Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga Edges The Garfield Movie At The Box Office Heading Into Memorial Day

 Anya Taylor-Joy in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Anya Taylor-Joy in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.

It was essentially too close to call, with George Miller’s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga estimated to narrowly beat out the Chris Pratt-led The Garfield Movie over the first three days of the holiday weekend. Monday projections put this week’s two big releases in a dead heat, with less than $1 million separating the top two movies, according to Sunday estimates, in what was overall a disappointing Memorial Day weekend. Ticket sales fell significantly from the same weekend in 2023, and it was, in fact, the worst showing for a Memorial Day No. 1 movie in nearly 30 years.

Take a look at the full top 10, then we’ll break it all down below.

Box office graphic May 26, 2024
Box office graphic May 26, 2024

Furiosa And Garfield In A Virtual Tie Over Disappointing Memorial Day Weekend

Both Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga and The Garfield Movie are expected to make around $31 million by the time Monday’s ticket sales are tallied, but according to TheNumbers.com, George Miller’s Mad Max prequel held the slight advantage Sunday, with an estimated $25.6 million. Everybody’s favorite fat cat came in just behind that with $24.8 million.

Whichever film ends up officially taking No. 1, it will be a bittersweet victory, as it will mark the lowest-earning No. 1 movie on Memorial Day weekend since 1995’s Casper, which brought in $22.5 million (not adjusted for inflation), per AP. (That statistic does not include Memorial Day 2020, when theaters were closed.) It’s especially disappointing given the blockbusters that gave the past two holiday weekends a boost.

Last year saw Halle Bailey’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid earn $118 million with its Memorial Day debut, and two years ago Tom Cruise set a Memorial Day record with Top Gun: Maverick raking in $160 million. Even in the pandemic-stricken times of 2021, the top movie over the same holiday weekend saw more success, with A Quiet Place Part II earning over $57 million.

the Garfield Movie 2024
the Garfield Movie 2024

The Garfield Movie should actually hit its opening-weekend projections of around $30 million once its Monday numbers are added in, and its saving grace over what was otherwise a slow weekend is that this Sony Pictures animation only cost $60 million to make. Adding in $66 million in international numbers, Chris Pratt’s latest project has already garnered over $91 million, and the orange tabby’s lasagna funds should be safe.

Another feather in its cap is that it earned more than the Bill Murray-fronted Garfield: The Movie from 2004, which earned $21.7 million. Both movies were critically panned — Eric Eisenberg rated The Garfield Movie just 2 stars out of 5 in CinemaBlend’s review — but seem to have been more widely accepted by audiences.

Meanwhile, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga failed to match Warner Bros.’ hopes of surpassing $40 million in its premiere weekend and has a much-larger price tag to worry about. The George Miller prequel reportedly cost $168 million to make, so even with the $33 million bump it got internationally (to equal $58.9 million globally so far), it’s got quite a bit of ground to make up in order to break even. In comparison to its predecessor, 2015’s Max Max: Fury Road earned $45 million over its first three days on the big screen.

While critics were all over the place with Furiosa — our own Mike Reyes gave it just 2 stars and called it “a draining slog” — reception overall has been more positive. It holds a Certified Fresh 89% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 90% from the audience. Similarly, CinemaScore grades the movie a B+, and positive word-of-mouth advertising might benefit this post-apocalyptic action flick, especially moviegoers who want something a little stronger than the family friendly offerings.

IF Surpasses $50M Domestically And Should Hit Another Milestone With Monday Numbers

Speaking of the family friendly flicks available to help keep kids entertained while they’re out of school, IF held firm to the No. 3 spot at the box office this week — a good sign if it hopes to keep chipping away at its $110 million budget. Its $16.1 million in domestic earnings shows a 52% decline from its first three days in theaters, but it's good enough to surpass $50 million in the U.S. and Canada. What’s more, by the time Memorial Day numbers are added, IF is projected to have surpassed $100 million worldwide. As of Sunday’s projections, it stands at $98.7 million.

There’s a chance for John Krasinski’s project to see its numbers climb, especially since it has people talking about the emotionally devastating punch that CinemaBlend’s Mick Joest and several other parents weren’t prepared for. IF has its work cut out for it, though, now that it’s in competition with The Garfield Movie, not to mention the big releases coming later this summer like Inside Out 2 and Despicable Me 4.

Second-Weekend Movies Fail To Rebound

In other second-weekend news, The Strangers: Chapter 1 fell 53% over its first three days to earn $5.6 million — good for sixth place. Negative reviews of the slasher flick from both critics (20% on Rotten Tomatoes) and audience members (44%) likely contributed to a rough start for the first film in this trilogy, and the over-50% dip was expected. The second and third movies have already been shot and are slated for release later this year. Perhaps people are waiting to watch the complete set?

The news was even worse for Back to Black, the Amy Winehouse biopic starring Marissa Abela. After debuting at No. 6 its opening weekend, it earned 63% less over the first three days of Memorial Day weekend, falling all the way to No 10 in its sophomore effort. It added just $1 million to total $4.8 million domestically. Many critics said A24’s Oscar-winning documentary Amy from 2015 was a more satisfying portrayal of the singer whose life came to a tragic end in 2011, and after seeing both movies, our own Sarah El-Mahmoud would tend to agree.

One more achievement of note before we wrap things up for this week: Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes has now become the fourth-best release of 2024 domestically, surpassing Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire with its $122.8 million. Next in its sights: Kung Fu Panda 4 at $193.3 million.

All of the movies in the top 10 have an opportunity for more eyeballs next weekend, with no huge releases. Will Furiosa or The Garfield Movie emerge as the true winner? Join us back here next Sunday to find out, and in the meantime, check out our 2024 movie release calendar to see what is coming up.