May 21, 2023

Behind the US/Worldwide Box Office – 5.21.2023


OPENINGS:  FAST X (Universal) arrived with $67.5M.  In the US, that was slightly below the $70M for F9, one of the first big-ticket movies to brave a wide pandemic-era release in May 2021.  In terms of the franchise as a whole (leaving aside spinoff Hobbes & Shaw), Fast X was the 7th highest of the 10 chapters, and the lowest since 2006’s Tokyo Drift.  However, the Fast franchise has long relied on its much higher international appeal (F9 earned 76% of its worldwide total overseas), and that was the case again, with $251.4M in 84 territories, led by $78.3M in China.  That’s a very big number, but still not up to the recent standards of the franchise.  F9 had a different international release pattern, gradually adding markets over the month before the US opening, however the previous release Fate of the Furious launched with $433.2M in 63 territories.  Remarkably, even a $700M worldwide total would make profitability tenuous on wild production costs, with which global marketing have been estimated at $450M+.

HOLDOVERS:  GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 3 (Marvel/Disney) lost most of its Imax and similar screens to Fast X, contributing to a 48% Weekend 3 drop to $32M.  A $365M US total would put it a bit under the $389.8M for Vol 2.  Overseas, Vol 3 has $392.6M after a $48.8M weekend, and will hope to pass Vol 2‘s $473.9M.

THE SUPER MARIO BROS MOVIE (Illumination/Universal, also on VOD) dipped 22% to $9.8M in its 7th weekend, on its way to $580M in the US, which would place it behind only The Incredibles 2 in animation history.  The international total is $680.2M, putting the worldwide number at an amazing $1.2B.

BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER (Focus/Universal) took a post-Mother’s Day hit from what was already a mediocre start, down 55% to $3M, and unlikely to get much past $20M in the US–a far cry from the $68.6M for the first Book Club in 2018.  It also has $3.8M overseas.

EVIL DEAD RISE (Warners) lost 36% to $2.4M in its 5th weekend, on track to pass $70M in the US.  It’s equally strong overseas with $71.5M to date.

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 4 (Lionsgate) dipped 36% to $1.3M, heading toward $190M in the US.  Chapter 4 has also been the franchise’s strongest entry internationally, with $242.2M compared to the $157.3M for Chapter 3.

ARE YOU THERE GOD?  IT’S ME, MARGARET (Lionsgate) also had a post-Mother’s Day hangover, down 47% to $1.3M, and in need of a stretch to reach $25M in the US.  It hasn’t yet opened overseas.

LIMITED RELEASE:  SANCTUARY (Neon) had a fair start at 5 NY/LA theaters with a weekend $13K per-theater average.  MASTER GARDENER (Magnolia) opened at 220 with a $1200 average.  MONICA (IFC) expanded to 93 and averaged $400.  THE STARLING GIRL (Bleecker Street) widened to 27 with a $1100 average.  L’IMMENSITA (Music Box) averaged $1200 at 20.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The big Memorial Day Weekend arrival is the live-action reboot of THE LITTLE MERMAID (Disney).  Counterprogramming will come from KANDAHAR (Open Road), ABOUT MY FATHER (Lionsgate), and THE MACHINE (Screen Gems/Sony).  In addition, YOU HURT MY FEELINGS (A24) begins a limited release.

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."