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Weekend Box Office: HUNGER GAMES and TROLLS Open Far Below Predecessors, THE MARVELS Has MCU’s Steepest Sophomore Drop

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#1 = The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Lionsgate’s dystopian action prequel starts with $44M, substantially below the openings for all four installments in the original franchise:

  • -71% below 2012’s The Hunger Games: $152.5M
  • -72% below 2013’s Catching Fire: $158.0M
  • -64% below 2014’s Mockingjay Part 1: $121.8M
  • -57% below 2015’s Mockingjay Part 2: $102.6M

That’s a slightly steeper opening weekend dropoff than 2016’s first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first installment of Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter prequel series, which opened -56% off from the last of the original series’ films.

The original four Hunger Games installments finished with nearly identical multiples, a measure of final gross to opening weekend: 2.67x, 2.69x, 2.77x, and 2.74x respectively.

If Songbirds follows a similar trajectory, it will finish somewhere around $115M to $120M—lower than three of the four original films’ opening weekends alone.

Read Boxoffice PRO’s interview with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes director Francis Lawrence here.

#2 = Trolls Band Together

Universal’s animated three-quel started with $30.6M, -34% below 2016’s original Trolls: $46.5M.

(2020’s second installment, Trolls World Tour, was originally intended for theatrical release but pivoted to a Premium Video on Demand or PVOD release during the Covid pandemic.)

Compared to some other comparable animated releases from 2023, Band opens:

  • +3% ahead of June’s Elemental = $29.6M
  • +9% ahead of August’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem = $28.0M
  • +34% ahead of September’s PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie = $22.7M

Band’s estimated opening weekend audience was 71% female, 59% ages 25+, and more Hispanic (37%) than white (34%).

Overseas / global

By this, the sixth weekend of its staggered international rollout, beginning on the October 13 frame, Band has earned $76.3M overseas and $108.1M globally, or 70% overseas.

(That overseas percentage will surely come down in the coming weeks, as domestic catches up.)

2016’s original Trolls earned $189.5M overseas and $343.2M globally, or 55% overseas.

#3 (tied) = Thanksgiving

The Sony Pictures holiday-themed horror starts with $10.2M.

Comparisons are few and far between, but that’s -24% below 2022’s similar R-rated holiday-themed film Violent Night with $13.4M.

A tie?

Studio weekend estimates have both Thanksgiving and The Marvels tied at exactly $10.2M; box office actuals, coming in Monday afternoon, will provide more exact numbers.

For what it’s worth, last weekend, The Marvels ultimately came in below its original studio estimate, at $46.1M versus $47.0M.

Overseas / global

Thanksgiving opened in only 11 overseas markets with $2.4M. Major markets still to release include France, Mexico, and Brazil.

#3 (tied) = The Marvels

Last weekend, Disney’s superhero sequel posted by far the worst opening in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with only $46.1M.

Now in its sophomore frame, it falls a steep  -77% to $10.2M, by far the steepest sophomore drop among all 33 MCU installments.

The second-steepest of the MCU’s sophomore drops came earlier this year: February’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania with -69.9%.

Put another way, The Marvels appears almost certain to finish with a final domestic total less than the opening weekend alone for 2019’s predecessor Captain Marvel: $153.4M.

Only one prior MCU film even posted a third weekend as low as The Marvelssecond weekend: 2008’s The Incredible Hulk with a third frame of $9.5M.

Compared to Marvel’s rival DC Comics, The Marvel also falls steeper than some other recent DC Extended Universe underperformers, like June’s The Flash with -72% and 2022’s Black Adam at -59%.

Overseas / global

Last weekend, The Marvels opened to $110.3M globally. That was -75% below the global opening for 2019’s Captain Marvel: $455.4M.

Now in its sophomore frame, The Marvels falls -67% in overseas holdover markets, still quite steep but at least milder than its -77% domestic drop.

The Marvels has now earned $96.3M overseas and $161.3M globally, or 59% overseas.

It appears unlikely to reach its predecessor’s global opening even by the end of its run and will finish nowhere near its predecessor’s $1.13B final global total.

The Marvels appears poised to become either the lowest or second-lowest grossing MCU film globally. Currently, the lowest is The Incredible Hulk with $265M, followed by 2011’s Captain America: The First Avengers with $370M.

The top market totals for The Marvels to date are:

  1. China: $14.7M
  2. U.K.: $7.2M
  3. Indonesia: $5.2M
  4. South Korea: $4.8M
  5. France: $4.8M
  6. Mexico: $4.8M

#6= The Holdovers

Last weekend, Focus Features’ comedy-drama came in sixth place with $3.2M. Now, it again repeats in sixth place with a mild -16% decline to $2.68M.

In its fourth frame, the film expands and almost doubles from 778 to 1,475 theaters, though that’s still about 38% the reach of the widest film in the marketplace.

#7 = Next Goal Wins

Searchlight Pictures’ sports comedy failed to get the ball into the net with a $2.5M start. While the smaller movie was never going to break records, that’s below even most pre-release projections.

It’s -51% below March’s Champions, another similar comedy about a hapless sports team, with $5.1M.

It’s also -36% below writer-director Taika Waititi’s 2019 Jojo Rabbit with $3.9M.

Journey to Bethlehem

Last weekend, the Sony Pictures / Affirm Films faith-based musical began with $2.4M in seventh place. Now in its sophomore frame, it falls -60% to $950K.

Versus three of the other biggest faith-based films from 2023, that sophomore drop is equal to or steeper than:

  • September’s The Blind: -26%
  • March’s His Only Son: -49%
  • October’s After Death: -60%

Perhaps surprisingly, Bethlehem isn’t holding well at the box office, even though every subsequent weekend approaches the Christmas season which provides the film’s plot.

Limited release: Dream Scenario

Last weekend, A24’s fantasy comedy debuted with $220,035 in six theaters. That $36,673 per-screen average ranks #8 of 2023 so far.

In its sophomore frame, it expanded slightly to 25 theaters and earns an estimated $275,514, for a $11,021 average.

Limited release: Saltburn

The Amazon MGM Studios psychological thriller opened with an estimated $315,492 in seven theaters. That $45,070 ranks #6 of 2023 so far, behind only:

  1. June’s Asteroid City: $142,230
  2. April’s Beau is Afraid: $80,099
  3. June’s Past Lives: $58,067
  4. July’s Theater Camp: $50,203
  5. August’s Bottoms: $46,105


Weekend comparisons

Total box office this weekend came in around $113.6M.

Here’s how this weekend compares to last weekend, the same weekend last year, and the same weekend in the last pre-pandemic year of 2019:

Weekend

Total

This weekend is:

Leader

Last weekend

$87.6M

+29%

The Marvels = $46.1M

Same weekend in 2022

$100.6M

+13%

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, second frame = $66.4M

Same weekend in 2019

$109.1M

+4%

Ford v. Ferrari = $31.4M

YTD comparisons

Year-to-date box office stands around $7.93B.

Through the equivalent point, here’s how that compares to last year and the last pre-pandemic year of 2019:

Year

YTD total

2023 YTD now:

After last weekend:

Trend

2022

$6.44B

+23.0%

+23.3%

Down

2019

$9.65B

-17.9%

-18.1%

Up

Top distributors

Grouped by parent company, the YTD leaders are:

  1. Disney + 20th Century + Searchlight + Star: $1.798B
  2. Universal + Focus Features: $1.788B
  3. Warner Bros.: $1.15B
  4. Sony Pictures + Sony Classics + Crunchyroll + Affirm: $882.1M
  5. Paramount: $836.6M

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates:

Title  Estimated weekend  % change Locations Location change Average  Total  Weekend Distributor
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes $44,000,000   3,776   $11,653 $44,000,000 1 Lionsgate
Trolls Band Together $30,600,000   3,870   $7,907 $31,770,000 1 Universal
The Marvels $10,200,000 -78% 4,030   $2,531 $65,024,806 2 Disney
Thanksgiving $10,200,000   3,204   $3,184 $10,200,000 1 Sony Pictures
Five Nights at Freddy’s $3,500,000 -61% 2,829 -865 $1,237 $132,612,000 4 Universal
The Holdovers $2,700,000 -16% 1,478 700 $1,827 $8,357,000 4 Focus Features [Universal]
Next Goal Wins $2,500,000   2,240   $1,116 $2,500,000 1 Searchlight [Disney]
Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour $2,400,000 -61% 1,573 -1,275 $1,526 $175,300,000 6 AMC Theatres Distribution + Variance
Priscilla $2,326,380 -49% 1,802 -559 $1,291 $16,982,259 4 A24
Killers of the Flower Moon $1,920,000 -58% 1,714 -1,643 $1,120 $63,570,000 5 Paramount
Journey to Bethlehem $950,000 -60% 2,002   $475 $4,268,000 2 Sony Pictures
Radical $901,000 -48% 461 -73 $1,954 $6,568,187 3 Pantelion Films
Saltburn $315,492   7   $45,070 $315,492 1 Amazon Studios
Dream Scenario $275,514 25% 25 19 $11,021 $609,062 2 A24
PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie $270,000 -84% 625 -1,154 $432 $65,097,000 8 Paramount
Anatomy of a Fall $170,000 -63% 170 -413 $1,000 $3,189,247 6 Neon
The Exorcist: Believer $125,000 -89% 295 -1,292 $424 $65,461,000 7 Universal
After Death $66,313 -92% 140 -1,571 $474 $11,399,629 4 Angel Studios
Oppenheimer $51,000 -46% 104 -17 $490 $325,320,000 18 Universal
Fallen Leaves $50,672   2   $25,336 $50,672 1 MUBI
The Creator $43,000 -85% 165 -295 $261 $40,766,647 8 20th Century Studios [Disney]
Freelance $30,636 -92% 85 -709 $360 $5,311,511 4 Relativity
What Happens Later $27,336 -96% 106 -1,344 $258 $3,260,728 3 Bleecker Street
The Disappearance of Shere Hite $17,000   2   $8,500 $17,000 1 IFC Films
Stop Making Sense $14,099 -56% 24 -2 $587 $5,032,127   Cinecom
Common Ground $10,096 24% 4 -2 $2,524 $210,907 8 Area 23a
Dicks: The Musical $9,346 -36% 18 -4 $519 $1,434,590 7 A24
All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt $4,090 -60% 4 -2 $1,023 $40,841 3 A24

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