Home Box Office Weekend Box Office: FURIOSA Finishes First Over Lackluster Memorial Day Weekend

Weekend Box Office: FURIOSA Finishes First Over Lackluster Memorial Day Weekend

Weekend Box Office: FURIOSA Finishes First Over Lackluster Memorial Day Weekend

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

If there was ever a question of the industry’s long hangover stemming from Hollywood’s 2023 labor strikes, this Memorial Day weekend proved the challenges that lie ahead for the theatrical marketplace. The weekend saw two new releases from seasoned brands, Warner Bros.’ Furiosa: A Max Saga and Sony’s The Garfield Movie, neither of which entered the market with blockbuster expectations compared to previous Memorial Day frames.

While both pictures underperformed (even to low expectations), attendance was down across the board, with only $101 million for the total 3-day frame at the domestic box office. Last year’s Memorial Day frame brought in $163M from the 3-day tally, a 38% improvement over 2024’s lackluster outing. Disney’s The Little Mermaid, which opened over the equivalent frame in 2023, earned $95M in its domestic debut—representing nearly the total earnings of the entire domestic market in this year’s holiday weekend.

1. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Warner Bros. Pictures | NEW
$25.6M Domestic Opening 3-Day Weekend
$58.9M Global Opening Weekend

Warner Bros. Pictures’ epic prequel Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga earned an estimated $25.6M for the 3-Day weekend in 3,804 locations for a Per Screen Average of $6,717. This is well below both industry predictions as well as our own, which generally had the movie tracking for a $40M+ kickoff. an already low estimate for the holiday.

Here’s how demographics played out:

  • 58% Caucasian
  • 21% Hispanic
  • 8% African‐American
  • 9% Asian
  • 4% Native‐America

The studio is reporting that 52% of business came from PLF auditoriums, with the top earning location being the AMC Lincoln Square New York. IMAX theaters indexed strongly overseas with $4.3M, including Hong Kong where five IMAX screens accounted for 27% of the nationwide total. IMAX alone was responsible for 20% of the domestic opening with $5.2M. The top 3 DMA markets were Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

This is the 3-Day breakdown:

  • Friday – $10.3M (including $3.5M in Thursday previews)
  • Saturday – $8.25M
  • Sunday – $7M

To compare, the previous George Miller-helmed entry Mad Max: Fury Road opened in second place to $45.4M back in 2015 when it went against Pitch Perfect 2 as well as the third week of Avengers: Age of Ultron. While many critics have compared Furiosa unfavorably to Fury Road (a Best Picture nominee that has attained all-timer status with fans), the new film is rocking an 89% Fresh critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes alongside a 91% audience score. Factor that in with a 4½ out of 5 PostTrak score as well as a “B+” CinemaScore and you have the makings of something special.

So why didn’t audiences show up? It all adds up to a miscalculation of the film’s appeal to a general audience. Furiosa seems to have played well with core fans of the franchise, an oddball offshoot of the 1970s Australian grindhouse, a series that has never delivered blockbuster results over the decades. Furiosa‘s hard-R rating guaranteed zero appeal to families: only 7% polled this weekend were under the age of 18. Despite Furiosa being a female-driven action movie, the film skewed significantly male (62%/38%). Its biggest age segment was 25-34 (35%, i.e. fans of Fury Road), then the 35-49 (25%) and 50 and Up (15%)—all of them crowds who also likely remember the original trilogy.

As we mentioned in our forecast, the Mad Max franchise is similar to Alien for its R-ratings (except Thunderdome) and modest box office results in the market. Despite fan anticipation, Miller’s movies were never major tentpoles, with the original three Mel Gibson-led entries (’79s Mad Max, ’82s The Road Warrior, ’85s Beyond Thunderdome) taking in $8.7M, $23.6M, and $36.2M respectively. Even the much-vaunted Fury Road only brought in $153.6M domestically and $369.8M WW in its initial run, a relatively modest performer for a film with two big stars (Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron) and a Marvel-sized budget.

As for the prequel-fatigue aspect, that may also be in play here. Recent big studio franchise prequels (excluding kid pics or horror) have not been doing the kind of business they once did pre-pandemic, i.e. when Solo: A Star Wars Story opening in 2018 to $84.4 million was considered catastrophic for that brand…

  • The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023) – $44.6M opening/$166.3M cume
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022) – $42.1M opening/$95.9M cume
  • Black Widow (2021) – $39.5M opening/$183.6M cume
  • Madame Web (2024) – $15.3M opening/$43.8M cume
  • The King’s Man (2021) – $5.9M opening/$37.1M cume

In these five cases there was either an element of brand burnout or too much of a change-up in terms of cast/setting/story. For Furiosa it certainly wasn’t the brand, as there have only been five Mad Max movies over 45 years, with the last entry 9 years ago. Replacing Charlize Theron with two different younger actresses (Anya Taylor-Joy and Alyla Browne, the latter with nearly equal screentime) may have made it difficult for audiences to re-connect with the character.

Internationally Furiosa debuted in 75 markets to an estimated $33.3M on 20,998 screens for a global cume of $58.9M. Compare that to Fury Road‘s $65 million overseas opening in 68 territories on 16,900 screens for a $109.4M global debut in 2015. Top Furiosa markets were Korea ($4.5M), France ($2.6M), and the UK ($2.6M). In Australia—where the Mad Max franchise originates and where Furiosa was lensed- the film opened to $2.2M, about what Kung Fu Panda 4 launched to but in the shadow of two other WB 2024 debuts in the territory: Dune Part Two ($5.6M) and Godzilla X Kong ($3.6M). The Fall Guy and Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes also opened bigger there with $2.4M each.

2. The Garfield Movie
Sony Pictures | NEW
$24.7M Domestic Opening 3-Day Weekend
$99.1M Global Cume

Columbia Pictures/Alcon’s animated kid flick The Garfield Movie missed #1 by a hair with $24,775,000 million for the 3-Day frame, although the studio is boldly staking a claim for #1 in the 4-Day competition with a $31.875M estimate ($7.1M for Monday). Here’s the 3-Day breakdown, which you can see is far steadier than Furiosa‘s downward trajectory…

  • Friday – $8.4M ($1.9M Thursday previews)
  • Saturday – $8.225M
  • Sunday – $8.15M

The CinemaScore was a B+ and Rotten Tomatoes audience score was 83%, with a 4 ½ star PostTrak rating for parents and kids, though a 37% critical reaction almost certainly played a part in the underperformance. IF raking in $16.1M for the #3 spot in its second weekend (a 52% drop) definitely took a bite of the family demo, and even boasted slightly more locations (4,068 to Garfield‘s 4035).

How did it stack up compared to the previous two live-action/animation hybrid films? Let’s examine the lasagna layers…

  • The Garfield Movie (2024) – $24.7M opening
  • Garfield: The Movie (2004) – $21.7M opening/$75.3M domestic cume
  • Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006) – $7.2M opening/$28.4M domestic cume

Like Mad Max, Garfield is a property that originated in the late 1970’s. The comic strip evolved into an animated TV franchise which has remained active even as the theatrical films have laid dormant for nearly two decades, not to mention the Thanksgiving parade floats and merchandizing. While the domestic grosses aren’t where anyone thought they would be. Internationally, the film is pacing much better after opening overseas on May 3, taking in $14M on 10,100+ screens across 51 total markets this weekend for a cume of $66.3M and global of $99.1M. UK was the top market with $2.5M, followed by the Middle East with $1M. Rollout for Garfield continues with Indonesia (May 29), Australia (May 30), Poland (May 31), France (Jul 31), and Japan (Aug 16). Studio expects continued play throughout the summer with a combination of laughs, cuteness, and a crucial parental nostalgia factor.

Other Notable Performances

Angel Studios’ Sight, a medical drama starring Greg Kinnear and Terry Chen, took in an estimated $2,695,930 million for the 3-Day weekend frame to land at #7. Opening on 2,100 screens, this title performed under other faith-based releases of this year. Rather than finding a corner in the market, Sight buckled under the weight of other family films and wound up at a similar box office to Someone Like You‘s Fathom opening ($2.97M) in April. The opening weekend was on par with last weekend’s debut of Focus Features’ Amy Winehouse biopic, Back to Black, which opened to $2.8M with a similar screen count.

Neon’s comedy Babes jumped up to 590 screens to take #9 with $1,060,000 million for the pregnancy comedy led by Ilana Glazer, a PSA of $1,797. Current cume is $1,287,799 million, and the studio expects $1,228,000 for the 4-day for an ultimate $1.4M cume.

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates | Weekend 21 – 2024

Top 10 Estimates: $97.4M | (-39% vs 2023)
Total Domestic Estimates: $101M | (-38 % vs 2023)

Title Weekend Estimate % Change Locations Location Change PSA Domestic Total Week Distributor
Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga $25,550,000   3,804   $6,717 $25,550,000 1 Warner Bros.
The Garfield Movie $24,775,000   4,035   $6,140 $24,775,000 1 Sony Pictures
IF $16,100,000 -52% 4,068 27 $3,958 $58,667,000 2 Paramount Pi…
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes $13,356,000 -48% 3,550 -525 $3,762 $122,805,252 3 20th Century…
The Fall Guy $5,920,000 -29% 2,955 -890 $2,003 $72,211,000 4 Universal
The Strangers: Chapter 1 $5,610,000 -53% 2,856 n/c $1,964 $21,343,988 2 Lionsgate
Sight $2,695,930   2,100   $1,284 $2,695,930 1 Angel Studios
Challengers $1,380,000 -52% 1,089 -849 $1,267 $46,475,000 5 Amazon MGM S…
Babes $1,060,000 550% 590 578 $1,797 $1,287,799 2 Neon
Back to Black $1,050,000 -63% 2,013 3 $522 $4,825,000 2 Focus Features
Tarot $750,000 -63% 864 -1,470 $868 $17,029,000 4 Sony Pictures
Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire $595,000 -64% 664 -1,109 $896 $195,502,000 9 Warner Bros.
I Saw the TV Glow $513,899 -49% 458 -11 $1,122 $2,657,827 4 A24
Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire $370,000 -16% 228 -591 $1,623 $112,645,000 10 Sony Pictures
Civil War $306,800 -71% 451 -661 $680 $68,018,736 7 A24
Unsung Hero $287,150 -72% 530 -1,206 $542 $19,800,839 5 Lionsgate
Kung Fu Panda 4 $243,000 -74% 485 -952 $501 $193,261,000 12 Universal
Evil Does Not Exist $123,912 2% 138 35 $898 $535,055 4 Janus Films
Wildcat $79,248 -43% 94 -7 $843 $384,714 4 Oscilloscope…
Abigail $57,000 -86% 109 -585 $523 $25,838,000 6 Universal
The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare $55,000 -77% 100 -305 $550 $20,489,600 6 Lionsgate
Star Wars Ep. I: The Phantom Menace $33,000 -80% 70 -260 $471 $487,563,553 1,306 20th Century…
The First Omen $29,000 -77% 95 -55 $305 $20,098,637 8 20th Century…
La chimera $14,200 -16% 15 10 $947 $836,071 9 Neon


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