The summer season I was used to officially began on Memorial Day weekend, and this past weekend marked the 40th anniversary of Return of the Jedi. In 2024, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom will accomplish the same feat.
The sequels of Back to the Future, Rambo, and Rocky were popular over this holiday. Despite inflation, only four movies have opened to more than $300 million worldwide this weekend. A movie surpassed $700 million last year. No movie will accomplish that this year, but Disney can break into the top ten for a third time with one of its live-action animated remakes.
Before its full-day opening on Friday, Disney’s 2023 adaptation of The Little Mermaid, under the direction of Rob Marshall, brought in $10.3 million. Only Solo: A Star Wars Story and The Hangover Part II failed to gross $100 million for the three-day Memorial Day weekend among the May movies that grossed over $10 million from their Thursday debuts, although they both succeeded by Monday.
Although she performed better than each of them with around $97 million and then an anticipated $121 million through the holiday, Ariel joined those two pictures in failing to overcome the weekend hump. Mermaid’s box office figures surpass even the exaggeratedly high ticket sales for Return of the Jedi ($92.8 million) and Temple of Doom ($99 million).
Guy Ritchie’s 2019 remake of Aladdin for Disney earned $91.5 million over the weekend and $116.8 million overall. Until Top Gun: Maverick appeared on the scene the previous year, it was the best-grossing Memorial Day movie. Again, the inflated box office for Temple of Doom is roughly $525 million, while Return of the Jedi is about $769.3 million. Who is counting when you add in $482 million for Last Crusade?
But let’s get back to The Little Mermaid. It now holds the record for the biggest opening for a movie with a black female star, surpassing Lupita N’yongo’s Jordan Peele’s Us, which debuted at $71.1 million in 2019. Nine films have previously crossed the $100 million mark during the four-day vacation, and five of those, as was already said, failed to reach the $300 million mark. With $309 million and $317 million, respectively, even At World’s End and Crystal Skull, which each made $100 million in their first three days, barely surpassed the threshold.
Aladdin’s post-holiday weekend performance decreased by 53%, pushing it back to second place behind Godzilla: King of the Monsters. However, it managed to maintain above $10 million in weekly sales through the end of June before reaching the $300 million mark. Next weekend marks the debut of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. The Little Mermaid has earned $185 million so far worldwide. Let’s see if spending another $250 million on a Disney production this summer is worthwhile.
This past weekend saw two movies’ debut starring stand-up comedians battling with their controlling fathers. One of them came close to breaking a record for the holiday weekend. That would be the Lionsgate film About My Father, starring Robert DeNiro as his father and Sebastian Maniscalco as himself, a hotel manager rather than a comedian. It made $4.2 million over the weekend and an expected $5.2 million through Monday. Not great, but not the worst ever either.
The movie, which now has a 31% approval rating from reviewers, currently holds the record for the second-lowest Memorial Day opening in more than 2,000 cinemas ever, trailing only 1995’s Johnny Mnemonic, which debuted at $6.03 million in 2,030 locations. A $29 million budget is used for the 2,464-person production About My Father. Easter Sunday with Jo Koy started with $5.4 million last year and ended with $13 million.
Because Kandahar also debuted this past weekend, About My Father is the only movie that still needs the new crown. In just 2,105 theaters, the most recent film starring Gerard Butler debuted to just $2.5 million over the weekend and an expected $3.1 million through Monday. It is also the most recent movie from Open Road (or Briarcliff) Films, and to remind you, since the release of Show Dogs on May 18, 2018 (i.e., the weekend before Memorial Day), they still haven’t had a movie with an opening weekend of at least $4 million.
Fast X joined its Vin Diesel sequel predecessors, which all experienced second-weekend declines between 59.5% and 67.2%, pushing last week’s No. 1 to the side. With $23 million in three-day totals, the eleventh movie had a 66% decline in attendance.
Since Diesel’s comeback, that second weekend has been the weakest for a Fast movie, with Hobbs & Shaw earning $25.2 million compared to F9’s $23 million. Indeed, even the pandemic’s vaccine summer was better for this series than this weekend, which benefited from the holiday and increased its four-day total to $28.6 million.
The movie made $108 million in its first ten days, less than Hobbs & Shaw ($108.3) and approximately $9 million less than F9. The lowest-grossing film since the fourth movie’s $155 million in 2009, Fast X could earn between $150 and 160 million at this rate. Even with a global total of over $507 million, the $340 million budget + P&A expenses still need to be covered.
The fourth weekend of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 brought in $19.9 million, less than Vol. 2’s $25.3 million fourth weekend (which also fell on Memorial Day). With a total of about $304 million, Vol. 3 is now outperforming Spider-Man 3 and is around $35 million behind its predecessor. As a result, the final estimate now falls between $340 and $355 million.
The movie is getting closer to turning a profit with almost $723 million in box office receipts worldwide. It will be difficult to surpass a $350 million gross for the remainder of the summer.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which will remain unopposed throughout the year, keeps chugging along in the hopes of becoming the most successful animated film of all time, at the very least on a domestic and international scale. Both still seem like long shots, but the movie has surpassed $560 million after earning $6.2 million over the weekend and $8.3 million through Monday, according to estimates.
This still places it in 13th position overall, around $176 million behind Frozen II, and is still $48 million behind Incredibles 2, but with $1.277 billion, it has into the Top 20 international grosses ever. After a $4.9 million eighth weekend, Incredibles 2 earned $583 million. As Mario ($1.285 billion) passes Frozen ($1.285 billion) in the upcoming week, it will get closer to challenging the domestic championship. However, it may have to settle for second place domestically and internationally. It might fall more next week due to Across the Spider-Verse, but nothing can unseat it as the best movie of 2023.
The Machine, starring comic Bert Kreischer and his father, played by Mark Hamill, rounds out the top five. It was based on Kreischer’s reportedly actual stand-up routine that went viral years ago. The movie’s weekend and holiday box office totals were $4.9 million and $5.8 million, respectively. After 65 (35%), The Pope’s Exorcist (51%), Big George Foreman (44%), and Love Again (24%), this is the fourth movie in a row that Sony has withheld from American media outlets worldwide.
On the Tomatometer, The Machine currently has a score of 29%. A classic comedy performer and her Enough Said director reunited, and Nicole Holofcener’s You Hurt My Feelings, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, debuted in 912 cinemas to a meager $1.3 million.
The top-rated movie in the top 10, Certified Fresh with 95%, is the A24 Sundance release. The total for Book Club: The Next Chapter, which is currently in the top 10, is $16.4 million; Focus Features was only able to wring out 23% of the revenue from the original’s 2018 Paramount release.
The final film, Evil Dead Rise, surpassed $66 million in sales despite being a VOD release. Since The Batman from last year, it is Warner Bros.’s most lucrative movie. It’s a good thing that it wasn’t restricted to streaming.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse by Sony is the first release of June. The 140-minute animated feature aims to surpass Into the Spider-Verse domestic gross of $190 million, one of the best-reviewed comic book movies ever.
Rob Savage’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Boogeyman, which 20th Century Studios and Disney will distribute, is aimed at emulating The Black Phone, released in June of last year and was based on a story by King’s son Joe Hill. Celine Song’s Past Lives will finally receive a limited release from A24. The Sundance film has a 95% rating from critics and is being hailed as one of the best debuts in recent memory.