April 16, 2023

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 4.16.2023


OPENINGS:  Despite a bounty of new titles, nothing touched the holdover at the top of the weekend box office.  The newcomer with the closest claim to “success” in the US was THE POPE’S EXORCIST (Screen Gems/Sony), with $9.2M.  The horror movie also reported $27.4M in overseas release, which would put it on a road to potential profit against $60M+ in production and worldwide marketing costs.

Although its studio had plenty of money to count this weekend, the cash wasn’t from RENFIELD (Universal), which managed just $7.8M in the US and $2.3M overseas, against $125M+ in costs, and is headed for ink to match its copious bloodshed.

The anime SUZUME (Crunchyroll/Sony) opened in the US with a quiet $5M and since the genre tends to be front-loaded, it may not reach $15M.  However, that didn’t matter so much when the international total was $256.1M, $107.5M of that from China.

MAFIA MAMMA (Bleecker Street) chose to open in 2002 theaters and found only $2M, the latest Bleecker Street release to open widely and low (other recent examples:  Breaking with a sub-$1M opening at 902 theaters, and Mr Malcolm’s List with $800K at 1384).  It hasn’t yet opened overseas.

NEFARIOUS (Soli Deo Gloria) tried to repeat the path of the micro-budgeted horror hit Terrifier 2, which rode an $800K opening in 770 theaters to a $10.6M US total.  Nefarious started bigger with $1.3M at 933, but it remains to be seen whether it can duplicate Terrifier 2‘s remarkable feat of rising for its next 3 weekends.

The flop of the weekend was SWEETWATER (Briarcliff), with a sad $350K at 1204 theaters before it limps to home availability.

HOLDOVERS:  Moviegoers disdained the openings for THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE (Nintendo/Illumination/Universal), which declined a mere 41% to $87M from its massive opening.  If that number holds in finals, it will be the best Weekend 2 in animation history, beating Frozen 2‘s $86M.  Nor is the phenomenon of Super Mario limited to the US, with $330M overseas after a $94.1M weekend in 71 territories.  The blockbuster seems sure to pass $500M in the US and $1B worldwide.

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 4 (Lionsgate) dipped 45% to $7.9M in its 4th weekend, on its way to a franchise-best $185M.  It also has $189.6M overseas after an $18.6M weekend in 76 markets.

AIR (Amazon) held well, down 47% to $7.7M from its opening.  A $55M US total would be solid for an adult-aimed drama… if it didn’t carry a reported $175M+ in costs.  Overseas has been more subdued with $20.8M to date.

The franchise potential for DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: HONOR AMONG THIEVES (Paramount) seems dim, with a 47% drop to $7.4M in its 3rd weekend, and a $100M US total far from certain.  Overseas wasn’t much better with $83M.

SCREAM VI (Paramount) fell 58% to $1.5M in its 6th weekend, but its $110M likely US total set a new franchise record (unadjusted for inflation).  International is at $60.2M.

LIMITED RELEASE:  BEAU IS AFRAID (A24) received the full blast of its studio’s ability to eventize arthouse projects, with Imax-only openings in 4 NY/LA theaters and celebrity Q&As.  The result was a huge $80K weekend per-theater average, although whether the 3-hour dark fantasia will widen well is an open question.  WILD LIFE (Picturehouse/NatGeo) opened with a $23K average at 2.  SICK OF MYSELF (Utopia) averaged $10K at 2.  BLIND WOMAN, SLEEPING WILLOW (Zeitgeist) had a $3700 average at 2.  HOW TO BLOW UP A PIPELINE (Neon) expanded to 142 with a $1300 average.  SHOWING UP (A24) widened to 26 with a $4600 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Still no real competition for Super Mario Bros., with EVIL DEAD RISE (Warners) and THE COVENANT (Lionsgate) as the only wide arrivals.  Limited releases include CARMEN (Sony Classics) and CHEVALIER (Searchlight/Disney).

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."