‘Furiosa’ Set to Be the Box Office’s Lowest No. 1 Memorial Day Film in 29 Years

The Memorial Day weekend box office is proving to be as grim as predicted, as Warner Bros.’ “Furiosa,” with a $10.2 million opening day and an industry estimated 4-day opening of $31 million from 3,804 locations, is set to post the lowest launch for a No. 1 film on this May holiday weekend in nearly three decades.

To find a lower No. 1 opening on Memorial Day weekend, one must go back all the way to 1995 with the $22 million opening of “Casper.” That figure, of course, is not adjusted for inflation. Overall grosses are just as grim. While the numbers could change over the course of the weekend, estimates currently stand at $124 million, the lowest overall Memorial Day weekend total excluding the pandemic years since the same figure was recorded before adjustment in 1998.

For “Furiosa,” this start is also below the projected $40 million 4-day start and the $45.4 million 3-day opening of “Mad Max: Fury Road” back in 2015. That film went on to gross $379 million worldwide against a $150 million budget, with robust post-theatrical grosses as it went on to win six Oscars and score a Best Picture nomination.

“Furiosa” may get some help from overseas grosses, but there’s little sign that it will be able to have better box office legs than its predecessor. Along with an 89% Rotten Tomatoes score, “Furiosa” earned a B+ on CinemaScore. That’s the same grade as “Fury Road,” which also got critical acclaim from critics but didn’t have an exceptional run theatrically.

Sony/Alcon/DNEG’s “The Garfield Movie” may even take the No. 1 spot from “Furiosa” depending on how matinee screenings on Saturday and Sunday turn out. Industry estimates currently have the animated film opening to $27.5 million from 4,035 locations over four days, but Sony is more optimistic with projections of a $31-33 million extended start, in keeping with pre-release tracking.

“Garfield” isn’t in as bad a spot as “Furiosa” with a reported production budget of just $60 million before marketing, with Alcon doing the financing. That should allow the film to clear the break-even bar, but audience reception metrics have been mixed with an 83% Rotten Tomatoes audience score and a B+ on CinemaScore.

For family films, a B+ is below what is typically received, and “Garfield” has now received a lower grade than the A- earned by Disney’s 2023 Thanksgiving flop “Wish.” With three weeks ahead as the only major animated film in theaters, “Garfield” should still leg out far enough with families to turn a theatrical profit; but it may see its holdover numbers drop sharply when Disney/Pixar’s “Inside Out 2” arrives on June 14.

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