LOS ANGELES (Variety.com)
DC League of Super-Pets, an animated adventure about the four-legged friends of superheroes, opened in first place at the domestic box office with US$23 million from 4,313 theatres.
Though the Warner Bros movie sold enough tickets to dethrone Jordan Peele’s Nope on North American charts, it’s a mediocre start given the film’s US$90-million price tag. Sure, the Legion of Super-Pets aren’t as recognisable as Superman or Aquaman, but DC League of Super-Pets could have resonated with audiences a little more given its affiliation with DC Comics and its high-wattage voice cast in Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart.
In pandemic times, DC League of Super-Pets is yet another kid-friendly film that has struggled to wow in its box office debut. Movies aimed at family audiences have been a mixed bag as of late, which is concerning because it’s a demographic that has always been a reliable source of revenue. In terms of opening weekend revenues, DC League of Super-Pets arrived behind Pixar’s Lightyear, which debuted to US$51 million, and Universal’s Minions: The Rise of Gru, which opened to US$107 million. But its start falls in line with other pandemic-era family films like The Bad Guys (US$23.9 million), Sing 2 (US$22.3 million) and Disney’s Encanto (US$27 million).
However, DC League of Super-Pets doesn’t have much competition on the horizon, which could work to its advantage. It helps that audiences liked the film, which landed an ‘A-‘ CinemaScore.
“This is a moderate opening by animation series standards,” said David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research.
“Recently, several animation movies have extended their runs to six weeks, generating healthy domestic multiples.”
As Gross notes, although several animated movies have started slower, many have shown a lot of endurance at the box office. For example, The Bad Guys and Encanto each ended their theatrical runs with US$96 million in North America. And Sing 2 had especially long legs, tapping out with US$162 million.
This weekend’s other new nationwide release, B.J. Novak’s true-crime inspired dark comedy Vengeance, barely cracked the top 10. The R-rated film opened in line with expectations, pulling in a lackluster US$1.75 million from 998 theatres. Novak, who also wrote the screenplay, portrays a New York City-based journalist and podcaster who travels to Texas to investigate the death of a girl he was only casually dating. The well-reviewed Vengeance appealed to mostly male audiences (men accounted for 55 per cent of ticket buyers), who gave the film a ‘B+’ CinemaScore.
With DC League of Super-Pets easily winning the weekend, Nope slid to second place with US$18.5 million from 3,807 venues. So far, the UFO thriller – starring Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer – has generated US$80.5 million in North America. Nope hasn’t opened yet at the international box office.
Disney’s Thor: Love and Thunder took the No. 3 spot with US$13.1 million from 3,650 locations in its fourth weekend in theatres. Those ticket sales push the Marvel adventure past US$300 million at the domestic box office, with its current tally at US$301 million. Internationally, the fourth ‘Tho'” movie has grossed US$361 million, which brings its global tally to US$662 million.
Minions: The Rise of Gru landed in fourth place, bringing in US$10.8 million from 3,578 cinemas in its fifth outing. The latest ‘Despicable Me’ installment has been one of the few kid-friendly success stories at the pandemic box office, with ticket sales at US$320 million in North America and US$710 million worldwide.
Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick rounded out the top five with US$8.2 million in its 10th weekend of release. After two months on the big screen, Tom Cruise’s blockbuster has grossed US$650 million at the domestic box office and has managed to stay in the top five on weekend charts since Memorial Day weekend. Sometime soon, it’ll surpass Titanic (US$659 million) and Jurassic World (US$653 million) to become the seventh-highest grossing movie in domestic box office history.
Elsewhere, A24’s multiverse adventure Everything Everywhere All at Once has cleared a major box office milestone, crossing US$100 million in global ticket sales. It’s the first A24 movie to hit that box office benchmark. The film, which was re-released in domestic theatres over the weekend, has become a sleeper hit, earning US$68.9 million in the United States and another US$31.1 million internationally.