The rest of the top ten actually did very well though!
Weekend Box Office Top 10 (May 13th-May 15th) / 3-Day Weekend Gross / Percent Change from Last Week / Weekend # / Distributor), Weekend Estimates:
- Doctor Stranger in the Multiverse of Madness / $61 million / -67% / Weekend 2 / Disney
- The Bad Guys / $6.9 million / -28% / Weekend 4 / Universal (DreamWorks)
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 / $4.55 million / -24% / Weekend 6 / Paramount Pictures
- FireStarter / $3.82 million / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Universal (w/ Peacock)
- Everything, Everywhere, All At Once / $3.3 million / -6% / Weekend 8 / A24
- Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore / $2.42 million / -43% / Weekend 5 / Warner Bros.
- The Lost City / $1.73 million / -37% / Weekend 8 / Paramount Pictures
- The Northman / $1.7 million / -41% / Weekend 4 / Focus Features
- Family Camp / $1.4 million / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Roadside Attractions
- The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent / $1.05 million / -34% / Weekend 4 / Lionsgate
- Memory / $1.38 million / -55% / Weekend 2 / Open Road Films (Briarcliff Entertainment)
- Father Stu / $875K / -60% / Weekend 4 / Sony (Columbia Pictures)
14. The Duke / 3246K / -33% / Weekend 4 / Sony Pictures Classics
15. Petite Maman / $105K / -49% / Weekend 4 / NEON
18. Vortex / $22K / -28% / Weekend 3 / Utopia
19. Montana Story / $20K / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Bleecker Street ($5,026 per theater in 4 theaters)
20. Pleasure / $17K / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / NEON ($8,637 per theater in 2 theaters)
21. The Innocents / $12.5K / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / IFC Films ($391 per theater in 32 theaters)
I had my doubts about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness this weekend. In my last post, I made comparisons to Age of Ultron, Civil War, and Eternals as potential routes for the film’s box office to take. Interestingly enough, it seems to not be taking any of those routes and that says quite a bit about the film’s performance and audience reception, especially given that it had absolutely no competition this weekend. Sure, FireStarter came out this weekend too, but it tanked due to poor marketing and the studio essentially burying it with a simultaneous Peacock release, so Doctor Strange has no one else to blame. On the bright side, the rest of the top ten rebounded from their slight drops last weekend a delivered fabulous holds all around!
So, as I said, I predicted Multiverse of Madness to be going one of three ways this weekend: the Age of Ultron-way (my personal pick), where it drops around -60% and then coasts on good holds for the rest of its run, the Civil War-way, where it burns bright with big grosses but relatively short legs, or the Eternals-way, where audiences are not fans of the new Marvel product and it drops heavily with mediocre grosses for the rest of its run. Ultron seemed like the perfect comparison in my mind as it possessed a similar “event” status to Multiverse of Madness (which has been hyped up as a major chapter in the overall MCU storyline, akin to an Avengers film), opened to a similar gross upon release, and received a mixed-to-positive reception from overall audiences. However, there was one potential avenue that I did not consider, and now that we have the second weekend results coming in, it seems more plausible.
Multiverse of Madness expectedly had a heavy drop this weekend. Unexpectedly, however, that drop was not in the low 60s; instead, it was a massive -67% for a gross of $61 million, way down from last weekend’s $187 million. Disclaimer, the film is still doing very well. To be clear, $61 million is still a lot of money and it brings the film to a total domestic haul of $291 million in just over a single week, with $688 million total having come in worldwide in that same time frame. The worst case scenario here is that the film ends its run with a worldwide total in the $800 million range which will absolutely allow it to break even and see a profit. All that said, however, such a large drop of -67% is worrying, even for a movie this large, as it suggests that legs will be short and word of mouth is less-than-stellar (if not straightforwardly “not good”). Such a drop is not helped by the fact that it was replicated overseas with an international weekend gross of $83.5 million, down -60% from last weekend’s international take of $208 million. These kinds of drops are startlingly similar to another film that provides a striking, and not super favorable comparison to Multiverse of Madness.
Back in 2016, a little film by the name of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice made its way to screens in March of that year, two months ahead of the thematically and narratively similar Captain America: Civil War. That film opened to heavily mixed critical reception (some would argue even downright negative reception) and polarized audiences with its dense, cerebral narrative, bleak aesthetics, and grimdark tone. While it opened big with $166 million on opening weekend, its legs were almost non-existent as it dropped an unthinkable -69% in its second weekend and really wasn’t able to recover. It sustained similarly big drops through its next two weekends and was already taking in only $9 million by its fourth weekend, only managing a x1.99 multiplier by the end of its domestic run. That domestic run was still big with over $330 million but it was shocking to see such a large film fall so hard.
What makes it all even more disconcerting is that Batman vs Superman had an almost identical weekend gross multiplier to Multiverse of Madness (x2), meaning that they were both enormously frontloaded titles. This presents another, arguably more plausible path for Multiverse of Madness where it mimics BvS‘s multiplier and tops out at $372.9 million domestic while also finishing with $887.9 million worldwide (assuming a 42/58 domestic to international split is maintained). That’s an improvement from the first Doctor Strange movie but a notable underperformance for the MCU as a whole given how much of an “event” Multiverse of Madness was meant to be. For this kind of movie, with all its spoilerly content, one would expected it to at least make it to $1 billion. Time will continue to tell if Multiverse of Madness will regain is footing, but this is an undeniable stumble and suggests an uphill climb for the picture from here on out. Marvel certainly won’t be loosing money on it, but they should be a bit wary and focus on making sure Thor: Love and Thunder can meet the expectations of quality that the MCU is held to. The pandemic allowed for some leeway with box office grosses, but now we’re getting back to normal levels so its time for the MCU to step up an deliver.
Moving on to second and third place, we have our first two holdovers, The Bad Guys and Sonic 2. Both of them managed to hold well last weekend by playing as kid-friendly counterprogramming to Multiverse of Madness‘ less family-friendly offerings. With that picture loosing quite a bit of steam, both The Bad Guys and Sonic 2 had even stronger holds than last weekend. The Bad Guys dropped only -28% for a gross of $6.9 million which takes its domestic cume ot $66 million and its worldwide gross to $165 million. It continues to track alongside Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, though it is still likely to top that film with at least $80 million. Sonic 2 ended up holding even better with a drop of only -24% for a gross of $4.55 million in third. Domestically, it stands at $175.7 million and is highly likely to finish up around $180-185 million in the next few weeks. Worldwide, its gross stands at $338.3 million and while I’m hesitant to say it will make it to $400 million total, it still does have some strong markets, like Hong Kong and Japan, to hit in the next month or so. We’ll see just how high it can climb.
Fourth place, meanwhile, went to FireStarter which entered not with a bang but a major whimper. I’ve already talked about how little this film was advertised and the results further confirm my suspicious that Universal was looking to quietly dump this film. Debuting to a measly gross of $3.8 million, the film has been branded with a C- Cinemascore and a 27% “definite recommend” from ComScore (the lowest I’ve ever seen on that metric). Clearly, FireStarter was meant to capitalize on the fact that it was released on Friday the 13th (though the film’s trailer doesn’t suggest a horror film so much as it does a low-rent thriller to be honest), but with little marketing to back it and a simultaneous release on Peacock, the film went totally unnoticed and will be very unlikely to have legs in the long run.
In happier news, Everything, Everywhere, All at Once continues to defy the odds. With Multiverse of Madness weakend and little competition from FireStarter, A24’s miracle baby posted an incredible -6% hold for a gross of $3.3 million! That takes it domestic gross to $47.1 million and, given the fact that there is little audience overlap between it and Downton Abbey, virtually guarantees it a $50 million domestic finish, all on the strength of its word-of-mouth. To put that in perspective, Everything, Everywhere, All at Once is not only about to become A24’s highest grossing film, but it is about to taking in almost as much domestically as Lady Gaga’s House of Gucci from last year ($52 million); and that had a Thanksgiving release which boosted its legs. I don’t see Everything, Everywhere, All at Once going much higher than $50 million, but it doesn’t need to. It’s absolutely broken even by this point and all other sales will be pure profit. The only thing to look for now are awards nominations to start rolling in for Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan.
As for the rest of the top ten, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore pulled another strong hold this weekend with -43% for a gross of $2.4 million in sixth place. Domestically, the film has hit $90 million, which is honestly more than I expected it to take in the US. As is typical though, the overseas number are propping the film up at $286 million for a global total of $376 million, though $400 million seems a bit far off. Seventh place, on the other hand, went to The Lost City. In a testament to the strength of the film’s appeal (or the limited reach of Paramount+), The Lost City managed to hold very well in spite of the fact that it has now become available to rent as well as stream on the company’s eponymous streaming service. It dropped just -37% for a gross of $1.73 million which takes it domestic gross to an achingly-close-the-century-mark $97 million. While the digital availability of the film clearly did not impact its overall box office performance (it managed that hold even though it lost a little over 200 theaters), it kills me that Paramount didn’t wait at least a week before putting it on Paramount+. The studio did commit to the 45-Day exclusive theatrical window, but seeing as Lost City is less than $3 million away from hitting $100 million domestic, I feel as though it would’ve been worthwhile to keep it theatrically exclusive for just a few more days. Assuming it doesn’t lose too many theaters by next weekend, the film will likely hit $100 million domestic by next Monday, but I’m anxious to see if Downton Abbey will potentially dent the film’s performance next weekend as both films will be catering to older women, an audience that The Lost City has had all to its self since its release. Perhaps the digital release was strategic in that sense, to boost word-of-mouth and convince anyone left who hasn’t seen it to bite the bullet and just head to theaters already. Consider this my rallying cry, “LETS GET THIS MOVIE TO $100 MILLION!!” Elsewhere, the film has taken in $68 million internationally and stands at a worldwide gross of $165.5 million. It’s covered its $70 million budget (though some report that the budget is closer to $62 million) but is looking less likely to hit $200 million worldwide, which would’ve been nice. Unless Japan (where there film has a June release) really supercharges it, expect closer to a $180 million worldwide finish.
Finishing off the top ten, The Northman came in eighth with gross of $1.7 million off a -41% drop. That’s a solid hold considering that the film has significantly cooled off and is available to rent online. The film, to its credit, is still commanding a pretty wide release in over 1,900 theaters but expect it to top out just around $34 million domestic and $60 million-ish worldwide. Ninth place was a pleasant surprise, going to Family Camp from Roadside Attractions. I’d predicted the film to open under $1 million, but managed a very solid showing in 854 theaters with $1.4 million. I discovered this weekend that the film is actually a faith-based comedy slightly explains this overperformance as the faith-based audiences can mobilized quite well to power a movie to higher heights than one would expect. I can see many churches advertising the film as a fun family night out so good for Family Camp! Finally, we bit adieu to The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent as it rounds out the top ten with a surprisingly strong -34% drop and a gross of $1.05 million. It will be leaving the top ten next weekend with the arrival of Downton Abbery: A New Age and Men so expect it to top off with about $20 million total domestically. I expected to be available to rent within the next few weeks.
As for the specialty market, The Duke continues to charm with a solid hold of -33% and a gross of $246K, taking it past the $1 million mark at the domestic box office. Petite Maman and Vortex also held well but their gross are relatively insignificant. We several newcomers, however, as Montana Story, Pleasure, and The Innocents all entered the market. Of them, the most straightforward of the bunch, Montana Story, starring Haley Lu Richardson as a young woman who returns to her families Montana ranch to settle affairs after her abusive father dies (the trailer actually looked quite good), unsurprisingly pulled in th best total gross with $20K. That said, it was Pleasure, a movie about a young women who move to LA to find her footing in the porn industry, that took the per-theater average crown for the weekend with $8,637 per theater in two theaters. That per-theater average was the second best of the weekend behind Multiverse of Madness‘s $13K and amounted to a total gross of $17K. Meanwhile, The Innocents, a well-reviewed Nordic supernatural story about a group of children who receive superpowers and face dangerous consequences, didn’t make all that much of a splash with just $12K in 32 theater for a per-theater average of under $400.