Box Office: ‘Furiosa’ Aims for $40 Million-Plus Debut, ‘The Garfield Movie’ Targets $30 Million Over Holiday Weekend

“Garfiosa”? “Furiofield”?

Whatever the portmanteau for this Memorial Day weekend’s dual release of “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” and “The Garfield Movie,” the two newcomers are aiming to jolt the sluggish summer season. (“Barbenheimer” it is not, but exhibitors will take what they can get as overall ticket sales remain roughly 20% behind 2023.)

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“Furiosa,” the fifth entry in director George Miller’s post-apocalyptic “Mad Max” series, looks to lead the way with $40 million to $45 million from 3,750 venues over the four-day holiday weekend. Sony’s animated “The Garfield Movie” should trail in second with $30 million to $35 million from 4,000 venues between Friday and Monday. Box office comparisons to the same holiday weekend in 2023 will be tough given that Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” remake took the crown with $118 million.

Warner Bros. spent $168 million on “Furiosa,” not including the many millions to market the movie. It’s not expected to live up to the debut of its predecessor, 2015’s “Max Max: Fury Road,” which captured $45 million over three days. That film, led by Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron and released 26 years after the original “Max Max,” ultimately grossed $380 million while being hailed as one of the greatest action movies of all time.

Talk about setting a high bar. Anya Taylor-Joy stars in “Furiosa,” portraying a younger version of the feminist warrior played by Theron in “Fury Road.” In the prequel, she gets abducted from her home and held hostage by the sinister Warlord Dementus (Chris Hemsworth). As Furiosa tries to find her way home, she has to fight for survival in the dystopian Wasteland as two tyrants war for dominance. It debuted to positive reviews at Cannes Film Festival. But Variety’s review was less effusive; chief film critic Owen Gleiberman praised the dazzling visuals but wrote that “despite some awesome action moments (and two mega villains), the feeling is one of inflated franchise overkill.”

“The Garfield Movie” will compete with last weekend’s champion, Paramount’s “IF,” for attention from family audiences. The fantasy-comedy, directed by John Krasinski and starring Ryan Reynolds, topped the box office with a soft $33.7 million and looks to add $15 million to $17 million in its sophomore outing.

“The Garfield Movie” has already begun rolling out internationally, where it’s generated $49 million to date. Reviews have been mixed, with Variety’s Carlos Aguilar chiding it for “shameless product placement.” He called “The Garfield Movie” a “terrible Monday of a film” and a “bleak reminder that the future of much children’s entertainment made in this country is to become colorful advertisements.”

Chris Pratt voices the orange feline who famously hates Mondays and loves lasagna. After a chance reunion with his long-lost father — a scruffy street cat named Vic (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) — Garfield and his canine friend Odie are forced from their pampered indoor life to join Vic on a high-stakes heist. “The Garfield Movie,” whose voice cast includes Hannah Waddingham, Nicholas Hoult, Brett Goldstein and Bowen Yang, was produced by Alcon Entertainment and animation company DNEG.

Elsewhere, Angel Studio’s faith-based biographical drama “Sight” is targeting $5 million over the long weekend. Directed by Andrew Hyatt, the film chronicles Ming Wang, a Chinese immigrant to the United States who became a renowned eye surgeon. Terry Chen and Greg Kinnear lead the cast.

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