March 5, 2023

Behind the US/Worldwide Box Office – 3.5.2023


OPENINGS:  CREED III (UA/MGM/Amazon) launched with an impressive $58.7M, higher than the 5-day Thanksgiving weekend starts for the previous entries in the series ($42.1M/$56M), and also higher than any of the Rocky movies (not adjusted for inflation).  As is typical for this franchise, overseas was somewhat softer, with $41.8M from 75 markets.  Nevertheless, the mid-budgeted Creed III should be quite profitable.

DEMON SLAYER: TO THE SWORDSMITH VILLAGE (Crunchyroll/Sony) wasn’t as strong as its predecessor, with $10.1M compared to the $21.2M start for 2021’s Mugen Train.  The genre tends to be front-loaded, so the US total may not be much higher than $20M.  Internationally, $23.4M of the $25M total is from Japan.

OPERATION FORTUNE: RUSE DE GUERRE (Lionsgate) was caught up in original US distributor STX’s bankruptcy proceedings, and rushed onto the release schedule with little notice and limited marketing.  The result was a subpar $3.2M launch, with little chance that the US total will come near the $30.8M Fortune has earned overseas.

HOLDOVERS:  Now that the studios are releasing major titles on a weekly basis, we’re starting to see holdovers (barring a pair of long-running blockbusters) taking the kind of larger hits that were the pre-pandemic norm.  ANT-MAN & THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA (Marvel/Disney) fell 61% to $12.5M in its 3rd weekend, and now seems unlikely to get much past $225M in the US.  That would be less than $10M higher than Ant-Man & The Wasp‘s US total, even though Quantumania had a $30M larger opening weekend.  Things were worse overseas, where Quantumania has $232.7M after a $22M weekend in 52 territories, not close to Ant-Man & The Wasp‘s $406M international total.

COCAINE BEAR (Universal) dropped 53% from last week’s premiere to $11M, still on its way to a very solid $70M in the US.  However, overseas is at only $10.7M.

Christian-themed movies tend to hold unusually well at the box office, but that’s not proving to be the case for JESUS REVOLUTION (Lionsgate), which lost 46% to $8.7M in its 2nd weekend.  (By comparison, the same director’s I Can Only Imagine slipped 20% in Weekend 2 and American Underdog was down 33%.)  A US total over $50M would still be a tidy result for the low-budget production.  It hasn’t yet opened overseas.

AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER (20th/Disney) resisted the pull of large box office drops, down just 26% to $3.6M in its 12th weekend, and likely to top $680M in the US.  That would put it at #7 all-time, above Avengers: Infinity War.  It’s already at #3 worldwide, with $1.61B overseas after a $6.1M weekend in 52 markets.

PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH (DreamWorks Animation/Universal, also on VOD/Peacock) had another strong hold, down 34% to $2.7M in its 11th weekend, and on its way to $185M in the US.  The overseas total is $276.4M.

MAGIC MIKE’S LAST DANCE (Warners, also on VOD) tumbled by 59% to $1.2M in its 4th weekend, and may not reach $30M in the US, with an additional $27M overseas.  That might bring it near breakeven.

LIMITED RELEASE:  RETURN TO SEOUL (Sony Classics) expanded to 38 theaters with a $2400 weekend per-theater average.  THE QUIET GIRL (Neon) widened to 18 with a $4K average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  There was a time when studios kept their major releases off Oscar weekend, but as the ratings have declined, there no longer seems to be a worry of distracted moviegovers.  The big release is SCREAM VI (Paramount), with 65 (Columbia/Sony) and CHAMPIONS (Focus/Universal) as competition.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."