Going into the summer, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3‘s opening box office was the talk of the town. Many pointed out that it would be on the lowest end of what has been released yet it somehow managed to be the best-performing live-action blockbuster all season. Animation hits like Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and The Super Mario Bros. Film have shown some strong legs, it’s been a rough year in 2023 even as cinemas had hit after hit ready to release.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is the next in line with a soft opening box office at $60M. It is a dream for a smaller project, but the film costs a whopping $295M excluding its marketing costs. So, it would take incredible legs for the film to end up profitable though the B+ CinemaScore is weighing that chance down quite a bit. It almost feels like the box office has lost all momentum, as many films in the previous weeks have just not been performing as one would hope.
Sadly, the film didn’t do much better internationally, as it pulled in $70M which is lower than even what The Flash did. So far, only Fast X managed to speed past anyone in its international box office while most are trying to even hit Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3′s opening, which was slightly mocked for being lower than Marvel’s usual. Who would’ve known that they were performing as usual just matching the overall year’s performance.
This weekend proved that not even animation is a safe bet, as DreamWorks debuts its latest film, Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, at $5.2M over the weekend. That is quite a disappointing box office for the film after the earlier success they saw with Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. So, while The Super Mario Bros. Movie and the latest Spider-Verse film made us believe families are back in theaters, harsh reality has set in once again.
It gets worse once you realize that The Flash, one of Warner Bros. biggest bets and highest hopes of the summer, fell to the 8th spot in its third weekend. It now only made $5M and hasn’t even crossed $100M yet after that harsh 67% drop. It’s especially painful for high-budget fare that has been whelming or just disappointing at the box office this summer.
What exactly is the cause? Perhaps exhibitors were just a tad too excited going into the summer as they piled on film after film. Yet, the prices have not gone down and continue to soar which makes people’s choices way more selective going in. Plus, there was already an onslaught of films early in the year which means interest has just slowed down if the film isn’t reaching a much higher threshold than usual; not surprising given what one is looking for to justify the prices or just wait it out until streaming. Add in high production budgets that are all-in on making their money back and Hollywood is facing a bit of an uphill battle.