'Furiosa' Posts Weak Memorial Day Opening, Fueling Analyst Concerns

Theatrical box-office revenue for the Memorial Day weekend was down an eye-opening 36% compared to the same weekend a year ago to $128.3 million, according to Comscore -- a result that was somewhat alarming to film analysts.

One expected major release that had higher expectations was Warner Bros.’ latest edition of its “Mad Max” franchise, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” which posted a suboptimal $32 million over the four-day holiday period. Movie executives were expecting closer to $50 million.

Sony Pictures' “The Garfield Movie” took in $31.1 million at the box office, virtually tied with “Furiosa.”

Sony seemed to get much more for its money initially, as “Garfield" was less expensive to produce and market. Production expense for “Furiosa” has been estimated at $168 million, and for “Garfield” at $60 million, according to reports. 



National TV advertising comparisons of the two movies were also lopsided: TV spending on “Furiosa” was $21.1 million (7,150 airings, 3.0 billion impressions) up to its opening weekend, while “Garfield” came in at $6.5 million (1,010 airings, 861.3 million impressions), according to EDO Ad EnGage.

The results for “Garfield" were relatively in line with expectations -- $30 million to $35 million.

These disappointing results on the first opening weekend of the important summer moviegoing season have some movie analysts concerned. The expectation was that 2024 would continue to build on the film business’ recent recovery over the last few seasons after the hard-hit pandemic years of 2020, 2021, and early 2022.

Through almost five months of 2024, the U.S./Canada box office is down 22% to $2.59 billion (versus the same period in 2023) and crushingly 41% lower than the pre-pandemic 2019 year, according to Comscore. 

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