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THE LITTLE MERMAID opening | THE MACHINE opening | ABOUT MY FATHER opening | KANDAHAR opening | Where we are now | May 26 to 28, 2023 weekend
Opening weekend box office, charts and commentary
The current weekend: May 26 to 28, 2023
1) The Little Mermaid opening
- This is an outstanding opening and the industry’s second recent family hit following Super Mario. During the last dozen years, Disney has built live-action remakes into a powerhouse phenomenon. The weekend figure is above average for the genre, reviews are good, and audience scores are sensational.
There have been bigger remake openings (The Lion King $191.8m in July 2019, Beauty and the Beast $174.8m in March 2017); they were helped by bigger original films. The original Little Mermaid was released in 1989 and, by today’s standard, earned a modest $211m worldwide, with a smaller foreign footprint. Considering that legacy, these are especially good numbers:
The Little Mermaid was the first new Disney fairy tale produced by Jeff Katzenberg & Co. when they reinvented animation in the late '80s and '90s. This was the film that showed that Disney could tell the same quality classic stories it was known for, but hadn’t made in years. It was a breakthrough then, and it's standing the test of time now.
2) The Machine opening
- This is a soft opening for an action comedy. The film is based on a stand-up comedy routine by Bert Kreischer that went viral:
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3) About My Father opening
- This is a soft opening for an original comedy. Recently, Robert De Niro's The War with Grandpa opened to $3.6m during the pandemic lows, but then played for weeks to a 5.9x domestic multiple, with international markets contributing another half of business. This film will need that kind of staying power and international box office to recover its $29m cost:
4) Kandahar opening
- This is a weak opening for an action war film. These are big movies — the genre averages a $17.9m domestic opening — and Gerard Butler has a steady track-record as an action star. Kandahar is falling short of all that. The movie was not cheap to make at around $70m:
5) Where we are now
- May has been a good month. Having two family smashes in a row is a terrific development for the industry, and early estimates for Spider-Verse 2 next weekend are strong as well. We'll have complete May box office figures in one week, including pre-pandemic comparisons.