Monday, April 15, 2024
HomeBox OfficeWeekend Box Office: BOB MARLEY Unites Audiences, MADAME WEB Spins Downwards

Weekend Box Office: BOB MARLEY Unites Audiences, MADAME WEB Spins Downwards

Kingsley Ben-Adir as “Bob Marley” and Lashana Lynch as “Rita Marley” in Bob Marley: One Love from Paramount Pictures.

Bob Marley: One Love Comes Out On Top

Paramount Pictures gets to sing a redemption song this week after pushing the biopic Bob Marley: One Love to the top of the box office. Starring Kingsley Ben-Adir as the legendary reggae singer and Lashana Lynch as his wife Rita Marley, the film took in an estimated $27.7 million for the 3-day and $51 million for the 6-day holiday stretch (Valentine’s Day and Monday’s Presidents’ Day). It also earned an impressive 5/5 stars on PostTrak and an “A” CinemaScore, and despite a 43% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film boasts a 93% audience score.

Notably, the Bob Marley biopic boasted the #1 midweek Valentine’s Day opening ever at $14 million in 3,539 domestic theaters. All around, this is a stellar debut for the $70 million dollar pic, which had the blessing of the late singer’s son Ziggy Marley as a producer to lend an air of authenticity.

Filmmaker Ziggy Marley said, “My family and I are honored with the amazing response to Bob Marley: One Love. Like my father’s music, this movie is meant for the people and his message of peace, love, and unity is clearly connecting with audiences around the world. We thank the people for embracing this film and in so doing helping to highlight the message of one love.”

Audience demographics showed a slight white male preference:

  • 53% female/47% male
  • 60% 18-44, 30% 45+, largest quadrant 18-24 at 23%
  • 37% Caucasian/25% Hispanic/31% Black/3% Asian/4% Other
  • 65% Excellent/26% Very Good = 91% Total Positive, 77% definite recommend
  • 27% said it exceeded their expectations

Pop star stories can vary at the box office depending on the wattage of both the subject and the star playing them. In the case of Bob Marley: One Love, the music and artist name recognition was the star, driving it to the higher end of similar recent biopic openings despite being released in the doldrums of February:

  • Straight Outta Compton (2015) – $60.2 million
  • Bohemian Rahpsody (2018) – $51 million
  • Elvis (2022) – $31.2 million
  • Bob Marley: One Love (2024) – $27.7 million
  • Rocketman (2019) – $25.7 million
  • Get on Up (2014) – $13.5 million
  • Jersey Boys (2014) – $13.3 million
  • Respect (2021) – $8.8 million
  • I Wanna Dance with Somebody (2022) – $4.7 million

Internationally the movie also made bank with an estimated $29 million in 47 territories for a worldwide total of $80 million. Bob Marely: One Love opened at #1 in 13 markets, setting opening-day music biopic records in the U.K., France, and other territories. In the singer’s native Jamaica it now holds the record for the biggest film opening of all time at $280k in 5 cinemas, ranking #1 in the market with 90% market share. United Kingdom was the biggest territory, opening at #1 with $9.3 million at 687 locations, making it the second biggest music biopic UK opening behind Bohemian Rhapsody.

Madame Web Gets Tangled

The narrative of the decline of the superhero picture got bleaker this weekend as Sony Pictures’ Madame Web cratered with a miserable $15.15 million 3-day opening and an estimated $25.805 million for the 6-day in 4013 theaters. The film took in $4.3 million on Friday, $6.375 million on Saturday, a projected $4.475 million on Sunday and $2.450 million on Monday from 4,013 locations.

The overseas performance ran even with domestic at $25.7 million, taking the #1 spot in 29 markets while tracking 22% ahead of Blue Beetle in those markets at the same time in release. Top territories were UK and Mexico, which each took in $2.9 million after opening on Valentine’s Day. It’s currently playing on 15,000+ screens in 61 markets for a global total of $51.505 million.

Such a poor-performance was something even the clairvoyant title character played by Dakota Johnson could have seen coming after being pilloried by critics and audiences alike with a 13% Rotten Tomatoes score and “C+” Cinemascore. According to Deadline, PostTrak scores flatlined at 1 and 1/2 stars and 54% positive, indicating extremely poor word of mouth. Despite a reported $60 million dollar ad spend mostly focusing on young women/social media, the audience still skewed male at 53% men and 47% women.

Madame Web is the latest entry in the Sony Spider-Man Universe (SSU) of spin-offs that are looking increasingly cheap and retrograde compared to their proper web slinger brethren. The studio got by on the skin of their teeth with the equally schlocky Morbius two years ago when that Jared Leto-led vampire flick took in $162 million worldwide on a $75 million budget. This time they were not so lucky, with many criticizing TV director S. J. Clarkson (The Defenders) for making a 2003-set movie that also looked like it was made in 2003 despite a reported $80 million dollar budget, with the poor VFX and lack of action being some of the biggest digs.

A lack of star wattage may also be in play here. It’s been exactly six years since Dakota Johnson made a theatrical impact with Fifty Shades Freed in February of 2018, which brought in $100 million domestically and $371 million worldwide. It did not help that the perception in the press seemed to be that Johnson had disdain for her own movie on the promo circuit. Sony was also unable to capitalize on the surging popularity of supporting player Sydney Sweeney as Julia Cornwall/Spider-Woman, even after the surprise success of the studio’s own hit rom-com Anyone but You, which took in an additional $2.825 million over the 4-day this frame in its 9th week for a current domestic total of $85.122 million. Luckily, the weight of Madame Web was not on Sweeney’s shoulders and may just be a minor speed bump for her career.

Here’s how Madame Web‘s opening fared against Sony’s other Spidey spin-offs…

  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) – $120.66 million
  • Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021) – $90.03 million
  • Venom (2018) – $80.25 million
  • Morbius (2022) – $39 million
  • Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018) – $35.36 million
  • Madame Web (2024) – $15.15 million

This is also a lower yield than the debut weekend of Sony’s other Marvel franchise-starter Ghost Rider, which took in $45,388,836 million its first weekend 17-years ago in 2007, as well as its cheaper-by-half 2012 sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance which brought home $22,115,334 million in its first frame.

In terms of name-brand (DC/Marvel) female-centric superhero openings, there is a fairly small pool of pictures to compare Madame Web to. Sadly, even reaching way back, Sony’s new film sits nearly at the bottom of the list:

  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) – $181.33 million
  • Captain Marvel (2019) – $153.43 million
  • Wonder Woman (2017) – $103.25 million
  • Black Widow (2021) – $80.36 million
  • The Marvels (2023) – $46.11 million
  • Birds of Prey (2020) – $33.01 million
  • Catwoman (2004) – $16.72 million
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) – $16.70 million
  • Madam Web (2024) – $15.15 million
  • Elektra (2005) – $12.80 million

Madame Web managed to underperform even in comparison to Wonder Woman 1984, a movie released simultaneously on HBO Max to lukewarm reviews during the height of the pandemic. One could argue the takeaway here is less in the “superhero movies are dead” column and more like “audiences won’t see just anything tangentially related to Spider-Man.” We are, after all, less than two years removed from the stellar performance of the second Black Panther entry headlined by Letitia Wright. Marvel Studios has proven again and again that they can find success with obscure characters through quality control and high production values, while Sony seemed to have neither here. Let’s hope the SSU fares better with Kraven the Hunter coming at the tail end of summer on August 30, as well as Venom 3 on November 8.

Other Notable Performances

The Universal/Apple spy caper Argylle continues to limp along in the #3 spot with a North American 3-day of $4.72 million and $5.55 million 4-day on 3,647 screens, a drop of only 24%. The domestic cume currently stands at $37.29 million for the $200 million+ genre-bender. Internationally the movie was evenly paced with domestic at $4.229 million in 5,492 locations/81 territories. Worldwide the film has accrued $76.487 million.

After the first three episodes of The Chosen: Season 4 took in $13.1 million through a Christian-targeted Fathom Events release, the Angel Studios streaming series launched Episodes 4-6 this week to the tune of $4,220,036 since Thursday on 2228 screens, enough to put it in the Top 5 for the weekend. The communal viewing experience will continue when Episodes 7 and 8 hit theaters on February 29.

After a pivot away from a Paramount+ streaming release, Mean Girls reached a major theatrical milestone this weekend by crossing the $100 million mark worldwide at $101.7 million. The musical redo of the 2004 teen comedy took in $2.2M at the global box office this frame, with a domestic total of $71.2 million and international at $30.5 million. This is another great example of why streaming debuts are often leaving money on the table, another being last year’s Evil Dead Rise which was originally targeted for a Max-only release but then switched to theatrical with $146,140,989 worldwide to show for it.

Warner Bros.’ Wonka crossed the $600-million-dollar mark at the global box office with $604.9 million worldwide. The domestic total currently stands at $209.8 million and $395.1 million internationally, with seemingly no end in sight for the big family ticket of the season. This is a landmark that also bodes well for Warners’ forthcoming Dune: Part Two, also headlined by Timothée Chalamet. WB co-chairs Mike De Luca and Pamela Abdy gave a “heartfelt thanks” to “moviegoers across the globe for embracing ‘Wonka’ in such a remarkable way.”

Studio Weekend Estimates (3-Day Weekend)

Title Weekend Estimate % Change Locations Location Change PSA Domestic Total Week Distributor
Bob Marley: One Love $27,700,000.00   3539   $7,827.00 $45,571,000 1 Paramount Pi…
Madame Web $15,150,000.00   4013   $3,775.00 $23,355,000 1 Sony Pictures
Argylle $4,720,000.00 -24% 3647 42 $1,294.00 $36,468,000 3 Universal
Migration $3,750,000.00 0.28 2455 -229 $1,527.00 $114,828,000 9 Universal
The Chosen: Season 4 Episodes 4-6 $3,443,070.00   2228   $1,545.00 $4,220,036 1 Fathom Events
Wonka $3,400,000.00 0.11 2347 -417 $1,449.00 $209,821,000 10 Warner Bros.
The Beekeeper $3,254,000.00 -4% 2557 -500 $1,273.00 $59,896,000 6 Amazon MGM S…
Anyone But You $2,415,000.00 -9% 2020 -785 $1,196.00 $84,712,000 9 Sony Pictures
Lisa Frankenstein $2,030,000.00 -45% 3143 -1 $646.00 $7,664,000 2 Focus Features
Land of Bad $1,800,000.00   1120   $1,607.00 $1,800,000 1 The Avenue E…
Mean Girls $1,100,000.00 -43% 1350 -1270 $815.00 $71,040,000 6 Paramount Pi…
American Fiction $923,000.00 -28% 803 -659 $1,149.00 $18,892,000 10 Amazon MGM S…
Poor Things $873,000.00 -22% 680 -610 $1,284.00 $31,806,024 11 Searchlight …
2024 Oscar Shorts $765,000.00   375   $2,040.00 $765,000 1 ShortsHD
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom $750,000.00 -30% 856 -507 $876.00 $123,486,000 9 Warner Bros.
Night Swim $740,000.00 -17% 981 -381 $754.00 $31,198,000 7 Universal
The Boys in the Boat $483,000.00 -29% 586 -521 $824.00 $51,783,000 8 Amazon MGM S…
The Zone of Interest $473,535.00 -32% 443 -155 $1,069.00 $6,757,548 10 A24
Out of Darkness $348,229.00 -64% 865 -32 $403.00 $1,729,517 2 Bleecker Street
Turning Red $301,000.00 -48% 1560 n/c $193.00 $1,111,341 2 Walt Disney
Perfect Days $236,000.00 1.34 34 28 $6,941.00 $475,060 15 Neon
Trolls Band Together $116,000.00 n/c 158 -63 $734.00 $102,823,000 14 Universal
Origin $113,250.00 -59% 127 -221 $892.00 $4,372,975 11 Neon
The Iron Claw $106,420.00 -63% 146 -279 $729.00 $35,502,304 9 A24
All of Us Strangers $60,000.00 -46% 50 -45 $1,200.00 $3,876,637 9 Searchlight …
Wish $52,000.00 -3% 75 -30 $693.00 $63,768,041 13 Walt Disney
The Holdovers $42,000.00 -36% 270 n/c $156.00 $20,004,000 17 Focus Features
God & Country: The Rise Of Christian Nationalism $40,115.00   85   $472.00 $40,115 1 Oscilloscope…
Oppenheimer $32,000.00 -43% 159 -67 $201.00 $328,959,000 31 Universal
Altered Reality $17,200.00   112   $154.00 $17,200 1 K Street Pic…
Anselm $11,250.00 -44% 12 1 $938.00 $466,621 11 Janus Films
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