Mario stomps on the new releases like they’re a conga-line of Goombas, Beau is Afraid but audiences sure aren’t, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
We had a whopping six brand-new wide releases this past weekend! A sign that the theatrical movie landscape is back to full-strength, or a sign that all the B-tier movie studios have a slate of lemmings they quietly needed to see take a long walk off an insufficient-player-built bridge whilst The Super Mario Bros. Movie continued to Fury Bowser its way up the Biggest Films of the Year chart? I’m not one to tell you what to think (often), but I will say that Mario’s second-weekend was $87 million (a drop of just 40% from opening weekend) and the combined total of the other nine films on the chart came to just over half of that ($49,745,474).
So, BRING OUT THE DEAD… literally! Our first two new entries both being horror-adjacent pics about the malevolent undead and the terror of having to work with Russell Crowe and a blatant Dan Harmon-expy, respectively. Heading into the weekend, most industry analysts pegged Renfield beating out the latest dodgy Screen Gems fart, The Pope’s Exorcist, to such a degree that Cinemascore didn’t even bother to send people to the latter’s opening night. However, said analysts failed to account for three things. 1] Nic Cage adoration is predominately an online cinephile thing, a relatively small audience who also need pretty strong reviews to get their butts in cinemas for anything which cost less than $150 million nowadays. 2] Said pretty strong reviews didn’t turn up and audiences were decidedly whelmed. And 3] The Pope’s Exorcist got multiple advertising spots at WrestleMania whilst Renfield did not. Check and mate. So, Pope got the honour of being Mario’s footstool in second-place with $9.1 million, whilst Renfield came in fourth with $7.77 million.
Then we go waaaaaay down the money table to find Makoto Shinkai’s latest entry in the “fantasy romance anime that are extremely pretty yet unsubtle metaphors for the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake/tsunami and growing evidence of a man who does not understand how relationships work” subgenre, Suzume. An ever-burgeoning and popular one, based on how Suzume has already overtaken Shinkai’s previous record-smashing movie, Weathering with You, and it took until the Demon Slayer movie to see anything gross more than Your Name in the country. As such, Crunchyroll were likely expecting big things for the 2,000 screen American debut. Big things which did not come to pass. Accounts vary as to how much Suzume did rake in – at writing time, Deadline are saying $4.8 mil, whilst Box Office Mojo have it at $2.8 mil – but it’s a disappointing seventh-place either way. Less speculation is needed for Sweetwater, the biopic about NBA star Nat Clifton, cos that one’s a good old-fashioned dumpster fire of $350,000 from 1,204 theatres for twelfth.
Doubling back, we come to our last two Wide release victims which, oh hey, are also a poorly-received dark-comedy and a religious-adjacent horror! You know what they say about waiting all day for a bus, and all that. The former: Catherine Hardwicke’s Mafia Mamma starring Toni Colette who cannot have that new Bong Joon-ho film she’s starring in arrive fast enough. The latter: Nefarious, which also throws in a dash of prison drama to spice things up, by the fuckos who made anti-abortion propaganda (and also just-plain shit film) Unplanned back in The Before Times. In this particular battle, the dark-comedy won out but it’s more accurate to say that Mafia Mamma lost the least badly; eighth place with $2 mil against tenth place with $1.3 mil.
Still, it’s not all bad news. Presumably learning their lesson after the last two times, A24 chose not to immediately drop the new Ari Aster bomb on the widest possible audience but instead detonate Beau is Afraid in 4 artsy theatres first to build buzz before going Wide next week and then get summarily rejected by normies. The freaks were more than out in attendance during this initial stealth insertion, though. $320,396 makes for a PTA of $80,099 which is one only beaten by, fittingly, P(aul)T(homas)A(nderson)’s Licorice Pizza for the best of any film post-pandemic. I look forward to seeing it also get crushed under the unsparing jackboot of Mario next weekend whilst screaming, “THAT’S KARMA FOR HOLDING OFF THE UK RELEASE TIL NEXT MONTH!!”
This Full List is also a sucky boss.
US Box Office Results: Friday 14th April 2023 – Sunday 16th April 2023
1] The Super Mario Bros. Movie
$87,000,000 / $347,823,700
I want this article by friend-of-mine Barry Levitt about Hollywood’s negative obsession with casting expensive, disinterested, badly-directed movie stars in animated kids film roles stapled onto the eyelids of all studios CEOs. Saved me from writing that same article yet again.
2] The Pope’s Exorcist
$9,150,000 / NEW
If you’re in the mood for a campy throwback thriller that doesn’t require a trip to the cinema, Shaun Rockwood’s been spending some time with FMV puzzle-mystery Murderous Muses. He’s also not much of a fan, but I guess it’s less pretentious than whatever Sam Barlow is up to nowadays so take your pick.
$7,925,000 / $160,112,705
There! I managed to go a week without watching John Wick 4! It’s definitely not an addiction and I could in fact quit any time I wanted!
$7,700,000 / NEW
Between Ryan Ridley on this, Jeff Loveness on Ant-Man 3, Jessica Gao’s divisive She-Hulk, and Wade Randolph’s contributions to the 2020 Battletoads… Rick & Morty writers don’t have a great track record outside of that show, huh?
$7,720,599 / $33,283,549
I’m pretty sure the name’s not officially stylised in all-caps, but that’s how Cineworld lists the film and, most crucially, it looks much more impressive that way. Would you rather watch Air or AIR? I rest my case.
6] Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
$7,350,000 / $74,070,213
Thanks to its semi-belated dumping straight-to-Prime Video here in the UK, I got to watch Hugh Grant put in a fun and hammy villain turn in two different walking three-star movies in successive weeks! There are worse niches to be a part of, I suppose. My review of Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre went live on Friday, btw.
$4,800,000 / NEW
Gone with Deadline’s numbers cos they seem much more plausible than the idea of a movie that made $2.8 mil opening day not even managing $700,000 combined over the remaining weekend. I will see this despite the fact that my eyes rolled out of my skull when the chair-man reveal happened in the trailer, and Shinkai in general is yet to click with me. I’m sorry, his romances are BAD! He’s so BAD at them! Why does he keep making them the centre of his movies when he’s SO CONSISTENTLY BAD AT THEM?! Having said that, I wish he’d stuck to his guns and followed through on initial plans to make Suzume a lesbian story.
8] Mafia Mamma
$2,044,875 / NEW
I would like Catherine Hardwicke to make just one good film again. Please. I want to root for her so badly, both because of her being a semi-visible female director, and also just so somebody can break the curse of their careers turning to dogshit after directing a Twilight movie. The best we have right now is Bill Condon, and he only managed to direct one good film post-Twilight before pissing it all down the drain with live-action Beauty and the Beast and writing The Greatest Showman!
9] Scream VI
$1,455,000 / $106,792,852
Horror junkies, particularly ones who fancy themselves historical appreciators, would do well to check out Eureka!’s latest restoration boxset of 40s features, Creeping Horror. Amy Walker’s got the rundown.
$1,330,000 / NEW
Based on their track record, I look forward to these chuds directing a movie about how we trans folk are affronts to God next. Which’ll be more offensive, the messaging or the filmmaking? Again based on their track record… the latter, it’ll almost definitely be the latter.
Dropped out: His Only Son, Creed III, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, A Thousand and One, Paint
Callie Petch has already come this far.