Box office: ‘Argylle’ fails to give February a much-needed kick, opening with just $18 million

For the first time in weeks, there was a high-profile new studio movie with a plethora of stars and a known director, and yet it did very little to help a 2024 box office that’s been flailing. Read on for the weekend box office report.

For months, moviegoers had been subjected to trailers teasing the mystery identity of the title character of Matthew Vaughn‘s spy comedy “Argylle,” being released by Apple Studios through a distribution deal with Universal Pictures. That trailer and the film’s entire marketing plan was based around that mystery and its star-studded cast, which included Sam Rockwell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Henry Cavill, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, John Cena, Samuel L. Jackson, Ariana DeBose, and even pop singer Dua Lipa, many of whom have been all over the talk show circuit for weeks.

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Critics weren’t having any of it, based on its 35% on Rotten Tomatoes, and that was enough to crater any thoughts that the film’s starpower could overcome any negative reviews, as Universal released the movie into 3,605 locations with very little competition for screens. After making $1.75 million in Thursday and earlier previews, “Argylle” opened with just $6.5 million on Friday and ended up with an estimated $18 million for the weekend in North America, quite a bit lower than many expected.

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Maybe some (including me) assumed that “Argylle” might fare better with audiences vs. the critics, but its “C+” Cinemascore says otherwise, and it’s going to have a hard time maintaining its business based on word-of-mouth.

Vaughn’s movie also opened overseas where it added another $17.3 million with $2.6 million of that coming from the UK, $1.6 million from Australia, and other territories, for a global opening of $35.3 million.

Angel Studios decided to take a different approach with its release of Season 4 of the popular biblical series “The Chosen” only in theaters (at least for now) with Episodes 1 through 3 opening in 2,263 theaters on Thursday. After making $1.4 million its opening day, the drama is estimated to make $6 million for the weekend to take second place with $7.5 million including Thursday. It will continue in theaters at least until the release of the next three episodes on Feb. 15.

Further proof that this weekend’s new wide releases weren’t particularly strong, many of the returning movies in the Top 10 had a minuscule drop this weekend, some of them down less than 25% from last weekend.

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Jason Statham‘s action-thriller “The Beekeeper” took third place with $5.3 million in 3,277 locations, down 19% from last weekend, as it comes closer to approaching $50 million domestic.

Warner Bros’ musical prequel, “Wonka,” starring Timothée Chalamet, finally hit $200 million with another $4.8 million (estimated) this weekend to take fourth place, down 15% from last weekend with $201.2 million grossed since opening before Christmas. That also makes it the highest-grossing film domestically since the #Barbenheimer phenomenon last July. It’s also doing great overseas with another $370.6 million, $10.4 million just this weekend – $5.6 million of that from its South Korean debut – and a global total of $571.7 million.

Universal’s animated “Migration” added another $4.1 million this weekend (down 16%) to take fifth place, for a North American total of $106.2 million.

Oddly, the introduction of new wide releases had the biggest impact on Paramount’s own musical “Mean Girls,” which dropped from first place all the way down to sixth with just $4 million (down 42%) to bring its own domestic total to $66.4 million.

The rom-com “Anyone But You” took seventh place with $3.5 million (down 24%) as it brought its own total to $76.3 million. It has passed the $150 million global mark, with another $13.5 million grossed overseas this weekend for an international total to $75.5 million.

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Cord Jefferson‘s Oscar-nominated dramedy “American Fiction,” starring Jeffrey Wright, added a few hundred more theaters and made $2.3 million this weekend to bring its total to $15 million.

Another Oscar nominee, Yorgos Lanthimos‘ “Poor Things,” starring Emma Stone, made another $2.1 million in 1,950 theaters this weekend to bring its North American total to $28.2 million. It has grossed another $40.1 million overseas for a global total of $68.3 million.

Jonathan Glazer‘s Oscar contender “The Zone of Interest” added another $1.1 million in 594 theaters this weekend, up slightly from last weekend, to bring its domestic total to $4.6 million.

Molly Manning Walker‘s festival fave “How to Have Sex” capitalized on that descriptive title to make $52,000 from just four locations in New York and L.A.

Most players had “Argylle” taking first place in this week’s box office prediction game, with fewer having it open with less than $25 million. Many had “Mean Girls” taking second place, and fourth and fifth place were all over the map, so we’ll have to see if any players get a perfect score this week. Thirty players went 6 for 6 in the Jan. 26 game, with “dean317” eking out a win with just 7,417 points.

This coming weekend has the Super Bowl on Sunday, so there’s only one new wide release in Focus Features’ horror-comedy “Lisa Frankenstein.” Check back on Wednesday for the weekend preview of how that might do against football … and Taylor Swift.

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