Even if folks clamor that this opening for the DCU (not DCEU anymore) was low for its standards, we’ll have to do a rapid breakdown of how it finally took a superhero movie, one of the most pedestrian genres of 2023, to beat the Barbenheimer trend that quickly dispatched of any competition for the past four weekends.
In 2023, the scenery for blockbuster showcasing has become more reliant on audiences saying, “We want a good product,” when studio executives still try to milk every penny for every IP known to man. The complications arise when budgets have egregiously tipped beyond the means necessary and for sequels/reboots to come out because we enjoyed that franchise years ago. With superheroes, we had Quantumania stumble (for MCU standards) due to the destruction of the core in one of the lighter subgenres in the Marvel canon. The Flash tried to promote itself as the “best superhero movie ever,” but cheating your audiences will not prevail, and its numbers lost Warner Brothers more than Green Lantern. And Shazam! Fury of the Gods is another case of generic and monotonous.
Marvel’s Secret Invasion series ended on a whimper that audiences are iffy about the remaining two superhero films in the winter season. So, DC’s newcomer Blue Beetle earned what was deemed “passable” with $25.4 million domestically and $43.4 million globally in its debut. Good reviews and a B+ from CinemaScore could help it leg out past the $100 million price tag. However, it remains to be seen if this can keep up the solid box office performance trend over the next few weeks. The other main concern is that perhaps it was unjust for these parent companies of superheroes to wait to diversify their lineup before the genre stopped guaranteeing to become “events.” Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Wonder Woman stood out because they were ripe for witnessing when the box office was blossoming (Shang-Chi would be incorporated had it not opened fully fledged under COVID times).
Barbie finally fell to second place but dipped 36% to $21.5 million and $567.1 million in its domestic run. The Greta Gerwig feature has passed $1.2 billion worldwide and will pass Mario domestically sometime by Thursday. The pink flavors have magnetized their way into popular culture as the school season, so this feature is here to stay for a tremendous amount of time. The same can be said for Oppenheimer, which passed $700 million globally, also passed Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and Nolan’s Interstellar, and will pass Fast X by the end of this sentence. It has passed the domestic total of Sing 2, meaning it’s the highest-earning movie ever to never be in first place for a weekend. Christopher Nolan has already made the money necessary to cover the expenses of this ambitious, enriching work, so I think he’ll be OK with breaking the other records after its colorful counterpart tries to earn the gold for the year.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem dipped 45% in its third weekend and has passed $115 million worldwide. Not bad for a reboot of the animated IP, as it may end its run at around $150 million worldwide. Newcomer Strays collapsed vastly in its debut, not even touching the earnings of No Hard Feelings and Cocaine Bear from earlier this year. It can only hope to stand out in another R-rated comedy’s current conditions.
Meg 2: The Trench has surpassed $300 million globally (thanks very much to overseas numbers), Talk To Me will reach $50 million globally by Tuesday (good for A24 standards), Haunted Mansion has collapsed and will not even pass $100 million worldwide (should’ve opened it near Halloween, Disney), and The Last Voyage in the Demeter has sunk to $11.5 million globally on its second weekend. Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part 1 (slightly under $550 million globally) sadly can’t muster any further in these conditions and will be the first of the M:I series to become a box-office disappointment. Let’s hope Part 2 can redeem itself under a better atmosphere and a lighter budget. A rare misstep for Tom Cruise.
Next weekend sees the release of Gran Turismo, Retribution, Bottoms, Golda, The Retirement Plan, and The Hill (select titles will also drop on Hulu and Netflix).