Box Office Preview: FURIOSA and GARFIELD Face Off on Memorial Day Weekend

Furiosa. Courtesy of Warner Bros.

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Week 21 | May 24-27, 2024
Top 10 3-Day Forecast: $125 – $150M
Top 10 4-Day Forecast: $150 – $180M

Two new releases from long-running franchises will compete in the coveted Memorial Day 4-Day holiday weekend box office contest this week. This year’s post-strike Memorial Day frame isn’t expected to challenge last year’s holiday weekend, when Disney delivered The Little Mermaid ($118.8M) as well as the third weekend of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ($26.8M), with Universal’s Fast X ($28.5M) between them.

Boxoffice Pro Podium

Forecasting the Top 3 Movies at the Domestic Box Office | May 24-27, 2024

1. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Warner Bros. | NEW | 3,700+ Locations
3-Day Opening Weekend Range: $40 – $50M
4-Day Opening Weekend Range: $45 – $55M
The Boxoffice Company’s Showtimes Dashboard Marketshare: 20%


  • The Mad Max franchise is almost as old as Star Wars, with filmmaker George Miller behind every entry in the franchise (though Beyond Thunderdome was a co-directing credit). It has inspired movies from The Terminator to Waterworld to the forthcoming Deadpool & Wolverine. The Furiosa reviews (currently 88% on Rotten Tomatoes) indicate that Miller has pulled off another winner with this fifth overall entry, and the market desperately needs an epic blockbuster of quality right now. However, this film leans heavily on characters and locales from the previous entry, Mad Max: Fury Road; Miller typically makes each film in this franchise as a standalone, which plays fast and loose with continuity. Like the recent clean slate sequel Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, this will be an advantage for younger audiences just hopping onto the Mad Max war party now.
  • Furiosa has the advantage of not facing a Marvel-style behemoth in her latest outing. Mad Max: Fury Road will primarily compete with the third weekend of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes over its opening weekend, a softer challenge than its 2015 predecessor’s opening against the third frame of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
  • Premium Large Format theaters (which will number at least 400) will be a determining factor here, as the “need-to-see” factor is much higher for that kind of big “only in a movie theater” experience on this title. The national PLF footprint has expanded dramatically since Fury Road‘s 2015 release and can help boost this title to the top of our forecast range. Fans want to get the most mileage out of this new trip through the wasteland, and a wider array of premium formats in the market should contribute around 40%+ of this film’s opening weekend haul.


  • Despite winning six technical Oscars and being nominated for Best Picture (a rarity for an action movie), Fury Road isn’t the blockbuster hit we all (mis)-remember it to be. In fact, the modern classic actually came in at #2 on its May 15, 2015 opening weekend behind Pitch Perfect 2, with Mad Max taking in $45.4M in a similar 3700 location count to Furiosa. That last movie brought in $153,636,354 million domestically and $369,873,869 million globally.
  • From those who saw Furiosa at junket screenings and at its Cannes debut, this movie seems to be playing to fans of the franchise, but a big message coming out of even positive notices is that Furiosa is no Fury Road. We’re unsure how audiences will receive Anya Taylor-Joy’s portrayal of a younger Furiosa, stepping in for Charlize Theron’s iconic portrayal in Fury Road. While Chris Hemsworth lends some marquee value, films he’s made outside the Thor character have been inconsistent performers. Will audiences be receptive to a Chris Hemsworth playing against type as the villain here? Overall, the Mad Max franchise is similar to Alien in that it is R-rated (except Thunderdome) with modest and positive performances in the market—but never known as a major tentpole over the years.

2. The Garfield Movie
Sony Pictures | NEW | 4,000 Locations
3-Day Opening Weekend Range: $35 – $45M
4-Day Opening Weekend Range: $45 – $50M
The Boxoffice Company’s Showtimes Dashboard Marketshare: 19%


  • If we go by pre-sales alone, The Garfield Movie would perform in the bottom half of our range. We expect a healthy amount of walkup business, however, which could make this an interesting competition for the top spot in the market.
  • Children will not be a factor going up against the R-rated Furiosa and you have the recipe for perfect Memorial Day counter-programming. Unlike last weekend’s top performer, IF, this family film has the power of an established IP behind it. A popular ongoing newspaper comic strip since launching in 1976, creator Jim Davis has been able to capitalize on the character of Garfield the obese cat with not only three animated series (a fourth on the way from Nickelodeon) and numerous TV specials, but also a merchandizing bonanza including the ubiquitous suction cup plushies which are actually parodied at one point in the new film.
  • The previous 2004 live-action/animation hybrid theatrical Garfield: The Movie (14% RT) starring Bill Murray as the voice of the eponymous feline took in a decent $75.3M domestic/$208M worldwide, while the 2006 sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (12% RT) stopped the franchise in its tracks with $28.4M domestic/$147.9M worldwide. With nearly two decades between theatrical features, this new all-animated flick can safely distance itself from its poorly-reviewed predecessors while still cashing in on parental nostalgia for Garfield, Odie, and Jon. Having Chris Pratt helming a press tour for the film doesn’t hurt either.


  • Competition from IF (with an “A” CinemaScore) could cannibalize Garfield‘s opening weekend impact, especially if the big orange cat doesn’t get the same word-of-mouth bump IF got on Saturday and Sunday of the last frame. Right now, the two rival family flicks are in a dead heat with their Rotten critical scores (47% Garfield/48% IF), and there’s obviously a big question about whether Garfield as an entity still has any relevance for the younger set. T
  • The most obvious comp would be 2017’s Smurfs: The Lost Village, which—like Garfield—was a Sony animated movie following two poorly-reviewed live-action/animated hybrid Smurfs films (2011/2013) which lost steam on the second entry. Lost Village had similar reviews (40% positive) to The Garfield Movie, and went on to gross $45M domestically and $152.5M internationally for a global cume of $197.5M.

3. IF
Paramount Pictures | Week 2
3-Day Weekend Range: $16 – $20M
4-Day Weekend Range: $20 – $25M
The Boxoffice Company’s Showtimes Dashboard Marketshare: 13%


  • Last weekend’s “A” CinemaScore helped IF pick up business on Saturday and Sunday, but can it sustain that momentum? The unexpectedly large 18-34 young adult demo (49%) turning out last frame could be a benefit, helping it compete against Garfield’s core demo of families. Of the two family movies, this one certainly has more grown-up appeal with its wistful/Pixar-like tone and Ryan Reynolds being his snarky self.


  • IF is losing 42% of its showtimes compared to its opening weekend, a steep drop as it faces heavy competition from new openers. Losing PLF screens will also hurt the title, with Furiosa claiming the premium spots nationwide—especially after 22% of last weekend’s debut grosses came from PLF screens.
  • Competing with an established IP like Garfield will likely take the wind out of IF‘s sails. Both films have equally-low critical ratings on RT, so neither can count on that being in their favor. A better showing in that arena could have made IF more competitive with the big orange cat. Expect a minimum -50% dropoff from its first frame, though the legs could still be there.

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Furiosa. Courtesy of Warner Bros.

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