The slump resumes as summer enters its second week. Things could change, but the same old problems persist.
After nearly two weeks in play, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” (Disney) sits at $688 million worldwide. It’s ultimately heading for around $1 billion in theaters, a great achievement, especially for a Marvel entry that clearly hasn’t reached the satisfaction level of top entries like “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” .
The biggest opening of the year has met its target, but will not exceed it. A national drop of 67% in the second weekend, in the high end of comic book blockbusters, guarantees it. At $292 million, expect it to easily top “The Batman,” currently at $369 million in returns in the US and Canada.
…but only because it opened with $52 million more than the DC Comics hit. Matt Reeves’ blockbuster made $66.5 million in its second weekend, down 50%. Among Marvel’s recent early summer releases, the drop has been in a lower, consistent range of 55-59%. Last December, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” also fell 67%, but its exaggerated drop was tied to a second Friday landing on Christmas Eve, which is normally a dead zone for theaters.
“Dr. Strange” remained the dominant force in theaters, accounting for roughly two-thirds of all box office grossing – and that’s the problem. Between its steep drop and just $31 million for everything else, the $92 million total continues a troubling and continuing trend.
In 2008, “Iron Man” marked the start of the summer cinema season starting in early May. Since then, apart from the two Covid years, no May weekend so far has brought in less than $100 million. And the last, in 2007 (which was just below), would be worth $130 million or more today.
Compared to this date in 2019, the current catch is only 62%. A week, of course, is a snapshot, but our calculation for four weeks before and up to this one compared to three years ago is 67%. Year to date? Still below 60% despite the high flight “Strange”.
©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection
After several weeks of weak competition from domestic platforms for Top 10 films, this week sees four of the titles, including two of the top four, with alternatives. Three are from Universal and its subsidiary Focus, with the Blumhouse Stephen King remake “Firestarter” airing on Peacock from the start, and “Bad Guys” and “The Northman” following their usual PVOD schedule after three weekends.
“Firestarter,” with awful reviews and a terrible C-Cinemascore, earned just $3.8 million and managed to hit No. 4 in a low overall Top 10. Don’t blame Peacock – last fall, “Halloween Kills” followed the same release pattern and opened to $49 million.
“Bad Guys” remained at No. 2, down 28%. No. 3 was “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” (Paramount), which dropped 23% in comparison. But the big catch champion remains “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24), down just 6% to No. 5, and likely hitting $50 million, the best for the company, by the end. of next weekend. “The Lost City” (Paramount), which debuted on both PVOD and Paramount+ this week, fell 37% to No. 7, down to $3 million from $100 million.
“Family Camp” (Roadside Attractions) also opened, a faith-based comedy that ranked ninth in 854 theaters with $1,427,000.
The big news this week was the announcement that The Landmark – the company’s premier theater and a dominant player in the Los Angeles specialty exhibition for many years – is closing May 31. The reason seems closely linked to its collapsing revenue and an expensive location. . Further evidence of what niche exhibitors are facing comes from this week’s expansion of the acclaimed film, “Happening” (IFC), which posted a very high Metacritic score of 85. Quickly adding 182 theaters to its top four, it grossed just $59,000 playing nationally in an array of specialty theaters and major, specialty-tailored circuits. That’s only an average of $312 per theater, with ticket prices at most over $10.
It’s scary. IFC is adept at marketing its films for non-theatrical viewers, with the hope that it will reach home viewing quickly. With the cost of acquiring and opening these films falling, this could prove to be a win-win situation for them. But for theaters, it’s a disaster. And it comes just before Cannes, when many similar new films will be available for acquisition.
Courtesy of Everett Collection
Overall Porn World “Pleasure” (Neon) was the best of the limited new openings, with $17,824 from two theaters. It’s above average these days. “Montana” (Bleecker Street) debuted in four theaters with a total of $20,104.
Next week will see ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ (Focus), the best chance to test recently if older audiences are ready to return in droves. This is a critical version. “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount) will premiere the following week and will provide the next shot for theaters to really explode. It can’t come soon enough.
1. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Disney) Week 2; Last weekend #1
$61,003,000 (-67%) in 4,534 theaters (unchanged); PTA (average per venue): $13,455; Cumulative: $291,863,000
2. The bad guys (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend #2; also on PVOD
$6,900,000 (-28%) in 3,788 (-51) theaters; APT: $1,822; Cumulative: $62,284,000
3. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Priority) Week 6; Last weekend #3
$4,550,000 (-24%) in 3,116 (-242) theaters; APE: $1,460; Cumulative: $175,000,000
4. Fire starter (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: C-; Metacritic: 32; East. budget: $12 million
$3,820,000 in 3,412 theaters; APT: $1,120; Cumulative: $3,820,000
5. Everything everywhere at once (A24) Week 8; Last weekend #5
$3,303,000 (-6%) at 1,726 (+184) theaters; APT: $1,914; Cumulative: $47,103,000
6. Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets (Warner Bros.) Week 5; Last weekend #4
$2,420,000 (-43%) at 2,578 (-473) theaters; APE: $939; Cumulative: $90,046,000
7. The Lost City (Priority) week 8; Last weekend #7; also on Peacock
$1,730,000 (-37%) in 1,675 (-222) theaters; APE: $1,033; Cumulative: $97,150,000
8. The Northman (Tweak) Week 4; Last weekend #6; also on PVOD
$1,700,000 (-40%) in 1,934 (-479) theaters; APE: $; Cumulative: $31,158,000
9. Family camp (Road Attractions) NEW
$1,427,000 in 854 theaters; APE: $1,670; Cumulative: $1,427,000
10. The unbearable weight of massive talent (Lionsgate) week 4; Last weekend #8
$1,050,000 (-34%) in 1,076 (-255) theaters; APE: $976; Cumulative: $18,218,000
Additional Specialized/Limited/Indie Versions
Pleasure (Neon) NEW – Metacrit: 76; Festivals include: Sundance 2021
$17,274 in 2 theaters; APT: $8,637
Montana History (Bleecker Street) NEW – Metacritic: 72; Festivals include: Toronto 2021
$20,104 in 4 theaters; APT: $5,026
Innocents (IFC) NEW – Metacritic: 76; Festivals include: Cannes 2021, New Directors/New Films 2022; also on VOD
$12,500 in 32 rooms; APE: $391
mau (Greenwich) NEW – Festivals include: South by Southwest 2021
$7,500 in 2 theaters; APT: $3,750
Jazzfest: A History of New Orleans (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW – Metacritic: 78; Festivals include: South by Southwest 2022
$7,469 in 5 rooms; APT: $1,494
Event (IFC) Week 2
$59,000 at 186 theaters; APT: $312; Cumulative: $100,303
Lux Aeterna (Yellow Veil) Week 2
$5,600 in 1 (+4) theaters; APT: $1,200; Cumulative: $17,400
Vortex (Utopia) Week 3 39
$22,553 in 43 (+4) theaters; Cumulative: $93,364
Little mom (Neon) Week 4
$105,000 in 222 (-2) theaters; Cumulative: $575,000
The Duke (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4
$246,005 in 246 3) theaters; Cumulative: $1,008,000