Memorial Day box office starts to float
From left, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, which was the No. 1 movie in theaters this part weekend.
June 9, 2021
This year’s Memorial Day Weekend box office was up 41,000 percent over last year’s.
That is not a typo.
While most weekends this year have been averaging from $10-$20 million, the last three weekends have averaged about $80 million.
This past weekend saw The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It take the No. 1 spot at the box, selling $24 million in the U.S. over its first three days of release. Add in foreign sales and the film has already sold over $50 million in just a few days. Good ol’ horror.
What does the success of action, horror, and children’s films tell us?
First, it’s more fun to be scared out of your mind in a theater surrounded by a bunch of gasping strangers. Horror films will always be fun in public. Even if the theater industry as we know it ends, there will still be places to watch horror films.
Same thing with action; King Kong looks great on your 60-inch TV and he sounds cool through your soundbar, but it’s still not an experience that rivals seeing it in the theater.
Children’s films? That one’s easy. Parents will always be looking for ways to entertain their kids for a couple of hours at a time.
Beyond action, horror, and children’s movies, do theaters still stand a chance? Specialty theaters do, and art house theaters in big cities will probably always do well in the fall and winter. But will there be 5,000 screens running every day in 2023? I doubt there will be 2,000.
Also at the Box
Getting back on track, John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place Part II continued to roll over its second weekend of release, selling another $19.5 million, upping the flick’s 10-day total to $88 million in the U.S. and $137 million worldwide. I hear it’s very satisfying.
Cruella took the No. 3 spot with another $11.3 million in sales, bringing the flick’s total to $44 million in the U.S. and $87 million worldwide. I think this one looks really fun.
Kid’s flick Spirit Untamed opened at the No. 4 spot with $6.2 million in sales while Raya and the Last Dragon rounded out the Top 5 with another $1.3 million in sales.
Thus far Raya has sold $53 million domestically and just under $120 million worldwide. Add in all the money it’s going to make via streaming and Raya will probably go down as a success story.
The big winner this year is definitely Godzilla vs. Kong, which is still selling tickets and has now made $437 million worldwide. Gotta wonder what that one would have made if COVID-19 never happened. I’ll guess $2 billion.
New This Week
This weekend will likely still be about the new horror flicks, but don’t be surprised if Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and In the Heights, both new this week, fill some seats.
The trailer for In the Heights is so uplifting, I wouldn’t be surprised if it hits hard. Peter Rabbit 2 will fill seats because it’s a kid’s film, but probably not come anywhere close to Raya.
Additionally, we have a lot of studios starting to dump out smaller films in limited release.
Two of those films, Holler and A Perfect Enemy, are very promising on paper. There’s one, Queen Bees, starring James Caan and Ellen Burstyn, that will probably sell some tickets, but these smaller releases are probably all going to bomb, including Domino: Battle of the Bones, starring Snoop Dogg and David Arquette.
We’re almost at the halfway mark of 2021. How is that possible? Most years I would have a long list of favorite albums and films so far, but not this year. There just hasn’t been much yet, which makes sense.
But as the U.S. comes back to life, I think we’re going to be getting a lot more. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the second half of 2021 is something of a Golden Era for film releases, as most of the studios are sitting on several shelved prestige films. Fingers crossed those films are on their way to us before year’s end.