‘Beast’ & ‘Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’ Look To Keep Box Office Afloat
After a top seven made up entirely of holdovers last weekend, the box office gets some new blood this weekend with the top spots likely to be held by Beast and Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, both of which could open in the double digits. These releases may not bring a boost to the overall box office, which dropped to $65.4 million last weekend, the lowest since February and worse than any pre-pandemic weekend since 2001. However, the two newcomers may be able to keep the numbers afloat after five weekends of decline, with the box office dropping by 28.9% last weekend.

Beast is the only studio outing this weekend, hailing from Universal just after the studio became the first since 2019 to gross over $3 billion within a year. This man vs. beast tale stars Idris Elba opposite a deadly lion in the African savanna, and it fuses thrills with family drama as it tells the story of a widowed father taking his daughters to their mother’s homeland after her death. The Baltasar Kormákur-directed film opens on 3,500 screens. A creature feature could do the trick in the current box office-climate, and horror films tend to do well in post-summer slots. Crawl makes for a good comp on this one, and that alligator-antagonist fist-clencher from 2019 opened to $12 million and went on to gross $39 million in domestic markets. Given Beast’s $36 million budget, that wouldn’t be great, but a solid international showing (as Crawl saw, taking in $52.5 million from abroad) could make up for it. The critical response is too early to tell with only five reviews in, but thus far 80% are positive.

While Beast should come ahead of all of the holdovers, it may fall behind Sony-owned Crunchyroll’s Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. The latest feature film in the long running anime franchise is the year’s widest anime release, getting a 3,940 theater launch including IMAX and other PLF formats. Its theatrical predecessor Dragon Ball Super: Broly had a smaller rollout with just 1,250 screens, but it still managed a $9.8 million opening and a finish of $30.7 million. Expectations are even bigger on Super Hero, though the film played worse than Broly in Japan, accumulating $18.1 million since its June release compared to Broly’s $34.6 million cume. The global cume on Broly was $115.7 million, and the large international rollout of Super Hero this weekend will tell us if the new release can match up. The film may only play to the faithful, but the reviews (95% on Rotten Tomatoes) indicate that fans should be satisfied. This is Crunchyroll’s second major domestic release this year, with Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie opening to $14.8 million in March and going on to gross $29.7 million.

Beyond the newcomers, nothing will gross above $10 million in the domestic box office, though there are still some numbers to watch. Top Gun: Maverick should toppleAvengers: Infinity War ($678.8 million) on Friday to become the sixth highest domestic grosser of all time. Also, Bodies Bodies Bodies expands from 1,290 to 2,000 screens, though its $3.25 million gross ($2,520 per theater average) last weekend doesn’t suggest that the audience will expand much with the screen count.

Notable in the international box office is the China release of Minions: The Rise Of Gru, making it the country’s first Hollywood import since Jurassic World Dominion. Despite being in the running to top Despicable Me 2 ($368 million) as the biggest domestic grosser in the Minions-verse (it is at $345 million as of Tuesday), the lack of a China release has put a large dent in the global numbers relative to previous titles. While the film has been underperforming earlier entries in many overseas markets and has little chance of seeing the $1.159 billion global cume of the first Minions (the best in the series), the China showing will give the film, currently at $792 million worldwide, a nice boost, and it could even get it to $1 billion. The Despicable Me/Minions films have done better each time out in China, with Despicable Me 3 grossing $158 million there. Rise of Gru also opens in Italy this week, completing its international rollout.