Before anyone looks at the numbers, let’s pause and have a breather: A film falling below expectations on the opening weekend doesn’t negate the enjoyment of anyone who wants to witness it, nor impact anyone’s desire to see it. We’ve seen some instances of aplomb when studios allow their features to sit tight and leg out the best they can under severe circumstances. One outstanding example is Pixar’s Elemental from earlier this year, legging out to $478 million worldwide after a bust of an opening and a subtle reminder that Disney had been teaching folks to enjoy the IP at home (due to COVID) instead of the multiplex. The Greatest Showman remained in theaters for over two hundred days, opening to a deflated $9 million three-day opening, yet legging out over the winter season to $435 million worldwide (while never topping the box office).
Granted, it’s too early to tell with The Marvels, as its $47 million opening is objectively the worst in MCU history (even below The Incredible Hulk and Ant-Man). Superhero fatigue has been an instrument of dictating how folks are approaching the IP now, as it was once a “guarantee” that a Marvel movie would demolish the opening weekend and get some decent legs. From 2016-2019 and a COVID rebound in late 2021-2022 (thanks to No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), the MCU was an unbridled territory for box office success. Now, the IP has been clung to as an act of desperation, as Disney is trying to reclaim their king status, yet it’s undercutting their momentum with sub-par superhero movies. Black Widow, Eternals, Multiverse of Madness, Love and Thunder, and Quantumania did not warrant enough of a watch and prematurely brought back the discussion of whether superheroes would ever ride the wave that happily rose years ago. Outside of No Way Home, Shang-Chi and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 were worthwhile entries post-Endgame; don’t pull a Star Wars Episode 9 now, Disney.
The Marvels could still stick the landing during this winter season, but it’ll have some challenges in its wake with The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, Trolls Band Together, and Wish coming next weekend/Thanksgiving time. A $110 million global debut is decent, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a wave of momentum for its budget being over $200 million. Now, in all fairness, the recent ending of the actors’ strike and lack of marketing did impact its ability to reach out more. The first Captain Marvel had a riveting connection as it dropped right after Avengers: Infinity War‘s thrilling cliffhanger and gave insight into a hero that would play a role in Endgame‘s success. Next weekend will tell how much this sequel starring Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, and Iman Vellani can maintain over the next few weeks. If all signs are worse than expected, it’ll likely be a box-office disappointment rather than a bomb (as some outlets are jumping to conclusions already).
In other news, Five Nights at Freddy’s has passed $250 million globally. By Tuesday, it should be Blumhouses’s highest-earning picture (passing Jordan Peele’s Get Out). A fan-devoted feature that negative reviews could not halt, this remains a gold mine for Blumhouse to pursue for future sequels and another reminder that the video game IP remains as strong as ever. Would it have been nice for the feature to be a better, cohesive film? Absolutely, but folks seem pleased with it, and even the simultaneous Peacock release isn’t slowing its momentum down.
Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour added another $5.9 million in its fifth weekend ($172.5 million domestically). This is a massive success for AMC, as the documentary has raced past Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part 1 and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts‘s domestic totals for this year. It’ll pass Indiana Jones 5‘s domestically by Tuesday night. It’ll be very close to seeing if it can usurp Michael Jackson’s This Is It ($261.1 million) as the highest-earning concert film. Being $20 million behind, it’s a grand possibility.
Priscilla dipped only 5% in its third weekend, a shocking number and win for Sofia Coppola; it already passed $12 million domestically and should have some light shed on it for the competition season as it spins a different light on Elvis. And Killers of the Flower Moon took fifth place with $4.65 million, putting it at $126.7 million worldwide (a complicated beast to assess given Apple’s small track record thus far in the theater realm). Hopefully, with the strikes ending, business will pick up in time for the late winter season, heading towards the end of 2023.
Next weekend sees the release of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, Trolls Band Together, Next Goal Wins, Thanksgiving, and Saltburn.