After a bit of a stumble last weekend, March is nearing its close with another franchise record opening, and one final non-sequel that hopes to do decent business while it can.
This Past Weekend
Lionsgate has had a rough couple of years during the pandemic, so Director Chad Stahelski finally delivering Keanu Reeves‘ latest (and possibly final?) installment of his action franchise with John Wick: Chapter 4 may very well have saved the distributor.
Co-starring Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, Bill Skarsgård, Donnie Yen, Shamier Anderson, the recently-deceased Lance Reddick, and more, the delayed fourth chapter received rave reviews from most critics, including Above the Line‘s own Isaac Feldberg. It achieved a franchise-high 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (that’s since settled down to 89 percent, the same rating as Chapter 3) after debuting at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this month.
Wick opened for previews on Thursday evening, where it made $8.9 million, which led to an opening Friday of $29.4 million, both highs for the franchise. Lionsgate is reporting an estimated $73.5 million for the movie, which is better than Chapter 3‘s $56.8 million opening weekend in May 2019. That movie went on to make $327.2 million globally, which shouldn’t be hard for the fourth chapter to surpass.
Audiences definitely liked the movie as much as critics did, with audience-poller CinemaScore, reporting an “A” score, compared to the “A-” of the previous two installments.
With a reported budget of $100 million, more than twice the $40 million budgets for the previous two movies, John Wick: Chapter 4 also did well overseas where it added another $64 million for a global opening weekend of $137 million. $12.7 million of that came from global IMAX screens, with $8.4 million domestic and $4.3 million from international IMAX screens.
Despite having a 68 percent drop from its opening weekend, Warner Bros‘ Shazam!: Fury of the Gods, starring Zachary Levi, was still able to hold things up in second place with an estimated $9.7 million. Still, it has grossed a pitiful $46.3 million, less than the original Shazam!‘s 2018 opening weekend, but it added another $12.1 million internationally this weekend for a global total of $102.4 million.
Paramount Pictures‘ hit horror sequel, Scream VI, dropped to third place with $8.4 million, down 52 percent from last weekend, bringing its three-week total to $89.9 million, which puts it ahead of all but the first two Scream movies from 1996 and 1997, as it works its away to $100 million, probably by Easter.
Michael B. Jordan‘s Creed III, which MGM currently has in 3,207 theaters, landed in fourth place with just $30,000 less than Scream VI, dropping 46 percent from last weekend. Its four-week domestic total is at $140.9 million, while overseas, it added another $5.4 million for a global total of $245.8 million. That is better than both previous Creed movies and every single Rocky movie, not accounting for inflation.
Sony‘s sci-fi thriller, 65, starring Adam Driver, took fifth place with $3.2 million (down 45 percent) and $27.8 million total in North America. It’s not great but also far from the total disaster it could have been.
Marvel Studios‘ Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and the recently-arrested Jonathan Majors (also in Creed III), fell to sixth place with $2.4 million (down 43 percent) and less than $210 million grossed domestically. It should be able to eventually pass the previous installment’s domestic gross of $216.6 million, potentially by Easter weekend.
Seventh and eighth place were taken by Universal‘s Cocaine Bear with $2.1 million ($62.1 million total) and Lionsgate’s Jesus Revolution with $2 million ($49 million total).
MGM didn’t have very much luck this weekend with Zach Braff‘s drama, A Good Person, starring Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman, which the studio opened in 530 theaters on Friday, where it brought in $834,000 or $1,574 per theater. The studio is rumored to have an expansion planned for Friday, March 31.
IFC Films also decided to give Stephen Frears‘ drama, The Lost King, starring Sally Hawkins and co-writer Steve Coogan, a wide release into 753 theaters nationwide, where it grossed an estimated $575,000 or $764 per site.
|Rank||Entry||Distributor||Revenue||Theater Count||Total Revenue|
|1||John Wick: Chapter 4||Lionsgate||$73,525,000||3,855||$73,525,000|
|2||Shazam! Fury of the Gods||Warner Bros.||$9,700,000||4,071||$46,306,765|
|3||Scream VI||Paramount Pictures||$8,400,000||3,355||$89,893,000|
|4||Creed III||United Artists||$8,369,203||3,207||$140,888,996|
|6||Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania||Walt Disney||$2,420,000||1,950||$209,862,892|
|10||Avatar: The Way of Water||20th Century Studios||$1,400,000||935||$680,440,963|
As March 2022 came to a close, Paramount released a romantic-comedy-adventure that helped make it clear the box office was going to come back after the Omicron variant nearly wiped it out. That movie was Lost City, starring Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, as well as Brad Pitt in a smaller role, and that was enough for it to dethrone The Batman and win the weekend with $39.8 million in 4,253 theaters.
The Batman took second place with $26.7 million, down 44 percent, as it hit a new domestic total of $338.2 million.
After that, in third place, was an underrated Telugu-language action movie called RRR, given a release by a lesser-known Indian distributor into 1,200 theaters. Filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli‘s reputation from his earlier films, allowing the movie to open with $9.5 million or $7,917 per theater. Now, that number would be good for any Bollywood (or in this case, Tollywood) release, but this began a year-long run that created an enormous cult fanbase that helped drive the movie to an Oscar win earlier this month for the original song, “Naatu Naatu.”
Another new wide release was Bleecker Street‘s Infinite Storm, starring Naomi Watts, which opened in 1,525 theaters and made $1.1 million or just $730 per theater.
On the other hand, an A24 bizarro comedy by a duo of directors calling themselves simply Daniels that premiered at SXSW earlier in the month, opened in ten theaters and brought in $747,000 or $74,708 per theater. Starring Michelle Yeoh from Crazy Rich Asians, Jamie Lee Curtis from the Halloween movies, and Ke Huy Quan, an actor best known for playing Short Round and Data in a couple popular ’80s movies, it would start a journey that no one could have possibly ever expected. And I seriously mean… EVER!
The last weekend of March might end up being the most interesting one, only because Paramount is releasing the action-adventure-comedy Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves into 3,600+ theaters to take on Wick‘s second weekend. You look at Wick‘s impressive opening, though, and one can imagine it could still stay in first place, even with a large second weekend drop and another well-received movie opening Friday.
Dungeons & Dragons stars Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Justice Smith (Jurassic World: Dominion), Sophie Lilis (It), Hugh Grant, as well as Regé-Jean Page from Bridgerton, as it takes the popular role-playing game of the ’80s, turned into a video game in more recent decades, and tries to bring the fun of those games onto the big screen.
While Rodriguez continues to be popular due to the “Fast & Furious” movies, Pine has had better times from when he starred in the first Wonder Woman in 2017 ($412.5 million domestic gross) and a trio of Star Trek movies before that. His most recent role was in Olivia Wilde‘s Don’t Worry Darling – the less said about the better – and the Wonder Woman 1984 sequel was significantly doxxed by being released during the pandemic. (Pine also provided his voice for 2018’s Oscar-winning animated hit, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.) Page doesn’t have as much of a box office history, having only appeared in one other theatrical release, the 2018 bomb, Mortal Engines.
It’s hard to completely disregard how badly the previous Dungeon & Dragons movie, released by New Line, bombed when it opened in December 2000, a movie that cost just $35 million but didn’t even make that amount in its worldwide release, stalling at $33.7 million.
Paramount definitely has a better handle on marketing and distributing a movie like this, wisely premiering it at the SXSW Film Festival where it was well-received with it currently at 89 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s also been receiving multiple early preview screenings that will be pulled into its opening day box office, and Paramount managed to get some of the IMAX scenes away from John Wick this weekend which should help. Expect Dungeon & Dragons to bring in $25 to $30 million this weekend, which is likely to put it in second place behind John Wick, unless the latter has a far bigger second weekend drop than expected.
Angel Studios, who has had success by releasing the streaming series, The Chosen, theatrically via Fathom Events becomes their own distribution entity for the religious epic, His Only Son, which will be released into 1,800 theaters. The continued interest in theatrical faith-based films is undeniable, which might allow this one to bring in $4 to 5 million, which could allow it to sneak into the top five.
A.V. Rockwell‘s feature-length directorial debut A Thousand and One, starring Teyana Taylor (Coming 2 America), won the coveted Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, which sometimes means a lot, but not always. Regardless, Focus Features is releasing the movie about a mother’s relationship with her young son after kidnapping him from the foster care system nationwide into roughly 800 theaters, hoping that festival buzz generates interest, although this might be another case where releasing a movie with no real stars might be the distributor’s undoing. Expect a top 10 opening, but with less than $3 million.
Also, Timothy Scott Bogart directs the biopic Spinning Gold, about his father, legendary record producer and label head Neil Bogart, who founded Casablanca Records in the ’70s, and then signed the likes of Kiss, disco diva Donna Summer, the Village People and more, taking them all to massive fame. Being released domestically by an unknown entity named “Hero Partners,” it’s hard to imagine this will get a wide release, but stranger things have happened.
Edward Douglas has been writing about the box office for 21 years at places like ComingSoon.net, The Tracking Board, and many others, but mostly under the banner of “The Weekend Warrior.” He’s also a film critic with bylines at Film Journal, The New York Daily News, Den of Geek, and other places.