US Box Office: Furiosa wins but with results below expectations

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The American Memorial Day weekend this year included the debut of two highly anticipated films such as Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga and Garfield. What were the proceeds? Despite two titles with great appeal, at least on paper and taking into consideration the excellent reviews from critics, the US Box Office over the Memorial Day weekend recorded numbers that bucked the trend compared to last year. Data in hand, in fact, the weekend estimated a total of 101 million dollars, compared to the 163 million raised last year. But what really didn't work?

Furiosa and the American Mad Max syndrome

Pre-release forecasts have repeatedly pushed the Fury Road prequel well over $40 million, with some estimates even predicting it could reach $50 million. The Mad Max saga has never attracted mass audiences to the cinema, and this is an incontrovertible fact. But then is this alone enough to find an explanation for the mere 25.5 million dollars raised by Furiosa? Absolutely not. Something must actually have gone wrong. If we then add that the new chapter of George Miller's cinematic epic has achieved critical acclaim, with a "Fresh" score of 89% on RottenTomatoes, and an audience score of 91%, on PostTrak it got 4½ out of 5 with a “B+” CinemaScore, so the numbers really don't add up. 

Want to put some other counterweights on the scales, even the comparison with the more recent Mad Max: Fury Road (which also didn't cause disasters) is negative. Nine years ago, in fact, Miller's film collected 45.4 million dollars, which ultimately translated into an unsatisfactory result due to the disproportionate budget made available to the Australian director, the presence of high-impact actors such as Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, and the usual critical acclaim.

Our impression is that Furiosa: Mad Max Saga may have the long legs to still be able to carve out a decent amount of revenue at the end of the run, on the other hand, positive word of mouth has always been the only right medicine to avoid dangerous flops. But if this were not the case, then it could really be difficult to see a new chapter of the saga very soon, especially if we consider that in 45 years Miller has only made 5, with the last two separated by 9 years, and this despite the 6 Oscars won. Finally, internationally, the film grossed 33.3 million dollars in 75 markets, for a global taking of 58.9 million, almost half the amount collected by Fury Road (109.4 million).

Garfield and the other films of the weekend

Garfield – Una Missione Gustosa came close to first place at the US Box Office for a few hundred thousand dollars, but as happened with Furiosa it was a result below expectations. The gross recorded was in fact 24.77 million dollars over the weekend, in line with the score of the previous chapter "Garfield – The Movie" (21.7 million), but underperforming compared to what Sony expected from its pre-release estimates. It will be interesting to evaluate how it holds up in the coming weeks.

Another family film ranked in third position but in its second weekend, we are talking about IF – Imaginary Friends. The second weekend of programming of the hybrid film provided a taking of 16.1 million dollars, with a drop of just over 50% and a total of 58.66 million (it will struggle to reach 100 million). Other noteworthy performances at the US Box Office over the weekend also include the $13.35 million grossed by Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, for a total of $122.8 million.