DC League of Super-Pets opened at the top of the box office with a $9.3 million Friday gross, including $2.2 million in previews. That’s just above the $7.985 million Friday gross of DreamWorks’ The Bad Guys in mid-April (including $1.15 million in previews), which, to be fair, led to a $23.95 million Fri-Sun launch. The Dwayne Johnson/Kevin Hart animated action comedy, which pitched itself as essentially “The Secret Life of Pets but co-starring the Justice League,” earned solid reviews (71% fresh and an average 6.3/10 from Rotten Tomatoes) and an A- from Cinemascore. If it legs like a “new” kid-friendly animated feature, it’ll end the weekend with a $28 million opening, on the lower end of $25-$28 million pre-release guests. However, if it plays more like a “normal franchise flick,” think Lightyear (a $51 million weekend from a $20 million Friday), the $90 million release will open closer to $23 million.
This is a case where the “narrative” will partially be determined by the weekend multiplier even if the overall weekend number is lower than I had hoped. The Warner Bros. Discovery release is the last kid-friendly release (animated or otherwise) until the reissue of Avatar on September 23 or Dwayne Johnson’s DC Films-affiliated Black Adam on October 21. It didn’t “break out” in any real sense, but I’d be surprised if the perfectly amusing animated caper doesn’t leg out over the remainder of the summer. It also has a family-friendly cast (Johnson and Hart for the kids, Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski and Keanu Reeves for the adults) and is damn enjoyable. It’s colorful, gee-whiz fun, with just a bit of non-vulgar “adult humor” (the chyrons are worth reading) and self-satire to keep adults engaged. Or it could open to $23 million and leg like Lightyear and end up with barely $50 million domestic.
The only other new wide release of the weekend is Focus Features’ vengeance. The BJ Novak mystery comedy is about a New York podcaster who travels to Texas to investigate the death of a woman he hooked up with but whom her family believes was her boyfriend of her. It is a pretty good, occasionally quite profound old-school programmer. It also features the first significant role of Ashton Kutcher (as an insightful and compassionate small-time record producer) since jobs back in late 2013. He was a genuine “butts in seats” movie star for a decade, pulling in $15-$25 million openings for comedies (Guess Who?), fantasy (The Butterfly Effect), rom-coms (No Strings Attached), actioners (Guardian) and toons (OpenSeason) until he just… stopped. Nonetheless, this isn’t a commercial comeback, as we’re looking at a $650,000 Friday in 998 theaters for a likely $1.62 million Fri-Sun debut. But I am officially interested in what Novak does next.
Also, A24 brought Everything Everywhere All at Once back into wide release in weekend 19, complete with eight minutes of outtakes. The smash-hit multiverse action/fantasy melodrama earned $196,500 (+613%) on Friday for a likely $620,000 (+558%) weekend and a new $68.82 million domestic cume. That’s not enough to automatically push the Michelle Yeoh vehicle to $100 million globally (it was at $95 million last weekend), but it’s a nice gesture for a surefire Oscar contender. It’ll be A24’s top offering. Considering the previous 15 years of winners (from The Departed in 2007 to coda in 2022), I’d argue (quality notwithstanding) that The Shape of Water, Parasite or Birdman are more representative than Green Book or argus. I’m not saying it’s a shoo-in to win, but at this juncture, it’s far more likely to be nominated for Best Picture (and possibly win for Best Editing and Best Original Screenplay) than not.