‘Lisa Frankenstein’ Takes on ‘Argylle’ in Bleak Box Office Battle

The domestic box office will grind to a near halt this weekend as the horror-comedy “Lisa Frankenstein” takes on the second weekend of Apple’s big-budget action-adventure “Argylle” in North America.

Matthew Vaughn’s “Argylle,” which topped the box office despite its dismal debut, will likely retain the No. 1 spot again with $6 million to $8 million. But don’t get too excited. The film cost $200 million to produce, so it’s shaping up to be the year’s first big bomb. So far, ticket sales have reached just $18.5 million domestically and $35 million globally. The filmmaker’s dreams of turning “Argylle” into a trilogy appear to have faded unless Apple decides to embrace a new corporate mandate to light money on fire.

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“Lisa Frankenstein” will also fall short of double digits, targeting a soft $4 million to $6 million from 3,140 theaters. However, Focus Features only spent $13 million to make the film, which may cushion any box office shortcomings. Elsewhere on domestic charts, “Dune” is returning to the big screen to generate buzz before the sequel lands in theaters in March. It’s looking to generate $2 million over the weekend. During its original run in 2021, “Dune” grossed $402 million globally while showing simultaneously on HBO Max.

Overall, it’s looking like a drab February at the box office with ticket sales down nearly 15% from last year, according to Comscore. Paul Dergarabedian, a senior Comscore analyst, predicts this may be one of the worst weekends of the coming year. This same frame in 2023 ended up as the lowest-grossing of that year with $53 million across all films.

“If there’s a silver lining, it’s that 2023 went on to much bigger and better things as the year unfolded,” Dergarabedian said. “Luckily, Valentine’s Day will provide much-needed love for theaters with the Bob Marley film ‘One Love’ and [Sony’s superhero adventure] ‘Madame Web’ set to offer a nice boost as we head toward the much-anticipated debut of ‘Dune: Part Two’ in early March.”

“Juno” screenwriter Diablo Cody wrote “Lisa Frankenstein,” which was directed by Zelda Williams (daughter of Robin Williams) in her feature debut. The PG-13 love story follows a misunderstood teenager (Kathryn Newton) whose high school crush (Cole Sprouse) happens to be a corpse. After bringing him back to life, she works to turn him into the man of her dreams. Reviews have been mixed (it holds a 52% “rotten” average on Rotten Tomatoes) with Variety chief film critic Owen Gleiberman calling the film “neither scary nor funny” and likening it to an “overly complicated SNL sketch.”

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