May 26, 2024

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 5.26.2024


OPENINGS:  It was a bleak Memorial Day weekend at the box office, the worst in decades.  FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGA (Warners) limped to a victory for Friday-Sunday with $25.5M, but it may well tumble to 2nd place once the Monday holiday numbers are tallied.  Tellingly, Warners refused to so much as issue a 4-day weekend estimate today.  Even if Furiosa ekes out a victory at $32M, it will be a Pyrrhic one, far below the $45.4M 3-day start for Mad Max: Fury Road in 2015.  3-day vs 3-day, that’s a 44% drop.  The international results weren’t much better, with $33.3M from 75 markets.  Furiosa carries about $275M in production/marketing costs, so red ink is likely ahead.  As an aside, it’s been remarkable to observe the panic of box office pundits as they rush to reassure readers that the current state of theatrical distribution is nothing to panic about.  (Particularly since these same pundits would be partially responsible for any such panic by proclaiming every mid-week that the next openings are “bound to” hit numbers they’re unlikely to actually reach.)  The truth is that the theatrical business isn’t going anywhere–it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that’s quite capable of launching giant hits–but it will have to adjust to a filmgoing world where audiences don’t automatically show up to the latest expensive offshoots of aging franchises.

Adding insult to injury, Furiosa may fall over the 4-day holiday to THE GARFIELD MOVIE (Alcon/Columbia/Sony), a much less expensive (around $125-150M all-in) and much less acclaimed piece of work.  Garfield had $24.8M over the Friday-Sunday weekend, and is predicting $31.9M including Monday, with a potential advantage on the holiday thanks to kids out of school.  Garfield began its overseas release several weeks ago, and has $66.3M after a $14M weekend in 51 territories.

The latest play for Christian ticketbuyers was SIGHT (Angel), off to a slow start with $2.8M over 3 days and a predicted $3.6M for the full holiday weekend.

The indie BABES (Neon) expanded to the low edge of wide release at 590 theaters and had $1.1M for Friday-Sunday (an $1800 per-theater average) and $1.2M with Monday.

HOLDOVERS:  IF (Paramount) withstood the arrival of The Garfield Movie with a reasonable 52% drop to $16.1M ($21M with the holiday).  However, it’s extremely soft overseas, with $40M after an $11.3M weekend in 64 markets.  That may make it tough to recoup its $200M in costs.

KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (20th/Disney) continued to be the season’s one comparative bright spot to date, down 48% to $13.4M in its 3rd weekend ($17.1M with Monday).  A $165M US total would put Kingdom about 15% ahead of 2017’s War.  However, the international results are lagging behind the recent trilogy, with $172M after a $20.6M weekend in 52 territories.

THE FALL GUY (Universal, also on VOD) was seemingly undamaged by its availability at home, down 29% to $5.9M in its 4th weekend ($7.6M with the holiday).  Nevertheless, a $90M US result won’t be enough to reach breakeven, and the overseas total is $71.6M to date.

THE STRANGERS: CHAPTER 1 (Lionsgate) had a fair hold for the genre, down 53% to $5.6M ($7M with Monday).  It’s barely been released internationally thus far, but a $35M US total would be solid for low-budget horror.

CHALLENGERS (MGM Amazon, also on VOD) lost 52% to $1.4M in its 5th weekend ($1.7M over 4 days), and might pass $50M in the US.  It has $35.1M overseas.

BACK TO BLACK (Focus/Universal) fell 61% to $1.1M ($1.3M with Monday), and won’t hit $10M in the US.  It was a different tune overseas, where it has $38.7M.

LIMITED RELEASE:  EVIL DOES NOT EXIST (Janus/Sideshow) expanded to 138 theaters, with a $700 3-day weekend average.  KIDNAPPED (Cohen) averaged $7K at 2.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The only good news for Furiosa is that it has a free pass for its 2nd weekend, as the major studios have largely stayed away.  The only exception is YOUNG WOMAN AND THE SEA (Disney), an extremely unusual low-budget, non-franchise release for that studio.  Other openings include IN A VIOLENT NATURE (IFC) and SUMMER CAMP (Roadside).

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."