Despite another sizable drop of 49%, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS was still able to hold on to first place at the box office for a third consecutive weekend by taking in $31.6M. This performance comes one week after the most disappointing second week in Disney/Marvel history, when it dropped 65.5% from its opening weekend. That exceeded the 64.6% drop of BLACK WIDOW in its week two last July. DOCTOR STRANGE’s win this weekend was only possible due to a disappointing opening for DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA, which could only muster $16M.
The original DOWNTON ABBEY movie produced a solid opening weekend gross of $31M when it opened on 9/20/2019 in pre-pandemic days. The film based on the critically acclaimed PBS series went on to earn a very robust $97M. Amidst this year’s recovery in moviegoing, the 45+ segment is the demographic that has been slowest to return to theatres. This is the core audience for DOWNTON ABBEY’s pre-WWII story of the British aristocracy.
The original had an 84% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes compared with A NEW ERA’s 80% score. The comparative 52% performance of the sequel can only be due to the effect of 45+ moviegoers still holding back from a night out at the theatre. The period drama would have won the weekend if it performed close to the 2019 results.
The only other new wide release was A24’s MEN, which opened to $3.3M for a fifth-place finish. The horror, suspense thriller was directed by filmmaker Alex Garland, who had a track record of directing box office hits with EX MACHINA and ANNIHILATION and writing credits for 28 DAYS LATER. However, it appears that MEN failed to tap into the same audience. On the other hand, the indie distributor A24 continues to rack up solid results for EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, which earned another $3.1M this weekend, lifting its cume to a very satisfying $52.3M. We expect that EVERYTHING still has a few more weeks in the tank and will wind up earning approximately $55M for its total box office run when all is said and done.
With the rapid decline from DOCTOR STRANGE 2 and the less-than-stellar openings of DOWNTON ABBEY 2 and MEN, the total gross for all films for the weekend was $75.2M, only 51% of the same weekend in 2019, which saw JOHN WICK CHAPTER 3 open to $57M. It goes without saying that theatre owners are already looking at next week’s opening of TOP GUN: MAVERICK for a comeback in the momentum that has faded over the last two weeks.