Kelly Fremon Craig adaptation of Judy Blume’s seminal novel grossed just $6.8 million over the weekend. Heads up to all Tomatometer watchers; the film is Certified Fresh at 99% with critics. That’s a nice companion number to Craig’s last film, 2016’s The Edge of Seventeen with Hailee Steinfeld, which maintains a 94% and opened to just $4.7 million and finished with $14.4 million. Remember these numbers the next time you wonder why we can’t get nice things. The film’s ridiculous PG-13 rating from the MPAA may not have helped. Compare that rating to what occurs in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 this week and you will see just how broken that is.
There is no question, however, as to what Evil Dead Rise should have been rated, and the blood-soaked film fell 50% to $12.1 million this weekend. That is a pretty decent hold for an April horror film, and it is lining up around the numbers of 2005’s The Amityville Horror remake, which had $43.3 million after 10 days and a second weekend of $13.7 million. Evil Dead Rise lost a bit on the weekend but is still ahead with $44.3 million in its 10th day. Amityville finished with over $65 million and Evil Dead looks good to be hitting at least $60 million, a solid chunk of change for a film once destined for only a streaming release.
Return of the Jedi may have gotten the PG-13 treatment had it come out 14 months later, with its Rancor munching, hand chopping, and gold bikini ogling. But we mention it today because it has been re-released for its 40th anniversary, and in just 475 theaters, it grossed $5.1 million. That’s a $10,736 per-theater-average or roughly $9,400 better than Big George Foreman’s. In 1997, Jedi’s Special Edition re-release opened to $16.2 million in 2,111 theaters and grossed a total of $45.4 million compared to the $67.5 million of The Empire Strikes Back and $138.2 of A New Hope.
The man who will not die stayed put to keep John Wick: Chapter 4 in the top five for a sixth straight week. It hung on with $5 million to cross $176 million total, and it may have enough gas to get between $185-190 million. It is over $377 million worldwide. Lionsgate’s third movie in the top 10 this week, Sisu, featuring a Nazi-killing gold digger from the director of Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, grossed $3.2 million in its debut in 1,006 theaters. Ari Aster’s Beau Is Afraid expanded to 2,125 theaters but grossed only $1.4 million for a total of $5.6 million. The Sundance action comedy Polite Society opened to $800,000 in 927 theaters. Meanwhile the Indian epic Ponniyin Selvan: Part 2 opened in just 600 theaters with $3.8 million.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves has been taking some small drops in recent weeks and raised its domestic prospects with another $4.09 million. Where the low 80s were once expected, it is now at $88.2 million and poised to get itself over $90 million, though it’s still likely to come up short of $100 million as it charts a path a bit below the likes of 10,000 B.C., Panic Room, and Olympus Has Fallen, meaning somewhere close to $95 million. This is all moot as the film may not reach $200 million worldwide, making it one of the biggest bombs of the year.
Also on the front lines of losing is Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant. The $55 million production grossed another $3.46 million to bring its total to $12.1 million and keep it high on the list of financial losers this year. Ben Affleck’s Air is a nice adult hit in theaters, but its staggering $90 million budget will keep it in this category as well; $3.9 million in its fourth weekend brings its total to over $47 million. It’s not exactly a Citadel-type loser for Amazon, and it’s by far the highest-grossing film they have released in theaters to date, but bottom lines matter even if adult moviegoers, critics, and theaters say thank you for delivering, Mr. Affleck.
The summer movie season begins and it is all about James Gunn’s final go with Marvel for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The PG-13 film is one of the favorites, if not THE favorite, to win the summer box office. It cannot claim the crown that the animated plumber has, and its odds depend on how fans respond to this one after somehow being lukewarm on Vol. 2, not to mention very lackluster word-of-mouth on Marvel’s recent string of releases. Vol. 2 opened to $146 million, and none of Marvel’s films to open over $115 million have failed to hit $300 million. Vol. 2 came in less than $11 million shy of hitting $400 million. We shall see where Vol. 3 lands.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
Thumbnail image by ©Universal Pictures