‘Civil War’ Fends Off ‘Abigail’ With $11 Million at Box Office

A24’s “Civil War” will hold on to No. 1 at the box office this weekend, edging out the opening weekends of Universal’s “Abigail” and Lionsgate’s “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” with a second weekend total of $11.1 million.

It’s a decent hold for “Civil War,” dropping 56% from its $25.5 million opening weekend as its domestic total now stands at $44.8 million. With foreign presales helping to lower the break-even point, the film looks like it will be a modest box office success against its $50 million budget as A24 wades into releasing films with wider initial screen counts and bigger marketing spends.

Sitting just behind “Civil War” is “Abigail” with an opening weekend of $10.2 million from 3,384 theaters. Again, a decent though not spectacular showing for an April genre title against its production budget, which is reported to stand at $28 million.

Sporting a gory, darkly humorous narrative about a group of criminals who unknowingly take a little girl who is a vicious vampire hostage, “Abigail” has been rather well received by critics and audiences, sporting Rotten Tomatoes scores of 83% critics and 88% audience along with a B on CinemaScore. With no major studio horror titles coming out for the next three weekends, “Abigail” has a lane to leg out among horror fans.

Lionsgate’s “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” is the biggest underperformer of the bunch this weekend, opening to $9 million from 2,485 theaters. That puts it in the No. 4 spot below Warner Bros./Legendary’s “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire,” which made $9.4 million in its fourth weekend to bring its total to $171 million domestic and $485 million worldwide.

Sources at Lionsgate point out that the film opened above studio tracking of a $6-7 million launch. They also note that the studio’s strategy of foreign distributor presales and co-financing/co-production deals with partners — Black Bear and Jerry Bruckheimer Pictures are among those that contributed to the reported $60 million budget for “Ministry” — will make this title a profitable one for Lionsgate.

But from an exhibitor perspective, “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” is opening below similar recent action films designed to appeal to male moviegoers over the age of 25 such as Jason Statham’s “The Beekeeper,” which opened to $16.5 million back in January.

Despite the presence of “Man of Steel” and “The Witcher” star Henry Cavill in the lead role, the film is the latest from director Guy Ritchie to open below $10 million, joining his 2023 films “The Covenant” ($6.3 million) and “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre” ($3.1 million). The saving grace for the film is that reception has been positive with an A- on CinemaScore and Rotten Tomatoes scores of 73% critics and 94% audience.

Rounding out the top 5 is Sony/Crunchyroll’s “Spy x Family Code: White” with $4.8 million from 2,009 theaters. The anime film adaptation of the popular “Spy x Family” manga series will likely have a short shelf life beyond this weekend, but theaters will more than welcome it as the box office enters its customary pre-summer slowdown period.

Historically, exhibitors see a slowdown in business in the latter half of April as distributors decline to release major tentpoles in anticipation of the start of the summer blockbuster season in May. But in a post-COVID, post-strike landscape where a decrease in theatrical offerings means that slumps get deeper, this weekend’s overall grosses have fallen to $65.8 million, only slightly above the $60 million overall total seen on the weekend of Feb. 23 just before the release of “Dune: Part Two.”

That slump is likely to continue for another weekend, as Amazon MGM’s well-reviewed erotic sports drama “Challengers” and Lionsgate’s revenge thriller “Boy Kills World” are unlikely to boost numbers. It will be up to Universal/87North’s “The Fall Guy” and Disney/20th Century’s “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” to pick up business again next month.

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