Spider-Man does the talking alone for pulling crowds to theaters (or variants when they’re included); when you put on a fantastic product, more are enticed to show up and break projections. The latest animated sequel opened with a blowout of $120.5 million domestically and $208 million worldwide, with the former mark being almost 3.5x its predecessor’s $35 million domestic debut. This is the kind of praise we’ve sought regarding the superhero genre since (ironically) Spider-Man: No Way Home in 2021 (I do throw the bone towards Wakanda Forever due to its sorrowful atmosphere in Chadwick Boseman’s absence and a creative story that undermines the “Superman” issue). Stretching beyond the walls of the IP and infecting itself with giddy joy make it one of the summer’s hottest acts. Perhaps the most exciting question for the remainder of the season is, does this sequel leg out like other leggy superhero franchise feats or an animated toon? With The Flash on the way in two weeks, superheroes might be the ones to single out for the remaining month.
The Little Mermaid held relatively firm in weekend two, earning $41 million domestically and $83 million worldwide to push its cume past $327 million. It has already passed its animated predecessor, even though it won’t have the same legs as the rebooted Aladdin or The Lion King. Perhaps families are OK with the film itself, barring any political agendas or social conflicts, and some might be inclined to rewatch again during this summer/off-school season. A $250 million budget, though, means this feature needs to reach at least $500 million to succeed, which seems to be the course set in stone at this point.
Speaking of massive budgets, Fast X took in $9.24 million domestically and $50 million worldwide, passing $600 million worldwide this weekend. At this rate of descent, it’ll get past $700 million worldwide, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing had the budget not been so noisy due to COVID measures and higher pays towards the cast. The lesson learned is that they’ll need to dial back for the next few more releases; Dwayne Johnson’s star power might bolster the outputs, but it appears that audiences domestically have become accustomed to the “oh great, another Fast film with more chaotic action that I can witness at home” rather than “I need to watch the high-octane energy spectacle in theaters.” What seems to be offputting as it is straightforward is that these features need more cohesive storytelling to lure audiences back in, not defy expectations every other two years. We’ll probably touch more on this aspect another day about Vin Diesel’s plans for the sendoff of the main series.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 earned $10.2 million in its fifth weekend, putting its global cume at $780 million globally; it should be past $800 million next weekend and could be the contender for the winner of the summer (unless Across the Spider-Verse, The Flash, or Mission Impossible 7 have a say). Newcomer The Boogeyman has earned mixed reviews but $20 million globally. This was a wiser decision than dropping it straight to Hulu. And The Super Mario Bros. Movie has topped $1.3 billion worldwide.
Next weekend sees the release of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and Flamin’ Hot.