Ant-Man nearly gets stepped on by a Cocaine Bear-led Jesus Revolution, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
In a sign that maybe it’s time Marvel Studios gets their shit together and starts releasing much better movies – or, alternatively, that maybe Disney should ease up on their current “barely 45 days before debuting on Disney+” way of doing things; I imagine that conditioning of viewers is not helping – Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is your #1 movie in America bear-ly. OK, maybe not barely, it’s still a good $10 mil ahead of our #2 film. But Quantumania does have a much more pressing concern in that it’s almost guaranteed to register the worst sophomore weekend drop of any MCU movie to date, 69.7%. A title, for comparison’s sake, that was previously held by last July’s Thor: Love and Thunder whose 67.7% drop could at least be mitigated by having opened $40 mil higher than Ant-Man did. If the estimates haven’t been overly pessimistic, then this will be the worst sophomore drop for a $100-mil opening superhero movie since the notorious Batman v. Superman which fell 69.1% in its second frame, a statistic I’m certain that insufferable fan-children won’t use to fuel their latest tiresome brand wars at all.
In fact, Bruce Nash over at The Numbers put together an excellent table of every MCU sophomore drop and the only film from the last Phase not to sink more than 60% in their second weekend was Shang-Chi. Black Widow, the #3 worst performer, had the excuse of being one of the first films back from COVID-enforced shutdowns and Disney’s backfiring contingency plan of simul-releasing for premium-D+. But even if the other movies in Phase 4 opened in the very-high-$100 mils (or broke $260 mil in the case of Spider-Man: No Way Home) so a crash back down to sorta-Earth in their second weekend was inevitable, a trend is a trend. General audiences, by and large, don’t want to make many repeat trips to these movies and, reading between the lines, neither do the hardcore who faithfully line up every Thursday preview night. It’s not Marvel Fatigue, to be clear – I’m not about to change my tune on that stupid DISCOURSE – so much as mediocre-ass films rarely inspire great audience retention and Marvel has been pumping out a lot of mediocre-ass films of late. Plus, again, the whole “dropping on D+ less than two months after initial theatrical release” thing. Not helping.
Don’t worry, though, folks. Quantumania’s only the worst sophomore drop for a superhero film which opened over $100 million. The overall record is still held by Morbius and its 73.8% collapse from a $39 mil opening. Still Morbin’ time, baby! That joke will never get old!
But enough about that. Let’s talk about the Cocaine Bear! The last time we covered an Elizabeth Banks film in this here column, it was pretty much assumed that her directorial career was dead and buried thanks to the total bombing of the infamously dull Charlie’s Angels reboot. But, much like a titular bear getting a heroic second wind from an errant gust of the substance, cocaine has brought Banks roaring back into contention with an actually enjoyable Hollywood B-movie that general audiences also seem to have dug! In so many words: this is not another Snakes on a Plane, Cocaine Bear overperformed. $23 million for second-place and a surprisingly strong audience retention across those three days; it also (with previews) beat Ant-Man on the Friday, fyi. Similarly overperforming forecasts was Christian drama Jesus Revolution, a film I can’t make any cocaine-based jokes about without having my soul damned for all eternity. Instead, I’m just going to note that its third-place $15.5 mil opening is currently the fourth-best of 2023 behind Cocaine Bear, M3GAN, and Ant-Man. Weird year we’re shaping up to have.
Full, Liiiiiiiiiist (vision dreams of passion), flowing through my miiiiiiiind.
US Box Office Results: Friday 24th February 2023 – Sunday 26th February 2023
1] Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
$32,200,000 / $167,314,584
Not yet. My plan of catching it Thursday was scuppered when friend plans got canned, and on Saturday I chose to do the Cocaine Bear rather than the MCU film that not even the nerdy chat group I’m a part of who’ve already seen it can muster up any real enthusiasm for. Saturday for definite, though. Gonna catch it with Creed III so I get a double dose of Jonathan Majors. Any of you seen The Harder They Fall on Netflix? Really good movie, you should check it out.
2] Cocaine Bear
$23,090,000 / NEW
Does precisely what it says on the tin. No fuss, no muss. I had great fun, as did Lee Thacker who’s got a review all set for you to inhale.
3] Jesus Revolution
$15,525,000 / NEW
According to this industry tweet, Jesus Revolution co-director Jon Erwin has become the first in Cinemascore’s history to have his first four films all score an “A+” grade with audiences. No snark or anything; I’ve not seen any of his movies since they don’t export to the UK’s godless heathen-age so don’t want to prejudge. Maybe faith-drama audiences are so starved for even passable art that they consider slightly above-average filmmaking to be the most incredible thing ever, or maybe these films are just really great! Who can say?
4] Avatar: The Way of Water
$4,700,000 / $665,383,862
Surprise, surprise! The new Gorillaz album is great because of course it is! Damon Albarn remaining the most consistent man in pop music for over three decades.
5] Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
$4,120,000 / $173,431,065
Still shocked that a movie which faceplanted so hard in its opening holiday period frame – mostly due to an act of God, admittedly – that its distributor panicked and released the at-home Digital version just 16 days in has managed to display the kind of legs that Top Gun: Maverick had over the Summer. Maybe it really does just all come down to the quality of the movie, after all.
6] Magic Mike’s Last Dance
$1,893,000 / $22,173,000
Dropped 65.2% from last weekend. Told you word got out that it was crap. Still desperately want to see the stage show, though.
7] Knock at the Cabin
$1,870,000 / $33,903,205
If you’re in the mood for thrillers that are a little less existential anxiety and a lot more BLOOD BLOOD GUTS BLOOD MURDER, then Amy Walker heartily recommends the staggered-releasing Project Wolf Hunting.
8] 80 for Brady
$1,830,000 / $36,447,281
As somebody who plays/writes about video games and as somebody who forever craves having every limb of their body contorted into painful submission by a strong woman that nonetheless respects safewords, it is my duty to report that the Cammy White redesign for Street Fighter 6 is hella boss. Zangief can also cuddle me and keep me safe.
$1,010,000 / $31,418,927
Delayed until late-April here in the UK. Why are we still doing this shit?
10] A Man Called Otto
$850,000 / $62,281,460
Guest Contributor alert! The lovely Debbie Atwell popped by our pages to build and review the new Geomag toy set! That’s what I call positive nepo-baby content!
Dropped out: Marlowe, M3GAN
Callie Petch is on one percent but they’re there with you.