In box office news that isn’t about Minions: The Rise of Gru or Top Gun: Maverick, Warner Bros. Discovery’s Elvis held on over the holiday against some brutal competition. Baz Luhrmann’s $85 million rock biopic, starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks, earned another $19 million (-39%) over the Fri-Sun part of a likely $22.5 million Fri-Mon holiday haul. That will give Elvis a $71 million 11-day cume, positioning it for a domestic finish essentially tied with Dune ($108 million).
It earned another $15.7 million overseas (-28%) for a new $113.5 million global cume, which sets the film up (give or take huge breakouts in Latin America or South Korea on the week of July 15) for a global finish of around $190 million. However, considering the reviews, buzz and lack of (non-horror) biggies for grown-ups between now and Bullet Train on August 5, I’d expect a $200 million-plus finish, about in line with Rocketman in the summer of 2019.
Jurassic World Dominion earned $15.65 million (-41%) in weekend four for a $331 million 24-day cume/$336 million 25-day domestic total. Colin Trevorrow and Emily Carmichael’s $185 million dino threequel has earned $492.7 million overseas for a new $824.5 million global cume. It might not make it to $1 billion (it’s only going to earn around $130 million in China versus $227 million and $267 million for the previous two Jurassic World movies), but Amblin will cope with merely quintupling the budget purely from theatrical earnings.
Blumhouse’s The Black Phone earned $12.3 million (-48%) over the Fri-Sun frame and $14.6 million over the holiday. That gives Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill’s $19 million chiller $50 million domestic and $75 million global. DreamWorks’ The Bad Guys has $96 million domestic and $244.5 million global on an $80 million budget. Universal has three films in the top five and (along with Focus Features’ Downton Abbey: A New Era) accounts for 83% of the total weekend box office.
Pixar’s Lightyear earned $6.57 million (-64%) for a miserable $105.4 million 17-day total. That’s less than Minions 2’s $108.5 million Fri-Sun opening weekend. The $200 million flick has earned $191 million worldwide for a likely under-$240 million global finish. Once again, I’d argue that the culprit was sending the better, more interesting Pixar flicks (Soul, Luca and Turning Red) to Disney+ while saving the comparatively cynical (quality notwithstanding) IP exploitation/cash-grab for theaters only to watch it pull a Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Save for the MCU films, Walt Disney is the one big studio that hasn’t yet recovered. The few seemingly surefire pre-Covid hits that stumbled over the last two years were mostly (Raya and the Last Dragon, Jungle Cruise, Encanto and Lightyear) Disney biggies. Now, the MCU movies (Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) may well total around $3 billion global. Moreover, they’ve got Avatar: The Way of Water in December.
Nonetheless, it is depressing to see how the rush to goose Disney+ subscriptions has conditioned families to watch Walt Disney tentpoles on Disney+ (which we’ve known since Raya and the Last Dragon skyrocketed once it became free on the service). We’ll see if Walt Disney Animation’s Strange World can turn the ship around over Thanksgiving weekend. If not, as Minions 2 aims for $1 billion global, it’ll be hard not to argue that the commercial struggles with Disney animated films aren’t entirely about Disney.