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‘Mean Girls’ Has Edge During First Weak Weekend Of 2024 – Sunday Box Office Update

SUNDAY AM WRITETHRU: There’s not much going on at the weekend box office. Yes, point fingers at the dual strikes’ impact on the theatrical schedule. But it’s also January, which typically counts a couple of the year’s lowest-grossing weekends. The 3-day for all titles is looking at $68M, which is not only the first weak weekend of the New Year, but 8% off the same frame a year ago, which did $72.4M. Per Box Office Mojo, the first two weekends of January grossed $85.7M and $97M, respectively.

While Sundance — with the celebration of indie cinema and discovery of new filmmakers — rages on in Park City, UT, there’s never really been any correlation between what’s going on in Park City and what’s playing on national marquees, though pre-Covid, we’ve seen films perform significantly better in late January. Last year at this time, Avatar: The Way of Water, led the chart in its 6th weekend with $20.1M — again, something we don’t really have this year: a strong holiday tentpole carryover from the previous year. Sony’s Missing was the lone wide studio release teeing off with $9.1M.

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This year, it’s Paramount’s second weekend of Mean Girls at 3,826 theaters with $11.7M, -59% decline, for what will be a ten-day of $50M. Through ten days, new Mean Girls is pacing 19% ahead of 2004’s Mean Girls, which finaled at $86M. Why the drop? Was it because audiences weren’t informed in the marketing that it was a musical? No, Mean Girls fans are fully aware of that. Two reasons:- it’s a young female skewing movie (46% under 25) and those are typically front-loaded, plus that B CinemaScore. Mean Girls fans’ have high standards in the second go-round. Nonetheless, this January is all about Mean Girls.

Amazon/MGM’s second frame of David Ayer’s Jason Statham movie, The Beekeeper, is second at 3,330 theaters with $8.4M, -49%, for a ten-day running total by EOD Sunday of $31.1M. Domestic endgame for Beekeeper is $45M, which is higher than early January meat-and-potatoes action, pre-Covid 2020 title, The Gentleman, from Guy Ritchie, which finaled at $36.4M.

Ariana DeBose in I.S.S. movie
Ariana DeBose in ‘I.S.S.’

There was only one wide release this weekend, Bleecker Street’s Ariana DeBose-Chris Messina-John Gallagher, Jr. international space station thriller about Russian and U.S. astronauts’ battle beyond the stars, I.S.S. At a $3M opening at 2,520 theaters, it’s easy for mainstream box office press to declare this a bomb. But here’s the post-pandemic reality (and this even started before then, frankly): For those handling distribution here, it’s not always about a box office rally. Similar to the Lionsgate model, it’s about an appropriate P&A spend and low MG that will pull the title along in ancillary windows.

Bleecker Street, post Covid, has been opening their wide entries in this box office vicinity. With an opening like this, revenue-wise, at the end of the day post all home windows, I.S.S. looks to make around $10M gross. Final B.O. will be between $5M-$7M. On this particular film, I.S.S. is a distribution deal for Bleecker Street, so they’re collecting a fee, and they aren’t on the hook for P&A spend. I.S.S. was always expected to open in the low single digits.

Critics don’t like I.S.S. at 62% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and moviegoers leaving the theater weren’t excited that they were stuck on board, giving it a C- CinemaScore and low 49% positive, and 27% definite recommend on Screen Engine/Comscore’s PostTrak.

Those who decided to attend were 69% guys, with 47% between 18-34 and the biggest demo being 25-34 year olds at 30%. Diversity demos were 57% Caucasian, 25% Latino and Hispanic, 7% Black, 5% Asian, and 5% Other. Bulk of pic’s ticket sales are in the West, Mountain, and South Central, with AMC Burbank the highest-grossing venue, with just over $8K.

Filling the gap in a marketplace without event films is the weekend launch of Imax’s Queen Rock Montreal, which is posting $2M at 387 auditoriums. Huge numbers in Canada, NY, L.A., and Minnesota, we understand. The large format exhibitor declares it’s their biggest Imax exclusive event ever, besting Stop Making Sense and Beatles: Get Back Rooftop Concert. The movie is the historic concert from 1981, digitally remastered for the first time for the Imax sound and image experience.

“Experiencing Queen Rock Montreal in IMAX is like stepping into a time machine — it’s an opportunity to see the band perform their most iconic hits in a visceral, immediate way I thought was no longer possible,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX in a statement. “The way this film was shot and now restored and presented in IMAX is truly awe-inspiring, and second only to being there in the house back in ’81.”

Opening limited this weekend at 125 theaters in 31 markets is NEON’s Ava DuVernay drama, Origin, which was the highest-tested movie in the distrib’s history. Pic is coming in with an estimated $875K. At a $7K per theater average, it’s ahead of NEON’s $5K expectations. NEON booked key Black theaters in Baltimore, Chicago, and Atlanta. Some key local and national spots were booked. NEON worked closely with DuVernay’s Array on a multi-tier marketing campaign. We’re hearing OK numbers in NY, LA, Atlanta, and San Francisco. The movie is 81% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Chart updated with Sunday figures.

1.) Mean Girls (Par) 3,826 (+25) theaters, Fri $3.25M (-72%) Sat $5.2M Sun $3.2M Sun 3-day $11.7M (-59%), Total $50M/Wk 2

2.) The Beekeeper (AMZ MGM) 3,330 (+27) theaters, Fri $2.44M (-64%) Sat $3.7M Sun $2.26M 3-day $8.4M (-49%), Total $31.1M/Wk 2

3.) Wonka (WB) 3,136 (-210) theaters, Fri $1.545M (-15%) Sat $3.1M Sun $1.73M 3-day $6.44M (-24%), Total $187.1M/Wk 6

'Anyone but You' teaser with Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell
Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney in ‘Anyone but You’

4.) Anyone But You (Sony) 2,928 (-7) Fri $1.74M (-17%) Sat $2.3M Sun $1.3M 3-day $5.4M (-24%),Total $64.2M/Wk 5
The romcom has crossed $100M worldwide, becoming the highest grossing R-rated romantic comedy since 2016’s Bridget Jones’s Baby.

5.) Migration (Ill/Uni) 3,094 (-130) theaters, Fri $1.1M (-4%) Sat $2.6M Sun $1.57M 3-day $5.3M (-15%), Total $94.6M/ Wk 5

6.) Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (WB) 2,423 (-318) theaters, Fri $865K Sat $1.69M Sun $1.1M 3-day $3.655M (-30%) /Total $114.1M/Wk 5

7.) I.S.S. (BST) 2,520 theaters, Fri $1.2M Sat $1.1M Sun $663K 3-day $3M/Wk 1

8.) Night Swim (Uni) 2,708 (-549) theaters, Fri $740K Sat $1.3M Sun $650K 3-day $2.7M (-42%), Total $23.7M/Wk 3

9.) Boys in the Boat (AMZ MGM) 2,012 (+5) theaters, Fri $792K Sat $1M Sun $653K 3-day $2.535M (-26%), Total $43.8M, Wk 4

10.) Poor Things (Sea) 1,400 (+820) Fri $575K (+26%) Sat $855K Sun $613K 3-day $2.04M (+13%)/Total $20.3M/Wk 7

11.) Queen Rock Montreal (Imax) 387 theaters, 3-day $2M/Wk 1

Notables
Origin (NEO) 125 Theaters Fri $385K Sat $285K Sun $205K 3-day $875K/Wk 1

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