May 15, 2022

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 5.15.2022


OPENINGS:  No one, including its studio, expected much from the remake of FIRESTARTER (Blumhouse/Universal, also on Peacock), and it delivered a weak $3.8M that suggests an eventual $10M US total.  Economics become murky when films also premiere on streaming, but that certainly isn’t good.  Things were no better overseas, where Firestarter limped to $2.1M in 40 markets.

The Christian-aimed comedy FAMILY CAMP (Roadside) launched in 854 theaters with $1.4M, a low number even for the genre.

HOLDOVERS:  Despite the lack of meaningful new competition, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS (Marvel/Disney) flamed out quickly with a 68% dive to $61M.  That’s considerably worse than the 59% drop for Age of Ultron and the 62% for Eternals, and it’s uncomfortably close to the infamous 69% plunge for Batman v. SupermanMultiverse of Madness will still probably top $400M in the US, making it the year’s top-grossing movie thus far, but the MCU is so critically important to the movie industry at this point that this Weekend 2 fall is drawing a fair amount of throat-clearing and theorizing from pundits.  For now, the heavy drop seems attributable to an installment that was tonally different from other MCU entries and not a model of narrative clarity, and things will likely look different when Thor: Love & Thunder arrives in July.  But any shakiness in the culture’s premier franchise will inevitably lead to scrutiny.  Multiverse of Madness held somewhat better overseas, where it lost 60% of last week’s total to $83.5M in 49 territories for $396.2M to date.

The market’s family movies continued to hold well.  THE BAD GUYS (DreamWorks Animation/Universal, also on VOD) dipped 28% to $6.9M in its 4th weekend, and should reach $85M in the US; it also has $99.3M overseas.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 (Paramount) was down a mere 24% to $4.6M in its 6th weekend, on its way to $185M+ in the US, and with $179.5M overseas.

The phenomenon of the box office year continues to be EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME (A24), which miraculously slipped just 6% in its 8th weekend to $3.3M, and is on track to pass $50M in the next week or so, making it A24’s biggest hit.  The film is taking its time with international release, at $4.7M thus far.

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE (Warners) fell 43% in its 5th weekend to $2.4M, and seems likely to run out of railway before hitting $100M in the US.  It has a more robust $286M overseas, although that won’t be enough for profit.

THE LOST CITY (Paramount, also on Paramount+) lost 37% to $1.8M in its 8th weekend, and despite its availability on streaming, it appears set to pass $100M in the US.  Overseas is more subdued with $68.4M.

THE NORTHMEN (Focus/Universal, also on VOD) fell 41% to $1.7M in its 4th weekend, and won’t get much beyond $35M in the US.  With $27M overseas, it’s going to generate a fair amount of red ink.

THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT (Lionsgate) lost 34% to $1.1M in its 4th weekend, and will barely exceed $20M in the US.  It has $5.7M overseas.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The adult film PLEASURE (Neon) debuted at 2 NY/LA arthouses with a $17.3K weekend per-theater average.  MONTANA STORY (Bleecker Street) opened at 4 and averaged $5K.  THE INNOCENTS (IFC) averaged just $400 at 32.  The French abortion drama HAPPENING (IFC) widened unsuccessfully to 186 with a tiny $300 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  One more relatively free stretch for Doctor StrangeDOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW AGE (Focus/Universal) will provide another test of whether the older audience is willing to return to theaters, coming off a $31M opening for the first Downton movie in 2019.  Alex Garland’s MEN (A24) is in the elevated horror niche.

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."