Nic Cage as Nick Cage and Robert Eggers’ The Northman were no match for family-friendly fare, which dominated the weekend of April 22-24, 2022.

Families. Not of the Fast & Furious sort, but the kind with children who love the experience of going to the movies are demonstrating that love again. For three weekends in a row, family films have taken center stage, with a new one topping the box office each week. The numbers are pretty encouraging for theaters, even if they are not going to get another kid-friendly or animated release for a whole eight weeks, when Pixar’s Lightyear opens. We may even see two of these family films still hanging around the top 10 that very weekend. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore will definitely not be one of them, though.

King of the Crop: The Bad Guys Continues Winning Streak for Family Films

Image from The Bad Guys (2022)
(Photo by Universal Pictures)

The Bad Guys came out stronger than expected this weekend — not huge, but certainly enough to take the No. 1 slot with $24 million. Rio numbers they are not, but a little less than double what Home on the Range and Smurfs: The Lost Village opened to in the month of April. Those were both years ago, and it is more interesting to look at the last few weeks when Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Dumbledore, and now this animated title have gone No. 1, No. 1-2, and No. 1-2-3. That came from $72.1 million spent on Sonic 2 in its first weekend, $71.4 million spent between that and Dumbledore last week, and now another $53.2 million between the three this weekend. Taking Fantastic Beasts out of the equation for the moment, consider that the top two grossing “PG” films released last year were Sing 2 and Encanto, which collectively earned $258.6 million over a combined span of 21 weeks. In three weeks, Sonic 2 and The Bad Guys have made over $170 million.

Universal’s The Bad Guys should certainly see that runway to Lightyear lit up with positivity. Audience response to the film appears to be in good standing at the moment, and critics have embraced it with a Certified Fresh 85% on the Tomatometer. Among animated films that have opened between $22-27 million, only three of them (TMNT, Monster House, and Captain Underpants) finished with less than $80 million and only one of them (the turtle film) failed to gross less than three times its opening weekend. If that trend continues and Sonic continues along its pace, that duo will likely outgross that Sing 2/Encanto combo from last year. This is exactly the direction theaters want to see, and they are hoping studios will have more films like Minions: The Rise of Gru and DC’s League of Super Pets movie coming down the pike.

The Top 10 and Beyond: The Northman and Massive Talent No Match for Sonic and Dumbledore

Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog in Sonic the Hedgehog 2
(Photo by ©Paramount Pictures)

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 did what it could not do last week in beating Fantastic Beasts, though it did fall another 48% down to $15.2 million and is headed for somewhere close to $180 million. The Secrets of Dumbledore will not be as fortunate, as it fell 66% in its second frame, dropping to $14 million. The best thing one can say about that is that it isn’t quite as bad as Morbius, and overall it still has nearly a $10 million lead over that film’s total in its first 10 days. Bad news does prevail, though, as it is about to become just the seventh film in history to gross over $65 million in its first 10 days and fail to reach $100 million. (Those films were Oblivion, Sausage Party, Paranormal Activity 2, Scary Movie 4, Sex and the City 2, and last year’s Halloween Kills.) Dumbledore also had the second lowest-grossing weekend of that batch behind only Sex and the City 2’s $14 million. Morbius, meanwhile, fell to just $2.3 million in its fourth weekend and is headed for a final gross between $72-75 million.

Two other new films entered the marketplace this weekend. Focus would seemingly have a little success story on their hand with Robert Eggers’ The Northman, which grossed $12 million. That is more than any film released by the specialty division has grossed since Harriet in 2019. None of their films released since then have reached $11 million, so congratulations there. However, with a $90 million price tag on the film from the director of The Witch and The Lighthouse (which grossed just over $36 million combined), whoever is holding those receipts is unlikely to see a return on their investment. News is not great either for Lionsgate’s The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent with Nicolas Cage as Nick Cage. This is the actor’s first live-action release in over 1,000 theaters since 2011’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and it tallied up $7.2 million; less than Season of the Witch did in the same year, which went on to gross $24.8 million. Not good news indeed for the $30 million production. At least critics were in favor of both; Massive Talent is currently Certified Fresh at 88% on the Tomatometer, and The Northman is Certified Fresh at 89%, just slightly below Eggers’ previous two movies, which each scored 90%.

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All At Once

(Photo by David Bornfriend/©A24)

There are a pair of success stories in the top 10, though, beginning with A24’s release of Everything Everywhere All At Once. Adding another $5.4 million this weekend (after losing 87 theaters), the mere 12% drop has its total at $26.9 million, the sixth-highest-grossing film in the studio’s history. Before next weekend it will pass both Midsommar and Moonlight to become fourth. This weekend also marked the best third weekend of wide release that A24 has ever had, previously held by Hereditary ($3.6 million). Could Everything unseat Uncut Gems to become No. 1? Word of mouth must continue to drive it, because Gems had made $43.3 million after 31 days of limited and wide release on its way to just over $50 million. Could The Lost City get to twice that? After $4.4 million this weekend, it has moved up to $85.4 million, about $500,000 more than the Jackie Robinson film 42 had through 38 days. It also had a $4.58 million sixth weekend but only got to just over $95 million. For weeks we have projected it between $90-95 million, so this is a step in the right direction, but its odds are still very low.

Also in limited release, Celine Sciamma’s Petite Maman grossed $45,000 in four theaters. The $11,457 per-theater-average is the fifth best of 2022 behind Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Worst Person in the World, The Batman, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

On the Vine: Yet Another Liam Neeson Action Thriller

Liam Neeson in Memory (2022)
(Photo by Open Road Films)

Next weekend Liam Neeson is going solo in wide release with Memory, directed by Martin Campbell of James Bond and Zorro fame. Open Road Studios, which became Global Road in 2018 before switching back to Open Road in 2020, is hoping the film can at least outgross their last Neeson release, The Marksman, from January 2021. That film grossed $15.5 million while the pandemic was at a peak. This year’s release of Blacklight — yet another Neeson actioner — made $9.5 million. As both films opened to less than $4 million, the smart money is on another solid week for family pictures before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness kicks off the summer the week after.

Full List of Box Office Results: April 22-24, 2022

  • $24 million ($24 million total)
  • $15.2 million ($145.8 million total)
  • $14 million ($67.1 million total)
  • $12 million ($12 million total)
  • $7.18 million ($7.18 million total)
  • $5.4 million ($26.9 million total)
  • $4.4 million ($85.4 million total)
  • $3.3 million ($13.9 million total)
  • $2.25 million ($69.2 million total)
  • $1.8 million ($19.2 million total)

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]

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