As we reach the tail end of June amid a hot, audacious summer, we start picking up on the box office’s genuine winners (and losers) with a bit more punctilious insight. Regarding the loser’s side, it’s almost as synonymous with those days when we thought history would not repeat itself. Alas, that is not the case, as The Flash‘s numbers this past weekend are a redux of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Green Lantern (2011). Not exactly the type of flamboyant, wondrous picture Warner Brothers had painted when they had fans on social media tout the latest DC feature as “one of the greatest superhero movies of all time.”
The Ezra Miller/Michael Keaton speedster feature cratered 73% in its second weekend, worse than recent features Black Adam (59%) and Shazam! Fury of the Gods (69%), which both became money losers for the studio. It’s a catastrophic turn for the $200 million budgeted tentpole release because its word-of-mouth has been more discouraging (when trying to cast aside Miller’s recent public issues and the production team’s defense of the obnoxious CGI). Legs will be diminishing—$ 87 million domestically and $210.9 million worldwide is another predestined loss for DC. Perhaps the writing on the wall was always there, no matter how much Warner Brothers could market Keaton’s return or another multiverse scenario. James Gunn and Peter Safran better have some answers soon, or this could get messy quickly. Yours indeed will standby that this film would not work because A) Miller and Keaton are not bona fide stars in today’s environment, B) audiences already got ten years of the speedster free on TV, and C) the DCEU’s abysmal track record would always be the difference in whether another person could avoid another trip to the multiplex. Will there be a sequel? Chances are, Gunn could easily replace Miller, or it doesn’t happen in his rebooted DC Studios.
In any case, DC is on a three-movie losing streak; Blue Beetle and Aquaman 2 need all they can to snap it.
Moving over into the good news, Across The Spider-Verse has been legging out so well that it reclaimed gold at the box office this weekend. The 29% drop means that it could have the potential of inching close to $400 million domestically, on par with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Wonder Woman. At $560.2 million worldwide, it’s on pace to push up closer to $650 million now. Bravo indeed, Sony Pictures. On other superhero notes (that isn’t The Flash), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has passed $350 million domestically, dipping 33% in its eighth weekend. It’ll be inching nearly $840 million worldwide when all is said and done, an unbridled success for the MCU).
Elemental fared much better in its second weekend than expected, only dipping 38% with $18.46 million and $65.5 domestically. Once again, had Disney not prepped audiences to rely on Disney+ for recent Pixar releases, we wouldn’t be frowning upon their delivery capabilities. But, much like The Flash, the new (good) Pixar installment won’t be enough to turn the tides in its favor for theatrical raw grosses and even VOD. It’s now the de facto choice for audiences this summer. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts took in $11.6 million on its third weekend, and it’ll pass $350 million worldwide by Tuesday. It’ll reach $400 million, but $450 million is a jump too far.
Newcomer No Hard Feelings was a win for Jennifer Lawrence and R-rated star-driven comedies barring an IP. $15.1 million in 3,208 theaters is not bad, and the online controversy surrounding “sexual grooming” is arguably ludicrous as the film spends more time awkwardly justifying its ickiness through the generational gaps/immaturity. The $45 million price tag will be somewhat difficult to justify, but it might have VOD clean up the repairs if it can’t go the distance.
Elsewhere, Wes Anderson secured $9 million with Asteroid City as it expanded to 1,675 theaters, a career-high. The Little Mermaid passed $500 million worldwide, while Fast X just missed $700 million worldwide. The latter results, as it’s already on VOD, showcase that Universal needs to caution its budget and marketing for Part 2 come 2025, as they can’t go with flying colors if domestic numbers don’t hold up their side of the deal for Dominic Toretto and his families.
Next weekend sees the release of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken.