Film Discussion

US Box Office Report: 23/06/23 – 25/06/23

Spidey swings back on top, DC’s gone in a Flash, no hard feelings for No Hard Feelings, and Other Box Office News.

Before we get onto the new(-ish) releases, we first need to check in with last week’s pair of high-profile disaster zones: The Flash and Elemental.  Both should, by general track record of the modern Box Office landscape being preferential to the shiniest and newest toys on the market plus the fact that they’re DC and Pixar films, be ruling the roost right now.  Not, as has happened, falling behind the fourth weekend of Across the Spider-Verse in their second frames.

Hell, I devoted a lot of words last week to explaining why they, plus nearly every other film this season without several dozen Spider-People, bombed and I specifically mentioned that a film’s quality has very little to do with its opening weekend performance which are instead tests of how the marketing campaign went.  The second weekend, however?  Oh, that’s where quality enters into it, at least a little bit, and it’s where Elemental and The Flash’s fates divulge.

READ MORE: Hello, Bookstore – Documentary Review

Pixar’s latest managed to, by a mere $500,000, avoid becoming their lowest opening weekend ever and many armchair pundits speculated as to why that may be.  Do audiences even like Pixar anymore?  Was the marketing crap?  Have Pixar lost It (that nebulous magic touch everyone always goes on about)?  Turns out it had nothing to do with quality because Elemental had a pretty strong 37% drop this past weekend, going along with the very good weekday results so far, meaning that it’s already doubled the opening weekend take.

The audiences who are seeing the film clearly dig it and are telling others about that fact; just that, as mentioned last week by Pete Docter (and myself, natch), three straight years of Disney+ Pixar debuts mean not enough people bothered to see it opening weekend and form a profitable base.  Almost like the most obvious solution to this conundrum, audience conditioning that’s hard to break negatively affecting the Pixar brand, was the correct one.  Second place with $18.4 million, just under a mil behind Spider-Verse.

Photo by Macall Polay. © 2023 CTMG, Inc.

There is no such silver lining for The Flash, though.  Like I said, sophomore weekends – particularly sophomore weekends without a new major title opening – are tests of word-of-mouth and that’s where quality can come into play.  You can figure out where this is going.  Perhaps the surest sign yet that audiences don’t have superhero fatigue, they have mediocre/shit superhero fatigue, The Flash joins Black Adam, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in suffering the kind of building collapse that gets labelled in news coverage as “a tragic disaster”.  72.3% down from opening weekend, an astonishingly dismal $15.2 million that could be overtaken by No Hard Feelings if Actuals shift even slightly between writing and post-time.  Only the notorious Morbius suffered a worse second-week fall (73.8%) in the superhero sphere.

As a bystander who knew this was a no-win proposition, cos Zaslav was going to continue his petty cultural vandalism of Warner Bros. regardless of how much the film made or lost, it’s perversely magnificent to watch.  Here was an obvious toxic disaster that Warner Discovery cancelled a much-cheaper nearly-complete film (Batgirl) and (according to industry scuttlebutt) double-tapped in the skull the marketing of another much-cheaper film (Shazam! 2) to funnel something like $150 million into promoting said disaster… only to see it be so violently rejected by audiences that, according to analyst Luiz Fernando, the studio will end up losing more money than if they just shitcanned The Flash altogether.  Again, if it weren’t for the fact that nobody important in the decision grapevine is going to suffer any lasting consequences for this, I’d be finding some kind of hubris-related catharsis in this historical trainwreck.

READ MORE: Godzilla: Here There Be Dragons #1 – Comic Review

Oh, yeah, there were also a pair of new(-ish) releases.  They did pretty alright!  The new no-“-ish”-required entry was Jennifer Lawrence’s long-overdue return to theatrical starring roles in good old-fashioned sex comedy No Hard Feelings.  I’ve mentioned multiple times before that straight comedies – not to be confused with ‘straight’ comedies, ones for insufferable hetero bros who still love Todd Phillips – and rom-coms have been having a rough go at the Box Office for the past near-decade, hence why I can sit here and call Feelings’ fourth-place $15.1 million opening a slight win all things considered.

I’ll definitely be calling it a win if it finds $100,000 whilst rummaging around its bedside drawer for non-used condoms and can resultantly beat The Flash to the bronze medal.  The new-ish release, meanwhile, was Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, expanding nationwide after wrecking shop in a few arthouse-y cinemas the previous weekend, and subsequently delivering Wes’ best weekend ever!  Sixth place and $9 million admittedly doesn’t sound too impressive for a column that often throws around nine-figure numbers as a metric of success, but that’s why I try to place an emphasis on nuance and context around these parts in between the bad puns and worse segways.

Take me down to the Asteroid City where the grass is muted yellow and the Full List is pretty.

US Box Office Results: Friday 23rd June 2023 – Sunday 25th June 2023

1] Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

$19,300,000 / $317,050,646

Immensely disappointing to hear that, according to four anonymous animators on the project, Spider-Verse was made under abominable crunch, exhausting mismanagement, and (allegedly) constant underpayment.  Given that Phil Lord, the one specifically called out by all four sources, got his start in animation, I expected him to be better than other exploitative industry figures.  More fool me, I guess.  We are long overdue a mass unionisation and strike spree from the VFX and animation side of this industry.

2] Elemental

$18,463,000 / $65,514,915

As a fan of the show from Day 1 who has had to spend nearly a decade hearing the Terminally Online declare it the “WORST CARTOON EVER,” you could say I’m feeling a little vindicated as I watch the sentiment around Teen Titans GO! turn more to the positive.  It’s an often hilarious, kid-friendly black-comedy and the movie from 2018 was the best DC film since The Dark Knight until Shazam! dropped.

3] The Flash

$15,265,000 / $87,644,000

Going this week.  Despite the satisfying karmic glee at seeing this turn into a lead zeppelin disaster for Warner Bros. – NEVER FORGET BATGIRL – I do still hope that I enjoy some part of the film.  I saw Greatest Days last week and it reminded me of how torturous having to sit through a truly excretable film is.  In the meantime, those of you who would like to experience the Flashpoint storyline without having to watch a(n apparently) not-great film or read seventeen dozen comics of various connectivity and canonicity?  You should check out Amy Walker’s new Comic Cave feature which provides a bi-weekly deep dive on a major comic event!

4] No Hard Feelings

$15,100,000 / NEW

Hope this is good because, yes, I am dying for mainstream cinema to get back on its horny bullshit again.  Far too many (mentally-aged) children online are getting more and more prudish about romance and sexuality in media, and its starting to cross the line from “very annoying” to “honestly quite concerning”.  This asexual (panromantic and yes there is a difference read some queer theory) says LET THE PEOPLE FUCK ALREADY.

5] Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

$11,600,000 / $122,947,711

Fuck Paramount for joining in on the outright erasure of underperforming streaming shows for miniscule tax write-offs; I fucking hate this.

6] Asteroid City

$9,000,000 / $10,214,714

One of these days, a new Wes Anderson release will arrive without us all rehashing the same long-exhausted borderline-anti-creative DISCOURSE topics about his style of filmmaking and storytelling.  On that day, humanity will ascend to a glorious utopia of peace and harmony.

7] The Little Mermaid

$8,674,000 / $270,241,764

*sees the news that Sarah Polley is in talks to helm a Bambi remake, immediately travels to Disney HQ with a 50ft billboard that reads “GET A JOB, STAY AWAY FROM HER”*

8] Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3

$3,518,000 / $351,122,883

OK, let’s get away from DISCOURSE bait for a bit – since even Glastonbury has been an exhausting hive for that shit this year – and plug some Set The Tape stuff.  Lee Thacker has done a pretty excellent write-up for Twilight Zone: The Movie’s thirtieth anniversary I highly encourage reading!

9] The Blackening

$3,025,000 / $12,266,705

Toy reviews are a business we’re still very much in, if any manufacturers out there want to get in touch and send us free shit!  …for entirely professional purposes, of course.  Guest contributor Jenny Peck and her child Luke had a play with the latest in Connetix’s range of magnet creations.

10] The Boogeyman

$2,541,000 / $37,710,059

Oh, shit, an actual relevant article link for once!  When you’re finished being thoroughly underwhelmed by the latest filmic take on the works of Stephen King, Lee Thacker recommends you check out the (imaginatively named) documentary Stephen King on Screen for a look behind the horror maestro’s persona and enduring appeal for decades of filmmakers.

Dropped out: Fast X

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: