Warner Bros./New Line Cinema keep on finding box office success by releasing low-budget horror fare produced by James Wan. The newest example of this trend was The Curse of La Llorona, which opened to a great $26.5 million, up 25% from the opening of Lights Out and nearly double its $15 million budget. Taking a well-known mythological figure like La Llorona and filtering it through the style of horror popularized by those Conjuring movies sounded like a can’t-miss proposition on paper and the strong marketing campaign from Warner Bros./New Line Cinema ensured that it would fulfill its potential. Even if this one ends up being frontloaded, it’s hard to imagine it closing its domestic run under $60 million, four times its budget. Chalk up another success for a James Wan produced horror film.
In second place we find another Warner Bros./New Line Cinema feature, Shazam! Dipping only 29% this frame, Shazam! took in another $17.1 million and has now grossed a fantastic $121 million. Avengers: Endgame will likely impact this one’s domestic box office performance next weekend but Shazam! is ensured a domestic box office haul north of $150 million, a strong haul for this $100 million budgeted feature.
The first 20th Century Fox title distributed by Disney dropped this weekend and that historic honor went to Breakthrough, a Christian drama that opened to $11.1 million over the three-day weekend and $14.6 million over its first five days of release. That’s beneath opening weekend grosses of Heaven is For Real and Miracles from Heaven, which must be a tad disappointing given how much promotion Breakthrough received, but the title cost only $14 million to make, so it’s hard to gripe at this opening figure.
Before the arrival of Avengers: Endgame on Friday, Captain Marvel crossed the $400 million mark domestically thanks to an amazing 5% increase from last weekend, bringing it up to a seventh-weekend haul of $9.1 million and a domestic box office gross of $400.02 million. Little rounded out the top five with a 45% drop for a second-weekend gross of $8.4 million for a $29.3 million domestic gross. Dumbo was yet another family-friendly title that held well this frame as it dipped just 27% to add $6.8 million to a domestic gross of $101.2 million. Missing Link had a similar 26% drop this weekend, a much better than usual second-weekend hold for a LAIKA release. However, last weekend’s launch was so poor that this kind of second-weekend hold doesn’t help its domestic box office performance all that much. Grossing another $4.3 million this weekend, Missing Link has now taken in $12.9 million domestically.
Pet Sematary isn’t holding on all that well but it isn’t exactly plummetting week-to-week either. Dropping 50% this weekend, this horror feature dug up another $4.8 million for a $49.5 million domestic total. A horror title that held far better this weekend was Us, which dipped 37% for a fifth-weekend gross of $4.2 million and a domestic gross of $170.4 million. After a mighty underwhelming opening weekend, Hellboy fell a whopping 67% for a second-weekend haul of just $3.8 million. After ten days of domestic release, Hellboy has only amassed $19.6 million. Also in its second weekend was After, which dropped 58% to add $2.5 million to a domestic haul of $10 million.
After a two-year hiatus, DisneyNature returned with a new nature documentary this weekend, Penguins. Unfortunately, few people actually showed up for it as it grossed only $2.3 million over its three-day opening weekend and $3.2 million over its first five days of release. For comparison’s sake, the previous worst three-day opening weekend for a DisneyNature film was the $4.5 million bow of Monkey Kingdom. Among 21st-century movies released by Disney in wide release, only four films had worse bows than Penguins; the $2.2 million bow of Just Visiting, the $2 million debut of Bubble Boy, the $1.6 million debut of The Fifth Estate and the $837,216 bow of X Games 3D: The Movie. Clearly, this is a dismal opening for Penguins and one has to wonder if Disney will even continue the DisneyNature in the future.
Kalank debuted in 320 locations this weekend and grossed $1.2 million for a per-theater average of $3,916. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World re-expanded its theater count this weekend, bringing it back into 1,062 locations and grossed another $835,000 for a per-theater average of $786 and a domestic total of $159.1 million. Unplanned fell 63% over the weekend, grossing another $650,000 for a domestic total of $17.2 million. In its third weekend, The Best of Enemies fell 69% for a third-weekend haul of $610,000 for a domestic gross of just $9.5 million. I do not know why NEON didn’t expand Amazing Grace into more locations this weekend to cash in on Easter weekend, but whatever, this documentary continued its limited release run this weekend as it grossed $591,000 from 188 locations for a per-theater average of $3,147 for a domestic total of $1.3 million.
Amazing Grace’s decent numbers were the exception, not the rule, for this weekend which turned out to be a rough one for limited releases. The Claire Denis feature High Life expanded into 146 locations and grossed only $292,000 for a $2,000 per theater average. High Life’s domestic gross is currently at $688,000 and it’s doubtful it goes much higher. Teen Spirit expanded into wide release this weekend, specifically into 696 locations, making it only the thirteenth movie from Bleecker Street ever to get a wide release. Such an expansion resulted in a dismal opening weekend as it grossed only $250,000 for a disastrous $360 per-theater average. That’s the twelfth worst opening weekend ever for a wide release and when one exempts Fathom Events releases, it’s the sixth worst wide release opening weekend ever. Having grossed only $304,000 to date, Teen Spirit will not be clearing $1 million domestically. Interestingly, Elle Fanning hasn’t appeared in a live-action film that’s cleared $11 million domestically since Maleficent in May 2014. I suppose Maleficent: Mistress of Evil will finally break that streak come October.
Her Smell expanded into 24 locations and grossed $68,736 for a per-theater average of $2,864 and a domestic gross of $117,577 while Wild Nights with Emily grossed $67,762 from 33 locations for a per-theater average of $2,053 and a domestic gross of $106,551. Little Woods proved to be another example of how NEON can only properly released documentaries as the acclaimed feature got off to only a $66,000 start at 33 locations for a per-theater average of $2,000. Moving onto another limited release newcomer, Red Joan grossed $40,631 from 4 locations for a per-theater average of $10,158. Weirdly, despite getting delayed constantly for ten straight months and getting dumped this weekend with little fanfare, Under the Silver Lake had an alright opening weekend of $40,157 from 2 locations for a per-theater average of $20,079, a much better than usual domestic debut for a title doing a simultaneous theatrical and video-on-demand release.
Peterloo grossed $38,065 this weekend from 92 locations for a disastrous per-theater average of only $414 and a domestic total of only $117,936. Thirteen months after its SXSW premiere, Fast Color debuted in 25 locations this weekend and grossed only $37,500 for a $1,500 per-theater average. Mary Magdalene fell 24% from its opening weekend this frame as it took in another $35,382 from 38 locations for a per-theater average of $931 and a domestic total of $114,280. Hail, Satan? opened to $25,700 from 3 locations for a per-theater average of $8,567 while Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache opened to $3,801 from a single location
The top 12 movies this weekend grossed a total of $101.5 million, making this one of the weaker Easter weekend frames in recent memory. A whole bunch of life will be injected back into the domestic box office marketplace by Avengers: Endgame next weekend.