US Box Office Report: 20/05/22 – 22/05/22

Doctor Strange gets Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, America tells Downton Abbey “I don’t love you like I did yesterday,” Men is Dead!, and Other Box Office News.

Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).

The last time that Doctor Strange had a movie of his own at the Box Office, his efforts at a threepeat victory were thwarted when the first Fantastic Beasts rocked up and said “Honey, This Mirror Isn’t Big Enough for the Two of Us.”  Eddie Redmayne and co. showing Stephen Strange some Drowning Lessons on the way to a comprehensive victory over Marvel’s House of Wolves.  However, it has been a long six years since that go-around and we now reside in a landscape where every other studio has decided to Make Room!!!!! for any and all comic book releases.  As such, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has effortlessly gotten its threepeat with a $31.6 million weekend and a 49% drop from its sophomore outing as audiences continue to Planetary (GO!) to the latest Marvel funhouse lacking much in the way of other options.

Alas, in spite of having a Bulletproof Heart in British culture for some unknowable goddamn reason, the Downton Abbey sequel couldn’t quite muster up enough of a challenge against the good doctor and was forced to Kiss the Ring with $16 million.  That is a pretty respectable performance but one which very much pales in comparison to the first Downton movie’s $31 million from September 2019, when this kind of glossy empire-washing Romance was much more in style.  Theories may abound as to why the franchise suffered such a Party Poison.  Perhaps it’s an indication that elderly audiences (the target demo for Downton) still aren’t comfortable enough to return to the cinema in droves and prefer to stay home safe where they can Sleep on their own terms.  Perhaps it’s yet another indicator that adult-centred dramas are struggling for continued relevance in these COVID times where the mass public just wants movies to Party at the End of the World.  Or perhaps it’s the mere fact that it’s A DOWNTON ABBEY MOVIE SEQUEL and The Jetset Life is Gonna Kill You sooner or later.

Speaking of movie ideas stricken with Cancer, it would appear that The A24 Horror Movie – and I don’t even need to go any further into detail than that, you know exactly what I’m talking about just from the strategic capitalization – has finally run out of road with mainstream audiences.  Alex Garland built his big divisive new horror venture, Men, on The Foundations of Decay and the audience was absolutely not having it.  In fact, those who did see the film seemed to say “Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back” to anyone else who may have been contemplating a visit to Cemetery Drive as not only did Men pull in a poor $3.2 million for fifth place, it also garnered a catastrophic “D+” Cinemascore.  One might imagine that A24 would be spending this week weeping to Our Lady of Sorrows in response to this performance.  But, on the other hand, Everything Everywhere All at Once just slid past Uncut Gems to become the studio’s highest-grossing film domestically to date; Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na).

In other news, I saw My Chemical Romance this weekend, no biggie.


Welcome to the Black Para-Full List.  I meant, “Welcome to the Full List.”  Please put the baseball bat down, Wendy…

US Box Office Results: Friday 20th May 2022 – Sunday 22nd May 2022

1] Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

$31,600,000 / $342,080,485

Those are… err… certainly CGI effects in the She-Hulk trailer.

2] Downton Abbey: A New Era

$16,020,000 / NEW

Still have not seen this and, given that the trailer prominently features a ra-ra joke-but-not-really in which one of the posh toffs which make up the cast remarks upon the French trip by saying “the British are coming,” am likely never to.  More power to any of you who do like this series, I’m willing to let people just enjoy things which are not for me, but the prospect of my sitting through even 10 minutes of this has me sharpening the guillotines.

3] The Bad Guys

$6,099,625 / $74,365,000

Will this hang around long enough for me to use its presence in the Full List as an excuse to talk/brag about the Billie Eilish gig which is coming up in just over a fortnight?  We’ll see soon enough!

4] Sonic the Hedgehog 2

$3,940,000 / $181,002,000

Don’t kink-shame.  That’s not cool.

5] Men

$3,293,030 / NEW

Not opening for another week here in the UK; a bewildering mystery.  What, is the plan that Top Gun: Maverick will burn itself out so thoroughly that opening after the highly-anticipated Tom Cruise blockbuster shall provide Men an ever so slightly perceptible increase in survival chances?  Cos, from where I’m sitting, this was gonna die horribly whichever side of Maverick you dropped it into and waiting has only allowed major negative buzz to coagulate that scares the normies away.

6] Everything Everywhere All at Once

$3,135,928 / $52,263,484

Related note: when are A24 gonna pull their fingers out and handle UK distribution of their movies by their own goddamn selves?  Really tired of the constant cockteasing of their slate online only to find out that we Brits either have to wait four months for a minimal cinema release, an unadvertised Sky Cinema dumping, or just eat shit.  You’d think a super-Online studio like them would be more globally aware.

7] Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

$1,905,000 / $93,066,000

Man, this thing is really trying for the $100 mil.  Imagine it’s doing so just to spite me for saying all that mean stuff about the movie and revelling in its domestic failure.  “They’ll see,” it probably mumbles to itself.  “I’ll break into nine-figures!  Then they’ll be the one with egg on their face!  I’m not owned!  I’M NOT OWNED!” it shrieks whilst slowly shrinking and transforming into a corncob.

8] Firestarter

$1,900,100 / $6,960,000

Nice to see Zac Efron in things, even if they’re crap.  On the subject of former teen hunks, Not Another Teen Movie turned 20 yesterday and Matt Latham strolled down its memory lane whilst mentally freezing over 2002 being 20 years ago.

9] The Lost City

$1,500,000 / $99,267,000

Wait, the next Mission: Impossible is explicitly a two-parter and doesn’t come out until next July?!  I’m going to have to put up with all my Film Twitter friends losing their minds over this series I just do not get at all, plus the trailer inevitably playing in front of every damn movie, for fourteen months?!  Did I actually die at My Chemical Romance and get trapped in my own personal Bad Place?!

10] The Northman

$1,019,670 / $33,041,000

So long and goodnight.

Dropped out: Family Camp, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Callie Petch buys their enemies rope to hang them, and the knives to gang them.

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