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Box Office Meltdown: ‘Furiosa’ or ‘Garfield’ to Win Memorial Day With Worst No. 1 Opening in Three Decades

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The Memorial Day box office is no picnic this year

Based on Friday numbers, George Miller‘s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga or The Garfield Movie may only open to $31 million to $33 million from 4,035 theaters over the four-day holiday, the worst Memorial Day No. 1 opener since Casper debuted to $22.5 million nearly 30 years ago in 1995 (and that’s not adjusted for inflation). This stat excludes 2020, when theaters were closed during the pandemic.

The two films are in a closer-than-expected race, but most rival studios expect Warner Bros. to take the top spot with Furiosa ahead of Sony and Alcon’s Garfield movie. Neither film aced it with audiences, with each receiving a B+ CinemaScore. Furiosa grossed $10.2 million on Friday from 3,804 theaters, versus $8.4 million for Garfield from 4,035 locations. That’s a small gap considering the latter is a family film.

With no holdovers to contribute in a massive way to the Memorial Day picnic, overall revenue may only clock in at only $125 million, the lowest showing in two decades. That excludes 2020 and 2021, when the pandemic was still raging, though Paramount’s A Quiet Place sequel was able to open to $57.1 million over the holiday in 2021.

Furiosa, a prequel that sees Anya Taylor-Joy play a younger version of Charlize Theron’s character in the last film, had been expected to open to $40 million to $45 million for the four-day holiday but instead is the latest summer event pic to underperform in its launch (an exception is The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes). Mad Max: Fury Road started of with a three-day gross of $45.4 million.

Elsewhere, Angel Studios continues to try to emulate the stunning success of last summer’s Sound of Freedom, but so far hasn’t come close to doing so. This weekend, it is opening the faith-adjacent film Sight, which may only gross $4 million from 2,100 cinemas for the four days for a seventh-place finish.

Back in the top five, IF is holding firmly at No. 3 in its sophomore outing with an estimated four-day gross of $20.7 from 4,068 locations. The family pic’s estimated three-day gross of $16 million is down 53 percent, a decent hold considering it is competing with Garfield for families. That’s needed good news for Paramount, director John Krasinski and star Ryan Reynolds after a soft opening.

The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, playing in 3,550 theaters, looks to come in No. 4 with an estimated four-day gross of $15.5 million to $16 million for 20th Century and Disney.

And despite now being available to rent on premium VOD, The Fall Guy‘s estimated three-tally of $5.7 million marks a drop of just 32 percent. For the four days, the Ryan Gosling-Emily Blunt starrer is expected to round out the top five with $7.3 million from 2,955 locations.

May has been a brutal start to the summer season as the box office continues to suffer from marquee titles being pushed back because of last year’s labor strikes. Marvel Studios usually kicks off summer over the first weekend in may with a superhero tentpole, and this year it was going to be Deadpool & Wolverine. Marvel and Disney, however, had to push the film — which had to halt production because of the SAG-AFTRA strike — back by nearly three months to July 26.

May 25, 9:45 a.m.: A previous version of this story said it has been 40 years since a No. 1 Memorial Day movie opened up so low. THR regrets the error.

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