Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga claimed the top spot over Garfield during Memorial Weekend, with the George Miller-directed action prequel grossing $26.3 million over the 3-day holiday ($32M 4-day) compared to the $24M/$31.1M earned by the fat cat, per Deadline. As many trades have already pointed out, this marks the lowest Memorial Day weekend opening for a film in some time, maybe even since 1995’s Casper ($22M).

According to the trade, Garfield is actually winning the race. The Chris Pratt-led animated flick sells more tickets than Furiosa, but at a cheaper price, $11.87 to $13.73. Ouch. Furiosa collected another $32M internationally, raising its global tally to $64.8M, while Garfield collected $66M for a $97M debut.

Everyone has spent the weekend determining what went wrong with Miller’s follow-up to his acclaimed Mad Max: Fury Road. Some point to sequel fatigue, noting that nobody (except for nerds like me) asked for a prequel to Fury Road, which only grossed $369M in May 2015. Deadline indicates that female-led action pictures outside the superhero brand, namely 2018’s Tomb Raider ($23.6M 3-day) and 2019’s Alita ($28.5M 3-day, $37.2M 4-day), rarely produce astronomical ticket sales. Others claim moviegoing is no longer what it once was due to the numerous choices available on TV; people are simply more picky about what they see in theaters. Plus, why leave your couch to pay astronomical ticket prices when you can wait a few weeks to watch a movie like Furiosa at home?

Either way, Hollywood’s curtains aren’t falling, but these are troubling times. Remember, 2023 produced two billion-dollar hits in Barbie and The Super Mario Bros. Movie and nearly a third with Oppenheimer. So far, 2024 has yielded Dune: Part Two ($711.8M), Godzilla x Kong ($566M), and Kung Fu Panda ($539M). With any luck, Bad Boys 4: Ride or Die, Pixar’s Inside Out 2, Despicable Me 4, Twisters, and Deadpool & Wolverine will exceed expectations and help this summer save face.

Is moviegoing dead? Not really. Two years ago, in 2022, three films (Avatar: The Way of Water, Top Gun: Maverick, and Jurassic World Dominion) broke the billion-dollar mark, followed closely by Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Minions: The Rise of Gru. That’s a long way from the glory days of 2019 — the last truly great year for movies at the box office — when Avengers: Endgame led a robust slate — nine films in all — to billion-dollar success.  Sure, that year was an anomaly, but since then, the box office has struggled to sniff the same success. Blame the pandemic, the rise of TV, too many sequels, strikes, politics, or whatever, but it’s clear audiences aren’t interested in handing over their hard-earned cash unless a picture truly screams, “must-see entertainment!”

Box Office Results: Top 10 Domestic

1.) Furiosa (WB) 3,804 theaters, Fri $10.35M, Sat $8.3M Sun $7.6M Mon $5.7M 3-day $26.3M 4-day $32M/Wk 1

2.) The Garfield Movie (Alcon/Sony) 4,035 theaters, Fri $8.4M Sat $8.2M Sun $7.4M Mon $7M 3-day $24M 4-day $31.1M /Wk 1

3.) If (Par) 4,068 theaters (+27) Fri $4.3M (-59%) Sat $6.1M Sat $5.7M Mon $4.8M 3-day $16.1M (-52%), 4-day $21M, Total $63.5M/Wk 2

4.) Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (20th/Dis) 3,550 (-525) theaters, Fri $3.4M (-50%) Sat $5.1M Sun $4.9M Mon $3.8M 3-day $13.4M (-47%), 4-day $17.2M, Total $126.6M/Wk 3

5.) Fall Guy (Uni) 2,955 (-890) theaters, Fri $1.6M (-32%), Sat $2.29M Sun $2M Mon $1.66M 3-day $5.99M (-28%),4-day $7.65M Total $73.9M/Wk 4

6.) Strangers -Chapter 1 (LG) 2,856 theaters, Fri $1.65M (-68%) Sat $2M Sun $1.84M Mon $1.34M 3-day $5.5M(-53%)4-day $6.9M Total $22.6M/Wk 2

7.) Sight (Angel) 2100 theaters Fri $1M Sat $886K Sun $810K Mon $800M 3-day $2.79M 4-day $3.6M/Wk 1

8.) Challengers (AMZ MGM) 1,089 (-849) theaters, Fri $438K (-53%) Sat $483K Sun $494K Mon $346K 3-day $1.41M (-51%) 4-day $1.76M/Total $46.8M/ Wk 3

9.) Back to Black (Foc) 2013 theaters (+3), Fri $300K (-75%) Sat $400K Sun $380K Mon $270K 3-day $1.08M (-62%), 4-day $1.35M, Total $5.2M/Wk 2

10.) Babes (NEON) 590 (+578) theaters, Fri $480K (+603%), Sat $300K Sun $280K Mond $168K 3-day $1.06M (+550%), 4-day $1.22M, Total $2M/Wk 2

Jeff Ames

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Furiosa and Garfield are No Power Couple