This weekend marked the second straight that featured no major wide releases. It’s pretty typical for January to be a slow month, but the lack of audiences showing up to see the available options doesn’t bode well as the movie industry tries to regain momentum after the Hollywood strikes wreaked havoc on the movie schedule. In the end, The Beekeeper was estimated to edge out Mean Girls in both movies’ third weekends, but with the numbers this close, we’ll have to see where the chips fall Monday.
There were a couple of bright spots over the past three days, though, with both The Beekeeper and Migration hitting some big milestones, so check out the full Top 10 chart, then join me below to break it all down.
The Beekeeper Surpasses $100 Million Worldwide In Possibly Recording Its First Weekend Win
The first month of the year is traditionally considered to be a time for low expectations, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t gems to be found. While we’re waiting patiently for films like Argylle, Bob Marley: One Love and Madame Web to hit the big screen in February, plenty of moviegoers were fine with taking in Jason Statham’s The Beekeeper in January. The movie that critics called “downright comical” with its bee pun-filled dialogue seemingly claimed the box office for the first time in its run.
David Ayer’s project earned an estimated $7.4 million, edging out Mean Girls, which gained an additional $7.3 million, per The Numbers. Not only did the action thriller see a significantly smaller drop between its second and third weekends than the Broadway adaptation (14 percent to Mean Girls’ 37 percent), The Beekeeper became the first movie of the year to cross into nine digits at the worldwide box office. It has now earned $104.2 million, per Box Office Mojo.
The Tina Fey-penned musical, meanwhile, continued to struggle to attract viewers via word-of-mouth advertising. In last week’s box office column, Eric Eisenberg pointed out that Mean Girls’ 59 percent decline between its first two weekends was especially troublesome given the lack of new releases competing for eyeballs, and that continues to be the case. The movie has now grossed $60.8 million domestically and another $22.6 million internationally, but even while it will be considered a financial success due to its reported $36 million budget, it may not be sticking around in theaters for very long, especially as more options become available.
While CinemaBlend’s review of Mean Girls and other critics’ opinions were mostly positive, some OG fans have mixed feelings about the musical remake, and its Rotten Tomatoes audience score remains at a tepid 63 percent. That’s definitely not very grool.
Migration Proves To Have Legs As It Surpasses $100 Million Domestically
There may have been concern over at Illumination when its late 2023 offering Migration turned in the company’s weakest opening weekend box office ever, earning just $12.3 million over its first three days for third place. However, we knew December animated releases tend to have longer legs, or wings, I should say, as the movie is holding fast to the No. 4 spot after six weekends in theaters.
What’s more, it has now crossed the $100 million mark, with its North American total falling at $101.3 million. This milestone is especially significant as it comes amid news (per ScreenRant) that the movie is already available for home viewing on some platforms and will be streamable with a Peacock subscription beginning in April.
The movie received mixed reviews from critics (our own Eric Eisenberg called it “dull,” despite some “great animation”), but families have apparently still found it to be their best option when heading to the theater with the little ones. We’ll see how much longer that lasts with the home release date getting closer.
I.S.S. Falls Out Of Top 10, While Oscar Nominees See A Boost
Last week saw Gabriela Cowperthwaite's sci-fi thriller I.S.S. struggle in its opening weekend, and its second-week numbers are just as bleak. Despite no new wide releases, the film starring Ariana DeBose and Chris Messina fell 55 percent weekend-over-weekend, earning just $1.4 million and dropping it out of the Top 10 altogether. It’s now earned $5.6 million over two weekends, and even with its reportedly smaller budget of $13.8 million, it doesn’t look promising that it’s going to get out of the red.
With the 2024 Oscar nominations being announced last week — and only some of those Academy Award nominees being available on streaming — many theaters added showings of the Best Picture nominees, and Poor Things and American Fiction saw noted boosts because of that. Each film added more than 800 theaters this week over last, which caused the movie that could earn Emma Stone her second Academy Award to jump from No. 10 to No. 7 at the domestic box office. Poor Things is up for 11 awards overall, including individual nods for Stone, Mark Ruffalo and director Yorgos Lanthimos.
American Fiction, meanwhile, had fallen out of the Top 10 but was resurrected in its seventh weekend, due to Oscar nods for the film, Jeffrey Wright (Best Actor), Sterling K. Brown (Best Supporting Actor), its screenplay and score.
We’ll see if Oscar screenings continue to have an effect on moviegoers’ habits next week, and the February 2 release of Argylle is also likely to shake things up. In the meantime, take a look at what else we can expect from the 2024 movie release calendar.