Last week, we said the box office was in need of a hero. With zero $10 million+ grossers domestically, 2023 theaters had their worst weekend yet.
Luckily, that hero arrived.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” vaulted the box office to its best weekend of the year thus far. With a $105.5 million weekend, “Quantumania” is the best opening for an Ant-Man film, beating its 2015 and 2018 predecessors. It carries an estimated budget of $200 million, meaning the film needs to gross around $727 million worldwide to breakeven. With a worldwide opening of $226.8 million, “Quantumania” will need about a 3.2x multiple to profit. Now this is certainly possible (2015’s “Ant-Man” had a 3.15x domestic multiple; 2018’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp” had a 2.86x domestic multiple) but there is cause for concern. It currently sits at 47% on Rotten Tomatoes, marking it as one of the worst received films from Marvel Studios. Combine that with a mediocre “B” CinemaScore, “Quantumania” will likely not have the legs to earn that multiple. Poor word-of-mouth could end the film’s run much sooner than expected. I can see “Quantumania” taking a large hit next weekend, with a drop above 65% en route to a gross of around $275 million domestically.
In second place this weekend, in its 10th weekend since release is “Avatar: The Way of Water.” We are approaching the final weekend of February, and to remind you, this film opened in the middle of December. With a $6.5 million gross, “Avatar” increased its domestic total to $657 million and its worldwide total to $2.24 billion, good enough to officially become the third-highest grossing film all-time. With a reported $460 million production budget and overall expenses totaling around $675 million, the film has likely already profited around $250 million. On top of all this, “Avatar” only dropped 11% this weekend. If it can weather the storm of a superhero movie taking hold of the box office, there is a legitimate chance “The Way of Water” can stay in the top five until March.
In third place is last week’s top film “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” with a weekend gross of $5.5 million. As we hypothesized last week, the film did end up expanding to over 3000 theaters this week, but still ended up falling 34%. While that is not a bad second weekend drop in a typical release pattern, you shouldn’t fall by such a large margin when you double your theater count. That being said, “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” was most certainly competing for screens with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” Theater chains would always favor the latter in that fight, meaning this expansion was in all likelihood a small one in total screenings. The film has grossed over $18 million domestically, but with a reported $45 million production budget, the film is certainly still in the red. I would expect “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” to release on premium on-demand or streaming in the near future.
In fourth and fifth place are “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” and “Knock at the Cabin” with $5.3 and $3.9 million respectively. “Puss in Boots” kept rolling again this weekend with only a 5% drop, staying in the top five in its ninth weekend of release. With $166 million earned domestically, “The Last Wish” is now the 22nd highest grossing film all-time to never be number one at the box office. “Knock at the Cabin” had a solid -27% hold in its third weekend, to increase its domestic total to $30 million. That $42 million domestic total we said the film would likely need to break even is now within reach.
Next weekend brings the opening of one new wide release – “Cocaine Bear.” The film surrounding the shockingly true story has garnered some social media buzz for its concept and blend of comedy, horror and action. I can see the film surprising with a $20 million opening next weekend.
Will “Quantumania” keep growing in first place or will “Cocaine Bear” claw its way to the top of the charts?
As always, we shall see in next week’s box office breakdown.