Either the novelty of returning to movie theaters faded the weekend after A Quiet Place Part II opened, or the studios haven’t given moviegoers a big enough incentive to return en masse since, as this weekend’s entire box-office looks to be around $45 million. That’s not only less than last week’s $57 million but less than the $47 million that A Quiet Place Part II opened with over Labor Day weekend.
This weekend’s middling debut was The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, the sequel to the surprise 2017 hit, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which opened with $21 million and went on to earn $176 million. Recall, however, that the original Ryan Reynolds, Sam Jackson, and Salma Hayek film made its money during one of the slowest months of August in years, at least until the pandemic came along. Back in 2017, however, it felt like moviegoers would take any excuse to go to theaters, which is not a knock against the original The Hitman’s Bodyguard (which I enjoyed), but a reflection of the lack of competition that month (remember the cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower? No one else does, either).
In any respect, it’s four years and a pandemic later, and now moviegoers need a bigger incentive to return to theaters, especially when there are more options (and less hassle) at home and the theatrical window on so many movies has narrowed (A Quiet Place Part II, for instance, will premiere on July 12th on Paramount+ after its Memorial Day opening). Plus, the biggest movie of this weekend was probably Pixar’s Luca, which premiered — for free — on Disney+.
The end result: A fairly lackluster $11.6 million for The Hitman’s Wife Bodyguard over the three-day weekend and $17 million since it opened on Wednesday. That’s not great, although to be fair, reviews for The Hitman’s Wife Bodyguard were not great, either (25 percent on Rotten Tomatoes compared to the 43 percent of the original). Audiences, however, liked it more than critics (79 percent audience score but a soft B Cinemascore).
The $10 million total was enough to make it to the top film of the weekend, although not by much, as A Quiet Place Part II came in with $9.4 million to bring its total to $125 million after four weeks, easily making it the biggest movie of the pandemic. Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, meanwhile, held OK, dropping 53 percent in its second weekend to earn $6.25 million and bring its total to $20 million.
Disney’s Cruella, which is also available for a $30 surcharge on Disney+, is holding much better, earning $5.1 million in its fourth week to bring its theatrical total to $65 million. That, on top of its premium access receipts, is clearly enough to warrant a sequel, which is already in development. In its third weekend, Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It earned another $5 million to bring its total to $53 million.
Finally, the box office of In the Heights, continues to disappoint. It earned $4.5 million to bring its 10-day total to just under $20 million. However it’s still available on HBO Max where it’s apparently not doing great on the streaming service, either. That’s a shame, because — colorism controversy aside — it is a fantastic film.
Next weekend we will finally find out how well the post-pandemic box office can really do, as the highly anticipated F9: The Fast Saga finally opens, which may signal the true arrival of the summer box office. The film has already earned $292 million overseas, including $200 million from China alone.