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Third Weekend of ‘The Beekeeper’ Tentatively Edges ‘Mean Girls’ with the Lowest #1 Since 2021

The Beekeeper” (Amazon MGM) and “Mean Girls” (Paramount) are in a close race for #1 this weekend, with $121,000 separating them in their respective three-day estimates. The final outcome will be determined tomorrow.

But whichever one comes out ahead, it will be with the dubious achievement (for both, under $8 million) of attaining the top gross with the lowest figure since May 2021, when Covid was still hurting revenue. The total weekend gross of $61 million is the lowest since Super Bowl weekend last year (always a low point).

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This year’s game is two weeks ahead, and that weekend might end up with an even worse total. One thing it won’t have is the uptick from Oscar-nominated films. These added $13 million this weekend, a high point that will diminish going forward. Nearly 8,700 new playdates were added among 13 nominees.

These were led by three Top Ten titles, all of which expanded. Best was “Poor Things” (Searchlight), #7 with $3 million, followed by “American Fiction” (Amazon MGM) #8, $2.9 million. Visual Effects nominee “Godzilla Minus One” (Toho International) returned with an added $2.6 million to place #10.

If “The Beekeeper” prevails (both it and “Mean Girls” have totals ahead of other industry estimates), it will because of a better hold than Paramount’s musical. As of now, the Jason Statham action/thriller reports a 14 percent drop from its second weekend, when it was #2 (as it was its opening week). It has reached $42 million domestic (Amazon MGM handles the Miramax production here, while the rest of the world, grossing a little more so far, has separate distribution). “Mean Girls” has passed $60 million.

Both have done well, and reconfirmed that non-franchise titles with lower budgets can perform nicely. The problem is that there are too few of them, with the lack of regular new films weekly badly hurting theaters. This will continue through February. For now, both this weekend and year to date are down over 10 percent from 2023.

“Migration”
“Migration”

The three Oscar expansions all had grosses above last weekend, with no holdover falling as much as 40 percent, typical with no new releases. Best of the rest was “Migration” (Universal), rising to #4 and off only six percent parallel to its release on PVOD (though counterintuitive, a boost when this happens is not uncommon). “Anyone but You” (Sony) at #5 fell 11 percent, #3 “Wonka” (Warner Bros.) 12 percent.

“Fighter” (Vive), an Indian variation on “Top Gun” debuted at #6 with $3.7 million in in 662 theaters. That’s much better than Ava DuVernay’s “Origin” (Neon), which failed to gain hoped-for Oscar attention. Her well-reviewed film in two more total theaters in its second week expansion grossed $1,463,000 at #13.

The $13 million total for nominees technically is below last year’s combined gross of about $22 million. But $16 million of that came from “Avatar: The Way of Water,” still at #1 then with double the gross of this weekend’s top two titles.

Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things” is now only a little more than $1 million below where his “The Favourite” was at the same point, despite that earlier film having two more weeks in release. This weekend was $500,000 better than the post-nomination weekend five years ago.

AMERICAN FICTION, from left: Jeffrey Wright, Sterling K. Brown, 2023. © MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection
“American Fiction”©MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection

Cord Jefferson’s “American Fiction” opened a week later and has been more limited so far, making its nearly-as-good gross in 598 fewer theaters also a strong performance. It so far is just under $12 million.

“Godzilla,” already a big domestic success ($55 million so far) is boosting its hopes for an upset (and lower-budgeted) Oscar win with its resurgence. The Japanese import could end up having a domestic gross only $20 million less than “The Marvels.”

The planned added theaters for Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest” (A24), building on its five nominations, paid off to about $1.1 million in 317 theaters. The film has now grossed $3 million so far. Even if it added no more (and it has significant potential ahead), that would be excellent these days for a subtitled specialized film. Justine Triet’s “Anatomy of a Fall” (Neon), also a Best Picture and Director nominee, came back with $211,000. Its total now stands at $4.1 million.

Oscar frontrunner “Oppenheimer,” which has been available for home viewing for weeks added another $1 million in a return engagement, a little more than “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Paramount). “The Holdovers” (Focus), also already streaming, came back with $520,000, bringing it up to a $19.3 million total. That puts Alexander Payne’s film ahead of last year’s “The Fabelmans.”

“Sometimes I Think About Dying”
“Sometimes I Think About Dying”

Three new limited specialized openings had respectable or better results. From last year’s Sundance, “Sometimes I Think About Dying” (Oscilloscope) with Daisy Ridley did $40,000 in two New York and Los Angeles theaters. Two films that fell short of Oscar International nominations but both with excellent reviews had exclusive New York dates initially. “The Peasants” (Sony Pictures Classics), a Polish animated film, took in $15,180, while Mexico’s “Totem” (Janus) did $11,402.

The Top 10

1. The Beekeeper (MGM Amazon) Week 3 – Last weekend #2

$7,421,000 (-14%) in 3,337 (+7) theaters; PTA (per theater average): $2,224; Cumulative: $42,288,000

2. Mean Girls (Par) Week 3 – Last weekend #1

$7,300,000 (-37%) in 3,544 (-282) theaters; PTA: $2,060; Cumulative: $60,805,000

3. Wonka (WB) Week 7; Last weekend #3

$5,910,000 (-12%) in 3,014 (-122) theaters; PTA: $1,961; Cumulative: $195,173,000

4. Migration (Universal) Week 6; Last weekend #5; also on PVOD

$5,150,000 (-6%) in 2,962 (-132) theaters; PTA: $1,764; Cumulative: $101,254,000

5. Anyone but You (Sony) Week 6; Last weekend #4

$4,800,000 (-11%) in 2,885 (-23) theaters; PTA: $1,664; Cumulative: $71,196,000

6. Fighter (Vive) NEW – Est. budget: $30 million

$3,744,000 in 662 theaters; PTA: $5,686; Cumulative: $3,744,000

7. Poor Things (Searchlight) Week 7; Last weekend #10

$3,048,000 (+43%) in 2,300 (+900) theaters; PTA: $1,325; Cumulative: $24,793,000

8. American Fiction (Amazon MGM) Week 7; Last weekend #12

$2,897,000 (+65%) in 1,702 (+852) theaters; PTA: $1,702; Cumulative: $11,843,000

9. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (WB) Week 6; Last weekend #6; also on PVOD

$2,820,000 (-23%) in 2,118 (-305) theaters; PTA: $1,331; Cumulative: $118,102,000

10. Godzilla Minus One (Emick for Toho International) Week 9; Last weekend #18

$2,600,000 (+276%) in 2,051 (+1,516) theaters; PTA: $1,268; Cumulative: $55,009,000

Other specialized and award-contending titles

Films (limited, expansions of limited, as well as awards-oriented releases) are listed by week in release, starting with those opened this week; after the first three weeks, only films with grosses over $5,000 are listed. Metacritic scores and initial film festivals recorded.

Sometimes I Think About Dying (Oscilloscope) NEW – Metacritic: 67; Festivals include: Sundance 2023

$40,460 in 2 theaters; PTA: $20,230

The Peasants (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW – Metacritic: 63; Festivals include: Toronto 2023

$15,180 in 1 theater; PTA: $15,180; Cumulative: $26,678 (include awards qualifying week)

Totem (Janus) NEW – Metacritic: 88; Festivals include: Berlin, New Directors/New Films 2023

$11,402 in 1 theater; PTA: $11,402

American Star (IFC) NEW – Metacritic: 71; also on VOD

$9,001 in 47 theaters; PTA: $192

Origin (Neon) Week 2

$1,463,000 in 664 (+539) theaters; PTA: $2,203; Cumulative: $2,503,000

Driving Madeleine (Cohen) Week 3

$68,461 in 76 (+26) theaters; Cumulative: $177,210

The Color Purple (WB) Week 5; also on PVOD

$430,000 in 503 (-278) theaters; Cumulative: $60,004,000

Ferrari (Neon) Week 5; also on PVOD

$132,000 in 170 (-152) theaters; Cumulative: $18,368,000

The Teachers’ Lounge (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5

$47,539 in 29 (+13) theaters; Cumulative: $206,490

The Iron Claw (A24) Week 6

$1,089,000 in 926 (-395) theaters; Cumulative: $33,260,000

All of Us Strangers (Searchlight) Week 6

$402,000 in 275 (-20) theaters; Cumulative: $3,033,000

Memory (Emick for Ketchup) Week 6

$5,500 in 15 (-66) theaters; Cumulative: $378,931

Freud’s Last Session (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6

$80,927 in 229 (-405) theaters; Cumulative: $756,532

The Zone of Interest (A24) Week 7

$1,084,000 in 315 (+233) theaters; Cumulative: $3,004,000

The Boy and the Heron (GKids) Week 8

$660,932 in 550 (-30) theaters; Cumulative: $44,238,000

The Sweet East (Utopia) Week 9

$23,069 in 3 (no change) theaters; Cumulative: $163,115

The Holdovers (Focus) Week 14; also streaming and on VOD

$520,000 in 1,267 (+1,140) theaters; Cumulative: $19,300,000

Killers of the Flower Moon (Paramount) Week 15; also streaming and on PVOD

$220,000 in 941 (+925) theaters; Cumulative: $67,605,000

Anatomy of a Fall (Neon) Week 16; also on VOD

$211,500 in 380 (+355) theaters; Cumulative: $4,195,000

Oppenheimer (Universal) Week 28; also on VOD

$1,000,000 in 1,262 (+220) theaters; Cumulative: $328,159,000

Barbie (WB) Week 28; also streaming and on VOD

$(est.) 210,000 in 1,500 (+1,486) theaters; Cumulative: (est.) $636,430,000

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