‘Furiosa’ Leads Worst Memorial Day Box Office Since the ’90s With $32 Million Opening

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The “Mad Max” prequel edges “The Garfield Movie” as overall grosses plummet 37% from last year

Furiosa A Mad Max Saga
"Furiosa" (Credit: Warner Bros.)

Warner Bros.’ “Furiosa” pulled out to a narrow lead over Sony/Alcon/DNEG’s “The Garfield Movie,” though that is not much of a victory as the $32 million extended opening earned by the “Mad Max” prequel is part of the worst Memorial Day weekend box office results seen since the 1990s.

“Furiosa” scored the lowest total for a No. 1 Memorial Day film since “Casper” in 1995, while the overall estimated 4-day total of $128 million is a sharp 37% drop from last year’s Memorial Day weekend.

It’s a drop that can be attributed to an industry-wide slump as Hollywood and exhibitors weather weeks of reduced theatrical output due to delays caused by last year’s strikes, including Marvel Studios’ “Deadpool & Wolverine,” which has enjoyed exceptional presales but moved from May to late July and left theaters without their customary comic book film boost to kick off the summer.

As for “Furiosa,” this extended $32 million start is below pre-release projections of a $40 million start and the $45.4 million 3-day start of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which grossed $379 million worldwide against a $150 million budget in 2015 amid critical acclaim. With a global start of $65 million, it is very unlikely that “Furiosa,” which has also received strong reviews from critics and audiences, will match that total.

“The Garfield Movie” is just behind with a 4-day opening of $31.1 million domestic and approximately $91 million worldwide. With a far lower budget of $60 million, “Garfield” will post a solid theatrical profit for Sony, though it is short of how past family friendly Memorial Day offerings like “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” and “Shrek Forever After” performed for theaters over the holiday weekend.

Word-of-mouth for “Garfield” is mixed, earning a solid 83% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and 4.5/5 on PostTrak but also suffering a B+ on CinemaScore, a poor grade for family films. Still, “Garfield” will have three weeks of play as the sole animated offering for families until Disney/Pixar’s “Inside Out 2” arrives.

Paramount’s “IF” also found some success making in-roads with family audiences, earning $21 million over four days as it reaches a total of $63.5 million domestic and $103 million worldwide. With a $110 million budget before marketing costs, the John Krasinski film also needs to leg out before “Inside Out 2” arrives, but is off to a good start on that goal as it dropped a decent 52% from its soft $33.7 million opening.

Disney/20th Century’s “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is in fourth with $17.2 million over four days, bringing its total to $126.6 million domestic and $298 million worldwide. The fourth “Apes” reboot film will pass the domestic mark of its 2017 predecessor “War for the Planet of the Apes,” but will probably fall short of its $490 million worldwide total given that film had the benefit of a $112 million total from China, which has since abandoned most Hollywood offerings.

Universal’s “The Fall Guy” is in fifth with $7.7 million over four days, as the $125 million action comedy continues its poor run with $73.9 million domestic and $145.5 million worldwide. Universal released the film for rent or purchase on Digital ahead of the holiday weekend.

Farther down the charts, Angel Studios’ true story drama “Sight” opened in 2,100 locations and grossed an industry-estimated $3.5 million over four days for a seventh place finish. Neon also expanded the comedy “Babes” to 589 theaters, cracking the top 10 with $1.3 million grossed.

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