Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s “The Bad Guys” made off with the No.1 spot at the box office this weekend, earning $8 million on opening day for an estimated $25 million opening from 4,009 theaters, and beating box office projections for a poor opening in the mid-teens.
While that launch is nowhere near the opening for past DreamWorks films like “The Boss Baby” ($50 million) or “Trolls” ($46.5 million), “The Bad Guys” has a lower reported budget than those films at around $70 million. The closest comparison from the DWA filmography would be the 2019 film “Abominable,” which opened to $20.6 million and grossed a modest profit $188.6 million worldwide against a $75 million budget.
“The Bad Guys” could leg out and do the same, as families have embraced it with an A on CinemaScore and a 94% Rotten Tomatoes audience score to go with an 85% critics score. The comedy about a group of animal thieves trying to leave behind their life of crime could serve as an alternative to Marvel’s upcoming “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” for parents of younger kids looking for something less scary.
But this weekend’s other offerings, Focus’ “The Northman” and Lionsgate’s “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” may face a more difficult road theatrically. “The Northman” has opened in the No. 4 spot on the charts with an estimated $12.5 million from 3,234 theaters while “Massive Talent” is opening to a $7-8 million launch from 3,036 theaters after a $2.9 million opening day.
The financial outcome for both of these original films won’t become clear for another couple of weekends, as both Focus and Lionsgate are hoping for word-of-mouth to give them lasting power in theaters. Such has been the case for A24/AGBO’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which is adding another $5.25 million this weekend and is set to become the fourth A24 release to gross over $30 million in North America.
So far, audience metrics for both films have been solid but not spectacular, with the grisly “Northman” earning a B on CinemaScore and a 72% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes while the more comedic “Massive Talent” has done better with a B+ and 85% audience score. “The Northman” will likely need overseas revenue to turn any profit with its $70 million production budget while “Massive Talent” was made on a reported $30 million budget.
Both films were beaten on the charts by the sequels “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” and “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.” Paramount’s “Sonic 2” is second on the charts with an estimated $15 million in its third weekend for a $145 million domestic total, putting it on course to pass the $148.9 million of the pandemic-shortened run of “Sonic the Hedgehog” in 2020.
Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts 3” has taken a 68% drop from its $42 million launch last weekend for an industry estimated $13.5 million, giving it a total of $66.5 million after 10 days.