‘Doctor Strange 2’ returns to lead the box office, ‘Firestarter’ flops

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is once again the number 1 movie at the domestic box office.

In its second weekend of release, the latest installment in Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe has grossed $61 million from 4,534 theaters in North America. Ticket sales plummeted 67% from its opening weekend, marking a steeper drop compared to recent Marvel movies like “Eternals” (down 61% in its second weekend) and “Shang-Chi.” and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (down 52% in its second weekend). However, its considerable decline is not surprising given that “Doctor Strange 2” is coming off the 11th biggest opening weekend in history with $187 million. After 10 days on the big screen, the superhero adventure, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme, has grossed $291 million in North America.

At the international box office, the sequel to “Strange” took in $83.5 million from 49 markets. In total, the film has grossed $688.1 million worldwide. It took less than two weeks for “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” to overtake its predecessor at the box office. The original “Doctor Strange” finished its theatrical run in 2016 with $232 million domestically and $677 million worldwide.

When Disney releases a Marvel movie in theaters, rival studios tend to avoid releasing new movies, or risk getting squashed in their wake. Over the weekend, two movies were released across the country to disappointing results. Universal’s haunting remake of Stephen King’s “Firestarter” flopped with $3.8 million from 2,412 screens while simultaneously landing on Peacock; and the Roadside Attractions faith-based comedy “Family Camp” brought in a measly $1.4 million from 854 locations. None of those movies were particularly expensive to produce, so making them turn a profit might not be a nightmare, but it’s certainly not the kind of currency studios expect to make when they put a new movie in theaters across the country.

Directed by Keith Thomas, “Firestarter” suffered from negative reviews and poor word of mouth. The film, about a girl with extraordinary pyrokinetic powers, earned a 12% on Rotten Tomatoes and a “C-” CinemaScore from moviegoers. That sentiment suggests that the few people who saw the film over the weekend won’t be rushing home to tell their friends to see it in theaters. The only aspect of “Firestarter” that seemed to get people talking was the surprise that “High School Musical” heartthrob Zac Efron was officially old enough to play a father on the big screen. And yet, that alone wasn’t intriguing enough to draw an audience to their local multiplex. “Firestarter” was so poorly received that The Daily Beast even recommended that Efron “needs to call his agent.” Immediately.”

Blumhouse, the company behind “Get Out” and “The Purge,” produced “Firestarter,” which also flopped overseas. The film earned just $2 million from 40 international markets, bringing its worldwide tally to $5.9 million.

How bad were the inaugural domestic returns for “Firestarter”? To put them in perspective, the original 1984 movie, starring Drew Barrymore, got off to a bigger start: not adjusted for inflation, grossing $4.7 million from 1,356 theaters. The latest “Firestarter” may get a boost on Peacock, the streaming service owned by NBCUniversal, but the company didn’t provide streaming viewership metrics.

David A. Gross, who runs the film consultancy Franchise Entertainment Research, believes that ticket sales have stalled because the film is now available at home.

“’Firestarter’ has a lot of production pedigree; Blumhouse and Stephen King are consistent hit makers,” says Gross. But, he adds, “having the movie available to stream at the same time it’s in theaters reinforces that this isn’t big-screen, can’t-miss entertainment.”

At the domestic box office, “Firestarter” came in fourth place behind holdover titles “The Bad Guys” and “Sonic the Hedgehog 2.”

Animated heist comedy “The Bad Guys” held on to second place with $6.9 million from 3,788 North American theaters. After four weeks of release, the family film has grossed $66.2 million domestically and $165 million worldwide. For Universal, “The Bad Guys” has been a boon to a bumpy start to 2022. The studio’s recent releases like Michael Bay’s heist thriller “Ambulance,” globetrotting adventure “The 355” and romantic drama “ Redeeming Love,” hasn’t made a dent in theaters. However, Universal’s fortunes should change in the coming months with “Jurassic World Dominion,” supernatural horror movie “The Black Phone,” and “Despicable Me” prequel “Minions: The Rise of Gru” on schedule.

Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” took the No. 3 spot, grossing $4.5 million from 3,116 screens in its sixth weekend in theaters. To date, the “Sonic” follow-up has generated an impressive $175 million in North America.

In fifth place, A24’s genre-hopping “Everything Everywhere All at Once” continues to dazzle in its eighth weekend of release. Buoyed by stellar word of mouth, the film racked up $3.3 million from 1,726 theaters between Friday and Sunday, a meager 6% decline from last weekend. “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” a multiversal adventure starring Michelle Yeoh, has earned $47.1 million from its theatrical run. At this rate, it’s close to dethroning Adam Sandler’s “Uncut Gems” ($50 million) as A24’s highest-grossing film in North America.

Paramount’s adventurous romantic comedy “The Lost City” is also aiming for an impressive milestone, approaching the coveted $100 million mark at the domestic box office. The film, which stars Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, brought in $1.7 million in its eighth weekend in theaters, taking its North American tally to $97.15 million.

“The Lost City” was ranked No. 8 over newcomer “Family Camp,” which was ranked No. 9. Brian Cates directed the PG “Family Camp,” a fun faith-based movie about two opposing clans who find themselves sharing a cabin in the woods. Roadside Attractions, the film’s distributor, noted that the film sold the most tickets in the Midwest and South.

On the independent scene, Neon opened “Pleasure,” an explicit drama about the adult film industry, on two screens, earning $17,274 over the weekend, which translates to $8,637 per location. Directed by Ninja Thyberg, the hit “Pleasure” takes a look at the Los Angeles porn industry through the lens of newcomer Bella Cherry (played by Sofia Kappel), who moves from a small town in Sweden to pursue his dreams of stardom.

Another special release, the Bleecker Street Western drama “Montana Story,” reached four theaters and grossed $20,104, averaging $5,026 per screen. Haley Lu Richardson stars in the film, which centers on estranged siblings who return to their family’s ranch to care for their ailing father. variety Owen Gleiberman described “Montana Story” as a “well-acted story of familiar demons”.

Separately, IFC Films expanded director Audrey Diwan’s abortion drama “Happening” to 186 theaters, where it grossed $59,000 over the weekend. With a minuscule $312 theatrical average, “Happening,” an especially timely story that takes place while abortion is illegal in France, hasn’t kept up the momentum since it began rolling out on the platform last weekend. The film, which will continue to expand its national footprint, has grossed $100,303 to date.

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