The Memorial Day Box Office Bloodbath

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga movie george miller
The month’s alleged biggies were a medley of old-school B-level programmers and comparatively questionable franchise plays, like Warner Bros.’ Furiosa and Sony’s Garfield. Photo: Jeremychanphotography/Getty Images
Scott Mendelson
May 28, 2024

Alas, whether it’s ultimately Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga or The Garfield Movie, this year’s winner of the Memorial Day weekend box office will ignominiously gross the lowest amount since Casper, which earned just $22 million in May of 1995. (That’s around $55 million today when adjusted for inflation.) Both films are looking at between $31 million and $32 million for the long weekend, pending final Monday grosses. Looking at realistic comps for tentpole or kid-targeted Memorial Day openers, both films will likely end up with far less total in North America than The Little Mermaid earned ($118 million) in its opening weekend.

This is all part of an ugly micro-trend: With only a couple of weekdays remaining, May releases are currently hovering at around $375 million in theatrical revenue and a likely all-in total approaching between $550 million and $575 million for the films released this month. Quality notwithstanding, the films were historically unappealing to general moviegoers. In particular, the month’s alleged biggies were a medley of old-school B-level programmers (The Fall Guy and If) and comparatively questionable franchise plays, like Warner Bros.’ Furiosa and Sony’s Garfield. Even the Wes Ball-directed Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will end up performing closer to War for the Planet of the Apes ($147 million domestic in 2017) than Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ($210 million in 2014). We haven’t seen such a poorly performing May slate since 1995, barring the ’20 and ’21 plague years.