Strange slips, Firestarter flames out, Pleasure brings some, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
Lemme quickly squirt some coolant onto the perpetual roaring flame that is THE DISCOURSE. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness slipped 67% in its sophomore weekend, but that is not an indication of anything other business as usual. Yes, it is steeper than the second weekends of Shang-Chi (52%) and Eternals (61%), but Multiverse opened significantly higher than both of those prior movies combined, so of course its second time at bat was going to have a steeper fall. In addition, that 67% is almost exactly the same fall Spider-Man: No Way Home had in its second outing and that film was gifted Xmas weekend. So, no, this does not mean much of anything right now. People are still seeing the Marvel movie and will continue to see the Marvel movie for a while longer yet. Definitely until the stupid-ass looking dinosaur movie comes out, or at least until the unasked-for but apparently great(?!) Top Gun sequel in two weeks. And even then, not every Marvel film is going to be a No Way Home at the Box Office. Some people are good watching these once then moving on with their lives rather than stoking stan culture wars all day and night.
Anyways, welcome back to The Dead Zone! That period of time in the immediate either-side of a new Marvel movie where fuck-all else comes out because every other studio is Hollywood is rightly terrified of Disney’s insatiable toothy maw and gets the fuck out of dodge. The slasher movie victims marked for death by tripping at the least-opportune time during their escape were Firestarter and Family Camp. Despite making more money and being higher on the chart, Firestarter was the quicker of the two to get offed – first by critics with a worse Rotten Tomatoes score than the notoriously terrible 1984 original, then by audiences who kneecapped it with a disastrous “C-” Cinemascore, and finally by money with $3.8 million which is somehow even less than the ’84 flick made in its opening weekend without having to bring inflation into the mix. Making it to the car that won’t start before getting slain, meanwhile, was faith-based family comedy Family Camp which boasted a higher PTA than Firestarter ($1,670 vs $1,110) playing on a quarter of that film’s screens (854 vs 3,412)… but, as you can probably tell, wasn’t actually playing on enough screens to make the gloating worthwhile. Ninth place and $1.4 million.
There are a few limited releases to check in with, though they’re honestly not doing much better. IFC took a punt in letting highly-acclaimed Norwegian child-horror-drama The Innocents debut in 32 screens rather than the usual arthouse 4, clearly hoping that the strong buzz and Firestarter being shiiiiiit could lead to a very successful weekend with greater availability. Alas, nay, and a catastrophic $12,500 (just $390 PTA) means they probably won’t be taking that punt again. Bleeker Street proceeded to do their Bleeker Street thing for Montana Story, the decade-later return of What Maisie Knew’s Scott McGehee & David Siegel – the Bleeker Street thing, for those whose memories don’t involve remembering Box Office miscellanea, meaning “snatch up a highly-acclaimed drama then dump it into sod all theatres with no promotion to die on the vine.” $20,104 from 4 screens, for a PTA of $5,206. We do have one minor success, though, that of NEON’s porn drama Pleasure which did the NEON thing of playing in the lowest amount of screens possible and doing quite well, $17,274 from 2 theatres. I look forward to it continuing to do the NEON thing of failing to capitalise on this momentum, refusing to expand until far too late, then being abandoned soon after. That’s why nobody talks about NEON the same way they do A24.
This Full List is a Firestarter, twisted Firestarter.
US Box Office Results: Friday 13th May 2022 – Sunday 15th May 2022
1] Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
$61,003,000 / $291,862,523
It’s time for another thrilling instalment of Nuclear Takes with Callie Petch!
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is… fine. It’s a mess but it’s also just fine.
This has been another thrilling instalment of Nuclear Takes with Callie Petch!
2] The Bad Guys
$6,899,890 / $66,284,000
Did you know this movie was based on a series of children’s books? It’s true! And speaking of books – tenuous link – Chris Haigh recently reviewed the debut one by Kasim Ali, Good Intentions, and really enjoyed its tale of interracial romance and cultural family prejudice.
$4,550,000 / $175,700,000
Now, you wanna talk real nuclear takes, you go to Shadow.
$3,820,000 / NEW
I’m starting to think that the public’s appetite towards below-average-at-best Stephen King adaptations extended to that IT sequel and precisely no further.
5] Everything Everywhere All at Once
$3,302,720 / $47,103,580
Yeah, this was it. This was the one for 2022. Exceeded even my highest expectations and alleviated even my deepest doubts. Shut it down for the year, I will be gobsmacked if anything else surpasses this.
$2,420,312 / $90,046,000
Must not comment on Joanne and Rachel Riley’s latest bullshit on Twitter. Cannot afford to get sued.
$1,730,000 / $97,150,000
I really like the music on the teaser for Avatar: The Way of Water, deeply spiritual and new-age-y in a late-90s/early-00s way that’s proudly uncool but has a genuine uplifting power. Other than that, I don’t care about anything in it and I still think the Na’vi look creepy as shit. I know, I know, “never bet against James Cameron” but… it’s been 28 years since True Lies. I am literally younger than the last time he made a movie I liked. That’s not a winning batting average, I don’t care how you try and swing it.
8] The Northman
$1,700,145 / $31,158,000
Still not over the pure giddy feeling which took me when the title card reading “The Night Blade Feeds” popped up on my first viewing of this a month ago. THAT’S Cinema!
9] Family Camp
$1,426,775 / NEW
Which would you rather be stuck in? A Christian-based summer camp in the woods far away from civilization, or yet another zombie apocalypse? Pretty sure Amy Walker would pick the latter in a heartbeat, at least if the zombie apocalypse is akin to that featured in the pretty-alright Wyrmwood: Apocalypse she reviewed this week.
10] The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
$1,050,000 / $18,217,570
Upsettingly bland, unspecific, and weirdly insecure about its central premise. I just didn’t get a lot from this, especially whenever the low-key charming sweetness of the scenes where Nic Cage and Pedro Pascal film-bro-out together get hijacked by the four other far less successful things this movie insists on trying. I didn’t need the rubbish spy movie or insipid family drama or tension-free thriller or insufferable Seven Psychopaths meta bits! Just trust that Cage and Pascal doing unlikely buddy schtick would’ve carried you through!
Dropped out: Memory, Father Stu
Callie Petch was there, the day the towers fell.