Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s “The Bad Guys” has risen above pre-release projections to snatch the No. 1 spot at the box office from Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” with a $24 million opening weekend from 4,003 theaters.
It’s a far lower start than the $72 million opening of “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” a couple weeks ago or the $50 million opening of DreamWorks’ “The Boss Baby” back in 2017, but “The Bad Guys” will have a chance to leg out a profit against its reported $70 million production budget as it will be the last family film on the release slate until Pixar’s “Lightyear” comes out in mid-June. Internationally, the film has already grossed $63 million from 50 markets, giving it a global total of $87.1 million.
Reception has been strong for “The Bad Guys” with an A on CinemaScore and Rotten Tomatoes scores of 85% critics and 93% audience. Families made up 58% of the opening weekend audience with 30% parents and 16% kids under the age of 10. If “Bad Guys” legs out, it will likely be because of those families with younger kids as no film on the May slate will directly compete for that audience subset.
Focus Features’ “The Northman” and Lionsgate’s “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” will also need strong word-of-mouth to leg out any sort of profit, though the road is much tougher for those films than it is for “The Bad Guys.” “The Northman,” a gory R-rated Viking revenge epic, has taken in a $12 million domestic opening from 3,234 theaters for the No. 4 spot on the charts while “Massive Talent,” starring Nicolas Cage, has only earned $7.1 million.
Audience reception for both films is solid but not as strong as “The Bad Guys,” with “The Northman” earning a B on CinemaScore and a 67% RT audience score while the comedic “Massive Talent” has a B+ CinemaScore and 87% Rotten Tomatoes score.
The challenge for both films will be to win over young adults in the coming weeks even as Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” hits theaters in May. As a comedy, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” may be able to serve as counterprogramming to the surreal, scary Marvel movie in the coming weeks and has a lower break-even point with a $30 million budget before marketing.
But “The Northman,” with demographics of 68% male and 61% 18-34, has a significant audience overlap with Marvel movies and could lose younger male moviegoers to “Doctor Strange 2” unless word-of-mouth among that group specifically gives it a foothold over the next two weeks. Next weekend will provide a better sign of whether this ambitious $70 million epic can avoid flopping theatrically, as its global total currently stands at $23.5 million with $11.5 million from 26 overseas markets.
If not, “The Northman” will have to rely on video on-demand to reach the break-even point as Focus is expected to release it for digital rental after three weekends in theaters.
Both “Northman” and “Massive Talent” were beaten on the charts this weekend by franchise sequels as Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” added $15.2 million this weekend for second place, and a domestic total to $145.8 million after three weekends. In the coming week, the SEGA film should pass both the pandemic-curtailed domestic run of the first “Sonic” and the $160 million earned by “A Quiet Place — Part II” to become Paramount’s highest grossing film since the start of 2019.
Warner’s “Fantastic Beasts 3” is in third this weekend, continuing the Wizarding World spinoff’s decline as it fell 67% from its $42 million opening with a $14 million second weekend and a 10-day domestic total of $67.1 million, down 42.5% from the $116.5 million 10-day total of 2018 predecessor “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.”
Finally, A24/AGBO’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once” has had another strong hold with $5.4 million grossed from 2,133 theaters, giving it a total of just under $27 million. The Daniels metaverse dramedy is set to become the fourth A24 film to gross over $30 million domestically, passing the total of Best Picture winner “Moonlight” in the process.