BOX OFFICE: THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA #1 in Last Pre-ENDGAME Weekend
Welcome to the Beat’s Weekend Box Office Recap!
With Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame opening this Thursday, the last true weekend of April before the summer movie season starts was another mixed bag. It was Easter weekend, so movies generally did better on Good Friday than usual, but only a few movies truly flourished.
New Line and producer James Wan once again proved they have the mettle to market horror to the masses as The Curse of La Llorona, directed by Michael Chaves, surpassed most expectations and projections with an estimated $26.5 million opening. That’s an average of $7,862 per theater in 3,372 theaters, not quite up to Wan’s Conjuring movies and various spin-offs but still solid for a movie few expected to make $20 million this weekend. The soft-R horror film began its weekend with $2.2 million in Thursday previews, which was merged into its $11.8 million take on Good Friday.
There actually is a religious aspect to the story — and even a tease of connections to the “Conjuring-verse” — that might have helped over the religious holiday weekend, but it also successfully targeted the burgeoning LatinX moviegoing audience with its connections to Mexican lore. Llarona’s “B-” CinemaScore is lower than the “B” from audience exit polls for Jordan Peele’s Us, but better than Paramount’s Pet Sematary, which received a “C+.”
New Line’s other big movie Shazam! dropped to second place with $17.34 million, a not-too-shabby 29% drop in its third weekend. It’s amassed $121.3 million domestically, while overseas, the movie added another $22 million — $2 million of that from Japan. That $200 million international take brings its global gross to $322 million, which isn’t great when compared to Captain Marvel (see below), but it’s far from the disaster it could have been.
20th Century Fox’s faith-based drama Breakthrough took third place with $11.1 million in 2,824 theaters ($3,931 per theater) after making $3.51 million with its early opening for Tuesday night previews. The movie starring Chrissy Metz from This is Us grossed $14.6 million in its first five days, which is below what I projected earlier in the week but is still commendable as one of Fox’s rare forays into religious films. (2014’s Son of God opened with $25.6 million in 3,260 theaters opening in late February that year.)
The nicest surprise of the weekend was seeing Captain Marvel surpass the $400 million mark (at least based on estimates) with $9.1 million in fourth place, a rare increase from last weekend. There’s a good chance the Easter holiday helped but also, it could be attributed to some last-minute catch-up from Marvel fans before the release of Avengers: Endgame. As of now, it’s well over a billion worldwide and is easily the biggest movies of the year so far.
The comedy remake Little from Universal took fifth place (down from second) with $8.4 million, down 45% from its opening weekend. It has grossed $29.4 million so far, based on a $20 million production budget.
Tim Burton’s Dumbo managed to eke past $100 million with another $6.8 million (down 28%) to take sixth place. The live-action remake of the classic Disney cartoon has grossed $101.2 million domestically so far — the best showing for a Tim Burton movie since 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. Still, the movie is heavily relying on its $200 million internationally to make back its enormous $175 million budget.
By now, you’re probably wondering, “Where is Hellboy?” After all, it did open in third place last weekend. Its dismal opening weekend was followed by a disastrous 68% in its second weekend to fall all the way down to tenth place. That sort of drop has become somewhat rare, clearly proving that the scant few who saw the movie didn’t have enough enthusiasm to recommend the movie to others. In ten days, Hellboy has grossed less than $20 million domestically based on a $50 million production budget. It hasn’t opened overseas yet, but it might be tough for Lionsgate to recoup the movie’s cost with so much bad buzz in the air.
The other surprise disappointment of the weekend was Disneynature’s Penguins, which flopped similarly to the Antarctic birds in its title. It ended up outside the top 10 with $2.3 million in 1,815 theaters. In the past, Disneynature has capitalized on the Earth Day holiday (which falls on the Monday after Easter this year) to open their real-life nature docs. Disney even gave Penguins a head start on the weekend by opening it on Wednesday, but the less-than-a-million it made did nothing to convince families with small kids to go see it. It’s a shame, because the ads for the movie were pretty cute, focusing on a penguin named Steve, voiced by Ed Helms. These days, Disneynature is competing directly with some of the nature shows to be found on Netflix like Planet Earth. If plopping the kids in front of the television to watch animals is cheaper and less hassle than taking them to the movies, then parents are clearly gonna take advantage of that.
FIP, the Bollywood division of Fox, released Kalank into 320 theaters where it made $1.2 million or $3,916 per theater. That wasn’t enough to get into the top 10, but that gave it a per-theater-average on par with big Fox’s Breakthrough.
Bleecker Street attempted to expand Max Minghella’s Teen Spirit nationwide into 696 theaters, but there just wasn’t enough buzz to help it connect. It ended up with $250,500, an abysmal $360 per theater, so it clearly was spread out too thin too quickly.
Of the other limited releases, Nia DaCosta’s Little Woods, released by Neon into 33 theaters, fared the best with $66,415 its opening weekend, though A24 scored the best per-theater with It Follows director David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake. It only opened in a single theater in New York and another in L.A. but made $40,000 between them. Starring Andrew Garfield and Riley Keough, the movie is also going to be available on Amazon starting Monday, so there’s very little reason for A24 to try and expand it further.
This Week’s Top 10:
|Rank||Last Week Rank||Movie||Studio||Weekend Gross||% Change||Total Gross|
|1||New||The Curse of La Llorona||New Line/WB||$26.5 million||N/A||$26.5 million|
|2||1||Shazam!||New Line /WB||$17.3 million||-29%||$121.3 million|
|3||New||Breakthrough||20th Century Fox||$11.1 million||N/A||$14.6 million|
|4||6||Captain Marvel||Marvel/Disney||$9.1 million||+6%||$400 million|
|5||2||Little||Universal||$8.4 million||-45%||$29.4 million|
|6||5||Dumbo||Disney||$6.8 million||-28%||$101.2 million|
|7||4||Pet Sematary||Paramount||$4.8 million||-50%||$49.6 million|
|8||9||Missing Link||UA Releasing||$4.4 million||-26%||$13 million|
|9||7||Us||Universal||$4.2 million||-37%||$170.4 million|
|10||3||Hellboy||Lionsgate||$3.9 million||-68%||$19.7 million|
The top 10 grossed just under $100 million based on studio estimates. That’s slightly down from this weekend last year when Jon Krasinski’s A Quiet Place remained #1 with $20.9 million, followed by Dwayne Johnson’s Rampage. Amy Schumer’s rom-com I Feel Pretty (STX) opened in third place with $16 million, followed by Fox Searchlight’s comedy sequel Super Troopers 2 with $15.2 million.
Check back on Wednesday for The Beat‘s Box Office Preview of what’s likely to replace Captain Marvel as the biggest movies of the year, Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame.
Edward Douglas has been writing about movies and other forms of entertainment for over 25 years, so he’s probably older than you.