Reports Paint A Bleak Picture For The Box Office This Year, But One Movie Release Just Hit A Big Box Office Milestone

 Sydney Sweeney in Madame Web.
Sydney Sweeney in Madame Web.

The 2024 movie schedule has been turbulent this year for Hollywood, grappling with the aftershocks of the 2023 Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild of America strikes, which officially ended after 118 days. At the same time, there have been bright spots, such as the critical and financial success of Dune: Part Two, which has risen to number one again thanks to the box office slump. Needless to say, the box office has seen its fair share of disappointments. However, one film has managed to stand out amidst the gloom: Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, which has roared its way to a massive $570 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing movie in the Legendary and Warner Bros’ MonsterVerse franchise.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire Does Monstrous Numbers At The Box Office

Despite the industry's overall struggles, per Deadline, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire has proven that blockbuster cinema still has legs. This latest installment in the MonsterVerse has surpassed the previous record set by Kong: Skull Island, which earned $568.6 million globally. With $373.7 million from international markets and $196.3 million domestically, the film has set new benchmarks in 35 territories, including major markets like Brazil, India, and Mexico.

Warner Bros' strategic timing played a crucial role in this success. The New Empire exceeded expectations by capitalizing on the Easter weekend slot, traditionally a lucrative period for the studio, grossing $80 million domestically in its opening weekend. Directed by Adam Wingard, who also helmed 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong, this film has become the second highest-grossing Hollywood movie of 2024, which surely bodes well for all the fans rallying to continued the “MonsterVerse.”

Slimer flying at camera in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire
Slimer flying at camera in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

A Year of Box Office Bombs (So Far)

The King of the Monsters and the Eighth Wonder of the World shined in cinemas, but many other films have floundered at the box office, struggling to find an audience in a market still recovering from the strikes and the pandemic. Here are some of the year's biggest box office flops:

  • Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire: Serving as a sequel to 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Frozen Empire aimed to recapture the magic but fell short. Despite a larger budget of $100 million compared to its predecessor's $75 million, the film opened to a disappointing $45 million and managed only $176.6 million worldwide. This performance, while not catastrophic, leaves Sony Pictures in the red and puts the future of the franchise in jeopardy.

  • Arthur the King: Starring Mark Wahlberg and Simu Liu, Arthur the King had all the makings of a hit but failed to resonate with audiences. Opening to just $7.6 million domestically and totaling $31 million worldwide against a $19 million budget, this feel-good movie struggled to compete with blockbusters like Dune: Part Two and Kung Fu Panda 4, effectively burying its chances for success.

  • Drive-Away Dolls: Ethan Coen’s solo directorial debut, was another significant disappointment. Despite the pedigree of its director, the road trip comedy earned a meager $2.4 million on its opening weekend and topped out at just under $7 million globally. This poor performance is a stark contrast to the critical acclaim typically associated with the Coen Brothers’ projects.

  • Madame Web: If memes equated to ticket sales, Madame Web could have possibly been the highest-grossing flick of the year. However, Sony's attempt to expand its Spider-Man spin-off universe with this Dakota Johnson superhero flick ended in disaster. With a budget of $80 million, the film only grossed $15.3 million in its opening weekend and barely crossed the $100 million mark worldwide. Poor reviews and a lack of interest sealed its fate, making it one of the more notable superhero flops in recent memory.

  • Furiosa: George Miller’s prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road also struggled. Despite high expectations, Furiosa grossed just $25.6 million domestically over its opening weekend, far below initial projections. Its international performance was equally lackluster, contributing to a worldwide total of $58.9 million against a hefty $160 million budget.

Austin Butler in Dune: Part 2
Austin Butler in Dune: Part 2

Nothing But The Box Office Hits, Please

  • Dune: Part Two: Denis Villeneuve's highly anticipated sequel opened to $178 million worldwide and has since reached an impressive $711 million, making it the highest-grossing film of 2024 so far.

  • Kung Fu Panda 4: Po’s return to the big screen, while not a critical slam dunk, was met with enthusiasm from longtime fans. The film grossed $539 million worldwide and proved the franchise's enduring appeal.

  • Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes: The latest entry in the Planet of the Apes series grossed $305 million, maintaining strong interest from audiences worldwide.

  • Bob Marley: One Love: this biopic of the legendary musician found a substantial audience, earning $179 million globally and becoming one of the highest-grossing music biopics of all time.

  • The Beekeeper: Jason Statham’s action movie was 2024's first hit, turning a modest $40 million budget into a $152 million global success.

  • Civil War: Alex Garland’s political war movie exceeded expectations with $113 million globally, becoming one of A24’s highest-grossing films.

Although Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire was met with mixed reviews, it has provided a beacon of hope, the numerous flops highlight the challenges Hollywood continues to face. Despite its $135 million production cost, which was 75% funded by Legendary and 25% by Warner Bros, The New Empire has proven to be a monumental success, delivering a much-needed win for the global box office.

You can revisit the King(s) of the box office so far by renting it wherever you get your movies or streaming the previous entries in the MonsterVerse, which is now streaming with a Max (formerly HBO Max) subscription. You can also check out the connected TV series, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, available to watch with an Apple TV+ subscription