Weekend Box Office Hits Near Annual Low Of $58M In ‘Dune’-Less Frame As Strike Continues; ‘Freddy’s Leads With $17M+
Refresh for more updates….The ramifications of the actors strike at the weekend box office continues to be felt as ticket sales this weekend plummeted to $58.3M, which is currently the third lowest of 2023. Remember, Legendary/Warner Bros’ Zendaya-Timothee Chalamet-Austin Butler-Florence Pugh sequel Dune: Part Two was originally set to play this weekend, and with its departure, there’s at least $50M if not substantially more missing from the box office. Legendary opted to move that sequel based on the Frank Herbert novel to March 2024 so that the actors could properly promote the sci-fi pic; the first pic’s ticket sales siphoned from a day-and-date theatrical play with streaming service Max.
After this weekend, the next two lowest at the box office for 2023 to date were Super Bowl weekend (Feb. 10-12) with $52.6M and Sept. 22-24 which saw $51.8M.
Speaking of day-and-date, the good news with Universal-Peacock’s Five Nights at Freddy‘s is that it cracked past $100M, becoming one of a few titles with such a dynamic distribution model to do so (alongside Black Widow, Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong and Jungle Cruise). The bad news is that the movie’s availability in the home to Peacock paid subs, plus the massive YA leaning nature of the IP, has the videogame movie dropping like a rock at $17.8M in weekend 2, -78%, for a running ten-day total by tomorrow of $112M. Freddy‘s is No. 1, benefitting from the circumstance that there’s no Dune 2.
Can you imagine if we didn’t have the Taylor Swift: Eras Concert Film on the schedule? Her faithful continue to make the movie No. 2 with an $11.9M take in weekend 4 and running total of $164.3M.
While some in distribution think it’s hard to quantify the impact of the actors strike, now in its 114th day, at the box office, its pretty clear that thespians are needed to promote and deliver large halos around tentpoles so that the message is transmitted around the globe that there’s a mustsee event. In certain cases, particularly with horror, and movies like Nun II and Five Nights at Freddy‘s, IP can get a studio by, but brand alone doesn’t sell. You need stars. It can be argued that part of the expected slowdown next weekend with the opening of Disney/Marvel Studios’ The Marvels stems from the studio’s inability to promote the pic properly at a Comic-Cons. Even if a strike settles this weekend, it’s not clear whether the pic’s cast will be able to attend the movie’s “fan event” in Las Vegas this coming week. It would not be shocking if we see The Marvels charting one of the lowest openings for a Marvel Studios movie next weekend in November with less than $70M –lower than 2021’s The Eternals ($71.2M)— the movie not only a sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel but also a crossover from Disney+ series, Ms. Marvel. Presales for Captain Marvel are pacing behind that of Black Adam and The Flash were here (those respective openings at $67M and $55M).