After a $65 Million Summer Box Office Weekend, the Worst Is Over

Lots of ways to describe how bad it is for theaters. Here’s one: A year ago, the #2 film “The Little Mermaid” grossed $41.4 million; this weekend, the top four films grossed $44.4 million combined.

“The Garfield Movie” (Sony) took over #1 with $14 million and a 10-day total about $2 million better than last week’s #1, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.” (Warner Bros.). George Miller’s $160 million-budget prequel dropped 59 percent from a disappointing start and is in a tight battle for #2 with “IF” (Paramount). The family fantasy with Ryan Reynolds tentatively stands at $50,000 ahead; to its credit, WB wasn’t aggressive in its estimate. (Tomorrow will tell the actual result).

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The good news is that we have touched bottom for the summer, and it will get better from here. Both “Garfield” and “IF” had strong holds: “Garfield” dropped 41 percent in its second weekend after a holiday Sunday, and “IF” dropped 33 percent and now is at $80 million. It still has a shot at a respectable performance against its $110 million budget. Worldwide, “IF” is at $138 million.

This is encouraging because the upcoming “Inside Out 2” (Disney) and “Despicable Me 4” (Universal), also family-oriented titles, are earmarked to reach a $300 million domestic total. Family films appear to be the only titles that reach or exceed expectations.

“Furiosa,” now at $114 million worldwide, is confirmed as a major disappointment. “Fury Road” grossed close to $400 million in 2015. It’s the end of what’s been a strong run for WB with “Wonka,” “Dune: Part 2,” and “Godzilla x Kong.”

The worst news is the weekend gross totaled under $65 million. That’s horrific, even before comparing it to last year ($205 million, high for a summer weekend but third best for May-August 2023). Box office now stands 24 percent behind 2023. If it stays the same (unlikely, but not impossible), 2024 would gross less than $7 billion.

In a Violent Nature
‘In a Violent Nature’Shudder

Last year, the #1 film was the debut of “Across the Spider-Verse;” this year, the top new openings are “Haikyuu!! The Dumpster Battle” (Sony, from Crunchyroll) at $3.5 million for #7, low-budget horror entry “In a Violent Nature” (IFC) at $2.1 million for #8, “Ezra” (Bleecker Street) #9 with $1.2 million. These niche films gain screen access and extra revenue, but for theaters the results are puny compared to what is needed.

For the second straight weekend since it was released on PVOD, “The Fall Guy” (Universal) had the best Top 10 hold, off 30 percent at $4.2 million for fifth place. It has reached $80 million domestic. At #4, “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” (Disney) dropped 34 percent; now at $140 million, it’s the best of the summer titles so far.

Good news should start Friday with “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” (Sony), which hopes for a $50 million or better debut, followed by “Inside Out 2” the following week. However, these and other films won’t save the summer. At this point, there seems little chance that total grosses won’t drop more than 25 percent below last year’s $4 billion. But we see a series of films perform closer to normal, that will abate worst-case concerns.

Angel Studios claims #10 for “Sight,” but it’s very close to “Summer Camp” (Roadside Attractions). The senior-citizen comedy led by Diane Keaton eked out at little more than $1 million in 1,787 theaters.

Two New York-only new titles lead specialized openers. The Best Animated Feature Oscar-nominated “Robot Dreams” (Neon) took in $32,000 in two locations, while the documentary “Flipside” (Oscilloscope) did nearly $13,000 in one. Both start nationwide expansions Friday.

Daisy Ridley as Trudy Ederle in Disney’s live-action YOUNG WOMAN AND THE SEA. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2024 Disney Enterprises Inc. All Rights Reserved.
“Young Woman and the Sea” Disney Enterprises

For unknown reasons, Disney blocked reporting of the grosses for “Young Woman and the Sea.” One theory is that it is an “awards-qualifying run”; that would be odd for June, and even odder to be in around 300 theaters. It is playing some high-quality theaters around the country in big markets; a guess is it perhaps grossed $450,000 or more. The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced true story of a woman who set the record for an English Channel swim stars Daisy Ridley.

The Top 10 (Friday-Sunday)

1. The Garfield Movie (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #2

$14,000,000 (-42%) in 4,108 (+73) theaters; PTA (per theater average): $3,408; Cumulative: $51,572,000

2. IF (Paramount) Week 3; Last weekend #3

$10,800,000 (-33%) in 3,783 (-285) theaters; PTA: $2,855; Cumulative: $80,429,000

3. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (WB) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$10,750,000 (-59%) in 3,864 (+60) theaters; PTA: $2,782; Cumulative: $49,668,000

4. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (Disney) Week 4; Last weekend #4

$8,800,000 (-34%) in 3,450 (-100) theaters; PTA: $2,551; Cumulative: $139,996,000

5. The Fall Guy (Universal) Week 5; Last weekend #5; also on PVOD

$4,200,000 (-30%) in 2,826 (-129) theaters; PTA: $1,486; Cumulative: $80,280,000

6. The Strangers: Chapter 1 (Lionsgate) Week 3; Last weekend #6

$3,600,000 (-35%) in 2,527 (-329) theaters; PTA: $1,425; Cumulative: $28,366,000

7. Haikyuu!! The Dumpster Battle (Sony) NEW

$3,500,000 in 1,119 theaters; PTA: $3,128; Cumulative: $3,500,000

8. In a Violent Nature (IFC) NEW – Metacritic: 69

$2,119,000 in 1,426 theaters; PTA: $1,486; Cumulative: $2,119,000

9. Ezra (Bleecker Street) NEW – Metacritic: 57

$1,184,000 in 1,320 theaters; PTA: $896; Cumulative: $1,184,000

10. Sight (Angel) Week 2; Last week #7

$1,085,000 (-61%) in 2,118 (+18) theaters; PTA: $512; Cumulative: $5,888,000

Other specialized/independent titles

Films (limited, expansions of limited) are listed by week in release, starting with those opened this week; after the first three weeks, only films with grosses over $5,000 are listed. Metacritic scores and initial film festivals recorded.

Robot Dreams (Neon) NEW – Metacritic: 86; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto 2023

$32,536 in 2 theaters; PTA: $16,268

Summer Camp (Roadside Attractions) NEW – Metacritic: 40

$1,063,000 in 1,787 theaters; PTA: $595; Cumulative: $1,063,000

Flipside (Oscilloscope) NEW – Festivals include: Toronto 2023

$12,879 in 1 theater; PTA: $12,879

Handling the Undead (Neon) NEW – Metacritic: 71; Festivals include: Sundance 2024

$8,031 in 1 theater; PTA: $8,031

The Dead Don’t Hurt (Shout) NEW – Metacritic: 67; Festivals include: Toronto 2023

$354,455 in 735 theaters; PTA: $482

Babes (Neon) Week 3

$910,000 in 1,118 (+523) theaters; Cumulative: $2,760,000

Back to Black (Focus) Week 4

$250,000 in 672 (-1,341) theaters; Cumulative: $6,003,000

I Saw the TV Glow (A24) Week 5

$358,828 in 292 (-166) theaters; Cumulative: $3,576,000

Wildcat (Oscilloscope) Week 5

$64,895 in 47 (-47) theaters; Cumulative: $500,113

Evil Does Not Exist (Sideshow/Janus) Week 5

$47,200 in 85 (-53) theaters; Cumulative: $634,892

Civil War (A24) Week 8; also on PVOD

$173,364 in 235 (-216) theaters; Cumulative: $68,433,000

Wicked Little Letters (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 9

$17,109 in 28 (-18) theaters; Cumulative: $4,930,000

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