Weekend Box Office (May 5 - 7, 2023)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Another summer movie season kicked off and Marvel was once again at the center of it, this year with its super hero threequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 which captured the number one spot with an estimated $114M accounting for 75% of all ticket sales in the entire top ten.

That amounted to a 7% increase over the comic book giant's last entry, February's threequel Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which debuted to $106.1M over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of its holiday weekend launch. The company's third and final event movie of the year will be six months away in November with The Marvels. Some fans have complained that between new movies in theaters and numerous TV series on Disney+ that there is too much MCU content being put out and that overall quality is not what it used to be.

But for GOTG3 the ticketbuyers have spoken and it has universally been given high praise. The A grade from CinemaScore is equal to both of the last Guardians movies (Ant-Man 3 was three notches lower at a B!) and PostTrak polling came in at 5 out of 5 stars. The second weekend drop is still likely to be hefty as threequels are quite frontloaded. But customer satisfaction is key to longevity and this installment, promoted as the last ride for the Guardians, is bringing fans in.

This weekend kicked off with $48.2M on Friday including $17.5M from pre-shows. Saturday fell 20% to $38.8M which is a lower drop than for recent super hero flicks like Quantumania (-27%) and The Batman (-24%). Sunday is projected by Disney to slide another 30% to $27M. Given the strong word of mouth and family appeal, Sunday may actually see a smaller decline so a $115M final weekend is in play. Overall this weekend, the PG-13 film averaged $25,618 from 4,450 locations and saw a strong 40% of grosses come from premium screens, compared to 43% for the last Ant-Man. Exit polling showed the new Groot flick at 60% male and 52% over 25.

Guardians 3 opened in all major global markets this weekend and debuted to a stellar $168.1M from 52 international territories for a healthy worldwide launch of $282.1M. Globally the premiere was 25% bigger than Quantumania's which also included all key markets on the first weekend. Increases in opening weekend muscle across key markets are +35% in UK, +46% in China and +49% in Mexico. China was the top overseas opening on both films with $28.1M for GOTG3 and $19.2M for AM3. Audience polling in many countries is reportedly very strong for the latest James Gunn-directed action-comedy.

Following a four-week reign atop the box office charts, the animated juggernaut The Super Mario Bros. Movie settled for second place but still took in an estimated $18.6M. That is a remarkable gross for a film's fifth weekend of play and Universal smashed the $500M mark reaching an incredible $518.1M with more to come. 2023's biggest blockbuster now sits at number 17 on the all-time domestic blockbusters list sandwiched in between a pair of Star Wars films - 2016's Rogue One ($532.2M) and 2019's The Rise of Skywalker ($515.2M).

There is little direct competition in the family movie space over the next couple of weeks so Mario will try to leg out its run and join the $600M club. Incredibles 2 is the only animated film to ever gross more than Mario and is the solo toon member of that club.

Overseas markets remained red hot for Super Mario as the weekend took in $50.3M from offshore territories sliding only 30% from last weekend showing stronger legs outside North America. Japan, where the video game was born, is helping with some of that strength as the hit film jumped up 32% from opening weekend and now sits at $48.4M. Top five overseas market cumes are Mexico $80.6M, UK $60.8M, France $52M, Japan $48.4M, and Germany $47.9M. The hit brothers adventure has now surged to $637.2M overseas giving the studio a mammoth $1.155 billion worldwide gross - the fifth highest of all-time for any animated movie after Frozen 2, Frozen, Incredibles 2, and Minions which it will surpass in a day or two.

Super Mario has joined an elite group of recent megahits like Spider-Man: No Way Home, Top Gun: Maverick, and Avatar: The Way of Water which in the past 17 months have generated monster grosses - even by pre-pandemic standards - showing how eager movie fans are to experience big-scale cinema inside of movie theaters, when it's the right entertaining film. The awesome foursome have driven in combined business of $2.7 billion domestically and $6.9 billion worldwide all by themselves.

Evil Dead Rise, the fifth installment in the popular horror series, dropped a spot to third place this weekend grossing an estimated $5.7M. Off 53% in its third session, the R-rated chiller has banked $54.1M to date in North America plus $60.7M from international markets for a global tally of $114.8M thus far heading to $150M+.

Much of the rest of the marketplace shines a spotlight on where the industry is right now. Large franchises and brands pull in customers for that big screen experience. Smaller films and movies that could equally be enjoyed at home are getting a pass from most patrons who are fine with waiting to see them at home for a lower price, especially if there is no level of urgency.

The coming-of-age comedy Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret declined 50% in its second weekend to an estimated $3.4M. Lionsgate has collected $12.6M thus far with its PG-13 offering on its way to a little over $20M.

Sony's new romantic comedy Love Again opened in fifth place with an estimated $2.4M from 2,703 locations for a $897 average. Action four-quel John Wick: Chapter 4 took sixth place with an estimated $2.4M, down 52% in its seventh frame. Lionsgate has banked $180.1M domestic for a worldwide gross of $415M - new all-time highs for the John Wick franchise which keeps getting bigger with every chapter.

Dropping 64% in its sixth weekend was the fantasy adventure Dungeons and Dragons with an estimated $1.5M giving Paramount $90.9M domestic, along with $111.6M overseas for a global total of $202.5M. A final of about $215M seems likely. Amazon's sneaker biz pic Air also fell hard with new competition, down 65%, for an estimated $1.4M bringing the cume up to $50.2M which is a solid result nowadays for a drama. Audiences have shown recently that they prefer watching most films from this genre at home rather than in cinemas at a higher price point.

The MGM military film The Covenant followed with an estimated $1.2M, off 66%, for a $14.8M sum. Rounding out the top ten was the Finnish Nazi-era action film Sisu which dropped 68% in its sophomore round to an estimated $1.1M putting Lionsgate at $5.5M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $151.7M which was down 31% from the same weekend a year ago when Doctor Strange and the Multiverse Of Madness opened to $187.4M, but up 614% from pandemic-affected 2021 when Wrath of Man debuted to $8.3M.

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Last Updated: May 7, 2023 at 5:30PM ET

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