Weekend Box Office Preview: GARFIELD Poised to Overtake FURIOSA in Battle of the Holdovers

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Week 22 | May 31-June 2, 2024
Top 10 Range | Weekend 22, 2024: $55 – $85M
Top 10 Total | Weekend 22, 2023: $203,338,486

The 2024 early summer slump will continue with an expected decline this weekend. The three new releases slated for this weekend—Sony/Crunchyroll’s Haikyuu: The Dumpster Battle, Roadside Attractions’ Summer Camp, and Disney’s Young Woman and the Sea—are having a hard time securing enough showtimes with a limited number of screens at their disposal. That trio of titles follows a group of lackluster openers from the Memorial Day holiday weekend: Warner Bros.’ Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, Sony’s The Garfield Movie, and Angel Studios’ Sight.

All signs point to a significant year-over-year drop for this weekend. We expect the tide to begin turning in June, beginning with the one-two punch of Sony’s fourquel Bad Boys: Ride or Die and Disney/Pixar’s animated sequel Inside Out 2 over the first two frames of the month.

Boxoffice Pro Podium

Forecasting the Top 3 Movies at the Domestic Box Office | May 31-June 2, 2024

1. The Garfield Movie
Sony Pictures | Week 2
3-Day Range: $12 – $18M
The Boxoffice Company’s Showtimes Dashboard Marketshare: 15%

Pros

  • The biggest factor for taking this coming weekend is just how close the big orange cat came to rolling over Furiosa and her wasteland cohorts over Memorial Day. Both the 3-Day and 4-Day showed only a $0.9M difference between the two contenders, with Sony boldly declaring Garfield the 4-Day winner on Sunday before Warners proclaimed Furiosa the real winner in their Monday estimates the next day. That’s an easily surmountable lead, and Garfield can win this frame if families traveling over the holiday weekend last week decide to show support this time around.
  • For Garfield specifically, the low critical consensus (37% on Rotten Tomatoes) is likely not making much of a dent in its take, as family movies are generally bulletproof from critics. See Sony’s The Angry Birds Movie, which had a $38.1M opening on its way to $107.5M domestic in 2016… despite a 44% critics’ score. Even the modern relevance of the Garfield brand is not much of a handicap since the parents buying the tickets certainly remember the character from their childhood. Nostalgia could carry the day.

Cons

  • The biggest cons affecting both Garfield and Furiosa is the current perception that these films are disappointments based on their opening weekend takes. There’s also those “B+” CinemaScores which may have an impact for audiences on the bubble about whether or not to go to the movies at all this weekend. The Garfield Movie also has IF nipping at its heels, probably taking a larger bite of this quad than Sony expected. If it has an advantage over Furiosa, it’s probably a slim one, and it could come down to another photo finish. Expect this to be a nail-biter, possibly extending into Monday’s actuals.

2. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Warner Bros. | Week 2 | 3,700+ Locations
3-Day Range: $10 – $15M
The Boxoffice Company’s Showtimes Dashboard Marketshare: 13%

Pros

  • As stated, Furiosa will take the crown if it can use the critical reception (90% on RT) to leverage its Premium Large Format footprint (with higher ticket prices). An impressive 51% of opening weekend take on this title came from PLF, including 20% from 400+ IMAX locations alone, meaning audiences would rather spend the extra dollars to see this title with all the bells and whistles those PLF theaters provide. None of this weekend’s new releases will stake a claim on those PLF screens, giving Furiosa a second stab at weekend sales on higher ticket prices.
  • Many analysts have pointed out that the previous entry, 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, was not as much of a barnburner at the box office as we might remember based on the tremendous cultural footprint of that film. That entry opened to $45.4M on its way to $153,636,354 million domestic and $369,873,869 million global. However, what’s interesting about that movie’s performance is the hold it had, never posting a drop below -48% until its 19th and final week in general release, and even climbing into positive percentages during a few frames. Even though Furiosa is coming from a disadvantage compared to Fury Road, there’s still some hope that the film can leg it out in defiance of Chris Hemsworth’s character’s declaration, “There is no hope!” One aspect of this year’s box office that many aren’t pointing out is the lack of heavy competition has allowed titles like IF or Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes to have longer legs in the Top 10 than a normal year where everything is front-loaded to opening weekend with more massive releases in play. In that way, this year is looking a lot more like a 1980’s or 1990’s model where films tended to hang in longer. The one downside is the shorter theatrical windows before streaming, as when WB put Dune: Part Two on digital while still in the Top 5.

Cons

  • Again, the perception that Furiosa is a major underperformer looms large this weekend, with a Memorial Day take only slightly better than half the previous entry. Even though the market is in flux right now, there’s no question that both the studio and industry expected much better from this title. We have previously cited prequel fatigue, a change in the cast from Charlize Theron to the less-established Anya Taylor-Joy, and the general lack of Mad Max in what is billed as “A Mad Max Saga” as reasons for the performance we got. Sometimes rejiggered franchises just don’t work, as the recent The King’s Man (all-new cast, older setting), Independence Day: Resurgence (no Will Smith), or The Marvels (refocused on less established characters) showed.
  • While well-reviewed, the fact that this film is being perceived as “lesser than” Fury Road is bad news for a franchise this eccentric and historically modest performing. Criticism extends to the filmmaking itself, as Furiosa is slower-moving, talkier, and more complex/expansive than previous entries which had simpler throughlines and disregard for continuity. Besides the “B+” CinemaScore you also have more fan-generated ratings systems like iMDB (7.9/10) and Letterboxd (3.8/5), which compares less favorably to Fury Road (8.1 iMDB/4.18 Letterboxd). With a film like Furiosa, you need word-of-mouth momentum, and there is quantifiable evidence that the hype it needs just might not be there. In this day and age even a smidge of backlash can metastasize into full-on rejection.

3. IF
Paramount Pictures | Week 3
3-Day Range: $6 – $10M
The Boxoffice Company’s Showtimes Dashboard Marketshare: 11%

Pros

  • As with Garfield, the critical hit IF took (49% on RT) is having little noticible effect on its hold as it only dropped 52% in its second frame, with a high theater count aiding in that. We expect a potentially even smaller drop this weekend as the cute characters, savvy merchandising/tie-ins (IHOP, Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin Robbins, etc), and Ryan Reynolds crossover adult appeal help keep this one alive and in the Top 3 for another weekend. The film should have little trouble hanging on to third place, mostly due to lack of competition from other titles and a positive “A” CinemaScore, making this one surprisingly less divisive than Furiosa or Garfield as far as general audiences are concerned. The film had a 4-Day Memorial Day weekend gross of $22.3M for a $64.8M domestic cume, and still has two more frames before Inside Out 2 ushers it out of contention.

Cons

  • The Garfield Movie is eclipsing IF overseas, where the former has $66.3M while the latter has $39.9M. As of now, that puts the worldwide earnings on both titles around $100M, but that kind of appeal that reaches beyond language bodes better for Garfield‘s long-term performance globally, including in North America.

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