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Day One Creates a Big Buzz

Day One Creates a Big Buzz

It was another bustling weekend at the domestic box office, capping off a tremendous June 2024 that pretty much saved the annual box office. The biggest title of that month was also the number-one movie in America again for the third consecutive weekend. Inside Out 2 made another $57.4 million this frame (a 43% decline from last weekend) for a robust $469.3 million domestic total. Scoring the eighth-biggest third weekend in history, Inside Out 2 also scored the second-largest third domestic weekend ever for an animated movie. The champ in that regard? The $59.9 million third weekend haul of The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Having already more than tripled its opening weekend numbers, Inside Out 2 could be on track to surpass the $608 million domestic total of Incredibles 2 for the title of biggest animated movie ever domestically. We’ll see how it holds against Despicable Me 4. For now, this was another massive frame for a staggering surprise hit.

A Quiet Place: Day One had to settle for second place this weekend. However, don’t let that ranking distract from its outstanding debut. Grossing $53 million in its opening weekend, Day One had the biggest debut in the history of this franchise. Yes, even bigger than the first Quiet Place‘s $50.2 million bow. That’s an especially tremendous debut for a prequel totally disconnected from previous entries in the franchise. However, residual goodwill from the first two movies and Lupita Nyong’o’s popularity drove Day One to new box office heights. Even better, Day One had the seventh-biggest opening weekend of 2024.

How did Day One excel when so many 2024 sequels failed? The smart marketing emphasized a brand new setting (New York City) compared to the first two movies. Familiar scares and those devious alien monsters dominated trailers and posters. However, Paramount hammered home to prospective moviegoers how a city setting could be much different than the rural backdrop of prior Quiet Place adventures. With 4th of July weekend incoming, Day One has a good chance of sticking around at the box office. It could eventually secure $130+ million domestically.

In third place was Horizon: An American Saga- Chapter One, which opened to an anemic 11 $11 million. Both Horizon’s older audience breakdown and its doing 12.8 times its Thursday night previews through the whole weekend give Horizon’s financiers an inkling of hope the movie won’t be comically frontloaded. However, for a $50 million budgeted movie, this is terrible. Horizon opened only 10% better than the wide-release bow of Hostiles in 2018. It came in roughly 33% worse than A Million Ways to Die In The West in 2014. This movie also premiered 21% below the bow of Kevin Costner’s last directorial effort, Open Range.

Horizon received financing outside of the studio system through Costner and other entities. However, Warner Bros./New Line Cinema picked it up for distribution. This makes it another modern example of big Hollywood studios putting all their chips on older audiences to disastrous results. In the wake of COVID-19, the biggest American studios keep putting their financing and marketing resources behind excessively costly projects relying on moviegoers over 50 going to theaters in droves. For decades (and as late as 2011), the very reasonable complaint about Hollywood was that it only made movies for people under 30. Now, another obsession guides the industry. Studios want to transform the people that drove 1990s ticket sales into the saviors of 2020s moviegoing.

This has led to costly duds like The Last Duel (shot before the pandemic), Devotion, Amsterdam, The Expendables 4, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, She Said, A Haunting in Venice, Big George Foreman, Ferrari, My Big Fat Greek Wedding III, and countless others. Regardless of the actual quality of the individual movies (when has that impacted box office results in a world where Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen outgrossed Scott Pilgrim?), putting so much money into attracting old white moviegoers has not proven a reliable recipe for post-2020 box office success. Meanwhile, movies aimed at teenagers consistently wither away on streaming. This is despite Gen-Z and younger audiences being among the most avid theatrical moviegoers out there. Horizon bombing isn’t surprising. Costner was an erratic big box office draw in the late 90s. Building a 2024 Western just around “Costner is in a cowboy hat!” was not going to put butts in seats. However, its flopping should be another reminder to Hollywood to look to the future of moviegoers. Find the next Kevin Costner, don’t just settle for the past.

Those Bad Boys continued their glorious box office run with Bad Boys: Ride or Die’s final weekend in the eight-digit range. Going down 45% this weekend, Ride or Die made another $10.3 million this frame for a $165.2 million haul. A $185-195 million domestic total is in sight for this major hit.

In December 2009, the Indian box office smash 3 Idiots debuted in dollar theaters and other low-key multiplexes for its domestic run. Despite that setback, it grossed a robust $6.5 million in North America despite never playing in more than 156 locations. Five years later, a movie named PK opened to a fantastic $3.5 million domestically in 2014’s final weekends. It was the biggest North American launch of 2014 for any movie hailing from India. Flash-forward to 2024. Movies from India’s various cinema scenes (Hindi, Telegu, Tamil, etc.) have grown exponentially in their domestic box office power. Just look at Kalki 2898 AD, which cracked the top five biggest movies in America this weekend with $5.4 million. Over its first four days of domestic release, this Telegu feature from director Nag Ashwin has accumulated $10.9 million domestically.

After just four days of release, this sci-fi blockbuster is the tenth-biggest Indian feature ever domestically. Impressively, among those ten biggest movies, half (including Kalki 2898 AD) were released after 2020. Indian features tend to be frontloaded in North America (Animal, for example, only did 2.3 times its $6.5 million opening weekend in December 2023). This means Kalki 2898 AD won’t be turning up massive grosses for weeks and weeks to come. However, thanks to the incoming 4th of July weekend and summer weekdays, Kalki 2898 AD could become only the fifth Indian film ever to exceed $15 million domestically. In other words, the days of 3 Idiots and PK’s North American box office hauls are firmly in the rearview mirror for Indian cinema.

With five new wide releases opening this weekend (plus arthouse titles Janet Planet and Kinds of Kindness expanding into hundreds of theaters), holdovers lost much of their screens. Audiences also simply moved on from May 2024 features to a slew of newer releases. That led to many titles dropping sharply over this final frame of June 2024.

Director Jeff Nichols was once set to helm A Quiet Place: Day One before departing the project over creative differences. His latest movie, The Bikeriders ironically collapsed in the face of that new Quiet Place installment. This period piece plummeted 66% this frame for an additional $3.3 million and a $16.2 million domestic total. Bikeriders will likely rev its engines up to a domestic total just south of $25 million.

The Garfield Movie dropped 47% this weekend to add another $2 million to its domestic coffers. It’s now grossed $89.6 million domestically. Despicable Me 4 will wipe this one off the map in just a few days. However, it should still end its domestic run with $92 or $93 million. That’s not bad for an animated title that opened to $24 million costing only $60 million to make. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, meanwhile, fell 55% this frame. It added another $1.7 million for a $155 million domestic total. Jatt & Juliet 3 opened this weekend to a terrific $1.5 million from 143 theaters for a $1.8 million domestic gross to date.

Expanding into 490 locations this weekend, Kinds of Kindness picked up $1.5 million for a $3,061 per theater average. This divisive and grim title is clearly not going to be the next The Favourite or Poor Things at the domestic box office. However, it’s still doing perfectly fine on its own merits with a 10-day haul of $2 million before it even hits wide release. Poised to expand into over 1,300 locations next weekend, Kinds of Kindness has a shot at becoming 2024’s first limited-release title to crack $10 million domestically.

In the face of another Paramount Pictures release connected to John Krasinski, IF fell 51%. It still added $1.34 million to a domestic haul now standing at $109.69 million. Summertime indie hit Thelma grossed another $1.3 million this weekend, a 43% decline from its debut. Thanks to strong weekday numbers, that feature has reached $5.1 million. It probably doesn’t have quite enough gas in the tank to reach $10 million domestically. However, an $8-9 million North American finish would still be great. Currently, Thelma is just behind The World’s Fastest Indian as the fourth-biggest Magnolia Pictures release after just ten days of release. There’s not much to say about Blue Lock The Movie -Episode Nagi, which only opened to $1.05 million. That’s one of the lowest opening weekends for a major Crunchyroll theatrical release in the U.S. For comparison’s sake, the last two Crunchyroll movies released each exceeded $7 million domestically. That’s a haul Blue Lock won’t come close to matching.

In 2016, The Bronze became the first-ever Sony Pictures Classics release to open immediately into wide release. Considering this label is very reserved in its theatrical release plans for its titles (Oscar-winning Whiplash never played in wide release domestically, for instance), it was shocking to see this comedy immediately launch in over 1,000 theaters. Since then, the only other Sony Pictures Classics movies to immediately open in wide release are The Last Vermeer, The Father, The Miracle Club, and now this weekend’s final new wide release Daddio. Per Deadline, it only grossed $440,300 at 628 theaters for a dismal per-theater average of just $701.

Among wide-release debuts for movies that either weren’t re-releases or opened between March 2020 and December 2021, Daddio had the 52nd worst wide-release opening weekend in history. Interestingly, it didn’t have the worst wide-release debut of summer 2024…Treasure and Not Another Church Movie both fared worse. Ironically, Daddio only made $54,000 more than The Bronze eight years ago. Considering arthouse titles like Thelma and Kinds of Kindness are doing well this summer, Daddio’s financial woes aren’t due to its small size. It’s just another reflection of Sony Pictures Classics being really bad at launching movies. Perhaps Daddio will be able to ride the 4th of July holiday to a final domestic haul of just over $1 million, but otherwise, this box office flop will quickly vanish from the marketplace. Instant wide releases and Sony Classics just don’t go together.

Falling out of wide release in its ninth weekend of release, The Fall Guy fell a sharp 65% for another $350,000 and a domestic total of $90.9 million. If The Fall Guy can make just $1.3 million more domestically, it’ll surpass the North American gross of the 2017 Ryan Gosling star vehicle Blade Runner 2049. That’ll make The Fall Guy the fourth-biggest movie Gosling has ever appeared in domestically. That doesn’t make up for the large sums of cash this film lost for Universal Pictures, but hey, it’s something. Take the wins where you can!

After having one of the stronger limited-release bows of 2024 last weekend, Janet Planet struggled mightily in its abrupt expansion into hundreds of theaters. A24’s puzzling decision to immediately propel Janet Planet from two locations to 315 theaters resulted in $187,488 for a per-theater average of $595. That’s only $150 ahead of the disastrous second-weekend per-theater average of the recent A24 box office bomb Tuesday in its big theater count expansion.

Much like Ghostlight last weekend, Janet Planet is a quiet summertime indie requiring a more gradual rollout to let word-of-mouth simmer. For comparison’s sake, A24 waited until four weekends into Aftersun’s run to bring it into over 50 locations. That gradual approach allowed Aftersun to hit $1.6 million. That’s a sum Janet Planet will be lucky to make half of by the end of its North American run. The modern rushed released strategies of arthouse studios is extremely disappointing on countless fronts. Most importantly, though, these strategies leave acclaimed movies struggling to get the audiences they deserve. The sad part is Janet Planet’s demonstrated solid day-to-day holds through its first two weekends. That does indicate good word-of-mouth is forming for the title. Unfortunately, it won’t be able to stick around in theaters to really exploit that positive reception. With only $264,994 to date, Janet Planet will need a 4th of July miracle to cross $1 million domestically.

New Janus Films release Last Summer opened to $30,300 from 3 locations for a per theater average of $10,100 while fellow arthouse newcomer The Vourdalak grossed $8,155 from a single theater. Oh, and last but not least, it’s Hundreds of Beavers time. This title made another $1,503 last weekend (its haul for the final weekend of June 2024 won’t come in until Tuesday-ish). That’s its lowest single weekend sum to date, a sign Beavers is slowing down. But what a run it’s had! Last weekend was its 22nd consecutive frame and it’s amassed $425,255 despite never playing in more than 24 theaters. What an outstanding accomplishment proving original independent movies still have a place theatrically.

The top 10 movies this weekend grossed $155 million. That haul is 27% ahead of this same weekend last year when Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny opened to disappointing numbers. Happily, this weekend was also ahead of the final frame of June 2019 by 11% and only down 7% from June 2018’s final weekend. Always good to see 2020 box office frames measuring up or even exceeding pre-COVID weekends. June 2024 missed the $1 billion mark narrowly. However, its $970+ million haul did edge out June 2022’s monthly gross. It also surpassed pre-COVID June’s from 2002 and 2007. After a disastrous May, summer 2024 is looking a lot brighter, especially with a stacked slate of July 2024 blockbusters on the way.

Source: Deadline