‘Furiosa’ Up In Smoke With $31M-$33M, Lowest Memorial Day Opening In Decades, Might Get Clawed By ‘Garfield’: How Worried Should Hollywood Be About Theatrical? – Saturday Update

‘Furiosa’ Up In Smoke With $31M-$33M, Lowest Memorial Day Opening In Decades, Might Get Clawed By ‘Garfield’: How Worried Should Hollywood Be About Theatrical? – Saturday Update

SATURDAY AM: This weekend at the Memorial Day box office, the film industry seems to be questioning its existence, ready to jump out of a window. How can a genius, George Miller-directed tentpole prequel to the multi-Oscar winning Mad Max: Fury Road with great reviews and 4 1/2 stars PostTrak exits not be working?

The entire theatrical business is destined for streaming, oh, no! People will forever stay on their couches!

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As Cher said to Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck as she smacked him in the face: “Snap out of it!” It’s not really right to make Furiosa, or Garfield, for that matter, the proxies of the Memorial Day box office.

Furiosa is still on track for $31M-$33M. For clarity purposes: The last time a film grossed in this vicinity was the 1980s with Return of the Jedi and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. However, we stand corrected: It’s the lowest No. 1 Memorial Day opening in 29 years, the last time we bottomed out was 1995’s Casper ($22M). And as we told you in our summer preview, Alcon/Sony’s Garfield could beat her with a similar 4-day haul.

As great as anyone (including myself) might think Furiosa is, Mad Max is finite fanboy property, R-rated at that, and he’s always been. Ya know how many 13-17 year olds went to Furiosa yesterday? 2%, per PostTrak. That’s a big boy quad that’s missing. Do you know how many women went yesterday? 29%. Adults over 55? 9%. Mad Max and Furiosa aren’t everyone movies. Get with it, people.

Mad Max: Fury Road opened to $45.4M and was beaten by girls at the box office in Pitch Perfect 2, which mowed him down with a No. 1 take of $69.2M in mid-May 2015.

Yes, that film, at $154.2M domestic, $380.4M worldwide, is the highest-grossing in the franchise. But the 1980s Warner Bros versions weren’t mass appealing movies back in the day: In 1982, Road Warrior grossed north of $23M at a time when that year delivered six $100M-plus grossing movies stateside, E.T. alone made north of $238M by the end of its summer. 1985’s Mad Max: Thunderdome, starring pop legend Tina Turner, also didn’t set the world on fire with $36.2M domestic.

Live to the reality that Mad Max isn’t Star Wars, Jurassic World, Marvel, Dune…in fact, Furiosa doesn’t have any tender kissing scenes like Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya do in that desert saga. Again, spray-painted, nomad motorcycle gangs zooming around in the desert starring 99% men aren’t for everyone.

It’s all about product. Theatrical isn’t broken. Dune, Godzilla x Kong proved earlier this year that audiences have an appetite for moviegoing. Ditto for Barbie and Oppenheimer last summer, and Top Gun: Maverick and Little Mermaid last Memorial Day weekend.

Yes, we can point fingers at marketing, and cry that Anya Taylor-Joy is no Charlize Theron to put butts in seats. But really, even if the latter Oscar-winner reprised her role here, how much more money are we talking at the box office this weekend? $10M? $15M? She’d be CGI-ed, de-aged in this movie, and Miller didn’t want that, and that alone could have sidelined more Mad Max fans. Mad Max: Fury Road was an also-ran event film back in the summer of 2015, where there were bigger main attractions like Jurassic World ($652.2M) and Avengers: Age of Ultron ($459M).

Furthermore, Memorial Day weekend is a place where studios can easily bury duds and make the most out of a four-day play period. There have been other conceived event films which have failed to open over Memorial Day and in recent times: How about 2015, the same year when Mad Max Fury Road was in its second weekend.

Remember, Disney’s Tomorrowland led the holiday period with an awful $42.6M. Also, let’s go back to 2010: Minus No. 1 holdover Shrek Forever After ($57M) from the chart, and you’re left with new entry bombs Prince of Persia ($37.8M) and Sex and the City 2 ($36.8M).

Look, as far as Furiosa‘s misfire here — no one is shocked. Months ahead of the movie’s three-week NRG tracking, there unfortunately wasn’t any heat on the movie. Industry sources criticize the high stakes in doing a prequel with a new star to an already finite audience movie.

Some complain that the marketing looked too similar to Mad Max: Fury Road. What’s the plus in part two? Some say it was too noisy with people yelling, and they couldn’t make head or tails of the plot in the trailer. Others complain that Warners fired up the marketing campaign too late, putting all the emphasis on the 11th-hour Cannes Film Festival premiere, and that the audience for this movie extends far beyond the Croissette.

Frankly, taking the movie to Cannes wasn’t dumb on Warners’ part, and they scored excellent reviews. However, Furiosa’s lack of fire goes back to its first November trailer drop. Awareness for that bit only grew 17% before the trailer to 25% by February, per tracking service The Quorum. Those numbers were below audience demo averages of 43%. While Warners didn’t have last year’s San Diego Comic-Con to promote, they had Brazilian Comic-Con to blast the movie out.

What would have worked here? Probably a Mad Max sequel starring Tom Hardy in a different locale that built out the world. But again, Max has always been a limited fanboy property. Look fondly on Warners for swinging for the fences and making this prequel and taking a shot on Taylor-Joy, this title arguably the first tentpole she’s had to carry on her own post the success on Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit.

It was a ballsy greenlight considering Fury Road wasn’t known to profit through the roof at the time of its release (one finance source says, “Cost too much and had high talent participations”). It was the six Oscar wins and Best Picture nom that raised its profile. Unless there’s some glorious holdover factor here –(note that Mad Max: Fury Road wound up playing into Memorial Day weekend), the unfortunate sad odds are we may not see Miller’s other prequel Mad Max: Wasteland ever.

Says same finance source, “In the business, we love the Mad Max pictures and George’s work. But they have a limited audience and don’t play multi-quadrant. So, either stop making them or make them for much less.”


Furiosa gets a B+ CinemaScore like Mad Max: Fury Road. Males are present at 72%, the 18-34 crowd reps 55% of the audience, and Imax and PLFS rep 54% of the weekend gross. The movie is playing in the East and West, with AMC Lincoln Square so far he highest-grossing venue in the nation with $77K.

Garfield gets a B+, too, and 73% positive on PostTrak, though kids under 12 like it better at 86%. 53% of the audience is women, 26% are under 12, 30% are between 13-24 and 44% are over 24 years old. Diversity demos are 38% Latino and Hispanic, 38% Caucasian, 9% Asian and 7% Black.

The 48-year old, Jon Davis-created comic strip IP is playing in the South, South Central and Midwest, with the Harkins Estrella Falls in Phoenix, Arizona, its highest-grossing cinema stateside with $17k.

Total 4-day box office is $124.7M, off close to -40% from the same frame a year ago Memorial Day frame which grossed close to $205M.

The chart as of Saturday AM:

1.) Furiosa (WB) 3,804 theaters, Fri $10.2M, 3-day $25M 4-day $31M-$33M/Wk 1

2.)Garfield The Movie (Alcon/Sony) 4,035 theaters, Fri $8.4M 3-day $24M-$26M 4-day $31M-$33M /Wk 1

3.) If (Par) 4,068 theaters (+27) Fri $4.3M (-59%), 3-day $16M (-53%), 4-day $20.7M, Total $63.2M/Wk 2

4.) Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (20th/Dis) 3,550 (-525) theaters, Fri $3.4M (-50%) 3-day $12.4M (-51%), 4-day $15.9M, Total $125.3M/Wk 3

5.) Fall Guy (Uni) 2,955 (-890) theaters, Fri $1.6M (-32%), 3-day $5.7M (-32%),4-day $7.3M Total $73.5M/Wk 4

6.) Strangers -Chapter 1 (LG) 2,856 theaters, Fri $1.65M (-68%) 3-day $5.6M (-52%)4-day $7M Total $22.7M/Wk 2

7.) Sight (Angel) 2100 theaters Fri $1M 3-day $2.9M 4-day $3.6M/Wk 1

8.) Challengers (AMZ MGM) 1,089 (-849) theaters, Fri $438K (-53%), 3-day $1.5M (-48%) 4-day $1.8M/Total $46.9M/ Wk 3

9.) Babes (NEON) 590 (+578) theaters, Fri $480K (+603%), 3-day $1.32M (+709%), 4-day $1.62M, Total $1.8M/Wk 2

10.) Back to Black (Foc) 2013 theaters (+3), Fri $300K (-75%) 3-day $1M (-65%), 4-day $1.2M, Total $5.1M/Wk 2

FRIDAY AFTERNOON: Ouch, it’s looking really bad. Warner Bros.’ Furiosa is possibly posting the lowest opening for a Memorial Day movie in 41 years with a 4-day between $31M-$35M. How the holy heck is that? If the George Miller-directed prequel comes in on the low end, the last time a No. 1 movie or Memorial Day opening title filed a 4-day gross take that was lower was back in 1983, when Return of the Jedi made $30.5M — and that was a lot of money back then.

If Furiosa hits at the high end of its current range at $35M, then that’s the lowest Memorial Day weekend opening since 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which did $33.9M. Those ’80s grosses are not adjusted for inflation.

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

Furiosa is seeing an estimated $11M for today (including previews) and around $27.5M for the 3-day at 3,804 theaters, and that includes Imax. For all the hell we gave Disney/Lucasfilm’s Solo: A Star Wars Story back in pre-Covid 2018 with a $103M 4-day debut, jeez, that looks insanely rich by comparison. Before pulling the arm off Furiosa, we’ll let her live a bit and see where the night and weekend takes her before becoming judge, jury and executioner on this Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth prequel.

RELATED: ‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ Review: Chris Hemsworth And Anya Taylor-Joy Take Dystopian Franchise To New Levels – Cannes Film Festival

A bit mindboggling how bad the pre-reception is for Furiosa, but then again dystopian motorcycle-and-truck tattooed-gang movies in the desert aren’t for everybody. RelishMix shows a mixed-positive word of mouth on the pic despite its social media universe rallying at 37% above comps for sci-fi/action genres with close to 387M across TikTok, Facebook, X, YouTube and Instagram. Hemsworth has been promoting to his 97.6M fans plus posting videos with 88.3M views, as h s Taylor-Joy to her 10.9M fans with 62.7M video views on her Instagram.

I recently learned that Warner Bros is all in on Furiosa sans co-financiers such as Village Roadshow, which was involved on 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road. The sequel cost $168M before P&A.

Garfield (voiced by Chris Pratt). and his dad (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) in 'The Garfield Movie'
Garfield (voiced by Chris Pratt). and his dad (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) in 'The Garfield Movie'

Meanwhile, Alcon/Sony’s The Garfield Movie is showing $8M today (including previews), $24M for Friday-Sunday and $30M-$32M for the 4-day at 4,035 theaters, which includes PLF. On a 3-day basis, that would inch out the start of 2004’s Garfield: The Movie ($21.7M). That 20th Century Fox pic ended its run at $75.3M. Remember when we told you that Garfield could beat Furiosa? Well, some never believed it to be me true since Furiosa has Imax, Dolby, D-box and some PLFs.

Even with a new kids movie in the marketplace, Paramount’s second weekend of IF at 4,068 theaters is seeing a $4.5M Friday, 3-day of $16.8M, -50%, 4-day of $21.7M, and running total of $64.2M.

Fourth is the third weekend of 20th Century Studios’ Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes with $3.4M today, $12.8M 3-day, -50%, 4-day of $16.3M and running total by Sunday of $125.7M.

Universal’s fourth weekend of The Fall Guy at 2,955 is seeing $1.55M today, $5.5M Fri-Sun, -34%, $7M 4-day in fifth place and a running total of $73.2M by end of Sunday. The Ryan Gosling-Emily Blunt movie is available to purchase and rent on digital.

Angel Studios’ Sight booked at 2,100 theaters is grossing $1M today, $2.8M over 3-day and $3.5M over 4-day. The movie stars Greg Kinnear and Terry Chen, and follows the inspiring true story of Ming Wang, an impoverished Chinese prodigy who flees communist China to become a pioneering eye surgeon in America. When tasked with restoring the sight of an orphan who was blinded by her step-mother, he must confront the trauma of living through the violent uprising in his youth, the Cultural Revolution.

FRIDAY AM: Despite more movies in the marketplace, we’re still feeling the aftermath of the strikes. How is that? Many aren’t in the habit of moviegoing yet, and while content is king, neither of this weekend’s releases are expected to create a stampede: one is a prequel/spinoff with a new actress to a beloved Oscar winning cult movie, and the other is a family movie of an age-old comic-strip cat who eats lasagna. Don’t expect a $200M+ four-day weekend like the last two Memorial Day holiday frames have delivered.

Warner Bros’ Geroge Miller prequel Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga did $3.5M at 3,400 locations that began previews at 3PM.

2015’s Max Max Fury Road posted previews of $3.7M back in May 2015 off showtimes that began at 7PM and went on to open to $45.4M, No. 2 that weekend. The movie legged out to a 3.3x multiple. That’s the hope here for this movie that has Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy stepping in for Charlize Theron in this desert dystopian epic about Mad Max’s sidekick (depending on who you ask — Furiosa is arguably The Boss of the last film). Furiosa is expected to post $40M in its four day.

Unlike Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, last year’s big Hollywood premiere at Cannes which was knifed by critics, Furiosa won many over with 89% certified fresh on RT. Knock on wood, Furiosa on the Rotten Tomatoes audience meter is 96%. Screen Engine/Comscore PostTrak exits on the Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth movie is also very strong at 4 1/2 stars and a 70% recommend. Men at 68% gave the pic an 87% score while women at 32% gave it 81%. Hopefully all good word of mouth pays off during the Friday through Sunday span.

Meanwhile Alcon/Sony’s The Garfield Movie posted $1.9M in shows that started at 2PM yesterday at 3,243 locations. That’s a tad higher than IF’s previews last Thursday of $1.75M. Garfield is expected to do $30M+ over four days. Garfield is 37% Rotten with RT critics. General audiences numbered 58%, parents 19% and kids under 12 were 23%. General audience gave the animated pic 3 1/2 stars while parents and kids awarded it 4 1/2 stars. Overall, women outnumber men for Garfield at 55% to 45%.

Angels Studios’ Sight received 4 1/2 stars and a 68% definite recommend. Female heavy at 64%. The over 55+ demo arrived at 47% — no surprise here for a faith-based movie.

Elsewhere, Paramount’s IF ends week one with $42.5M, which is 8% behind the last PG live-action title, Hop, which posted a first week’s take of $46.4M. That Universal movie which was also had CGI animation mixed in, ended its U.S./Canada at $108M. No sequel was greenlit for the big screen. IF is hoping to ease -50% off its $33.7M opening. Hop was down -43%. Keep in mind Hop was an Easter title that played three weeks into the Holy weekend.


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