Weekend Box Office: IF rallies to a decent start; The Strangers a surprise hit

While IF fell short of industry expectations, it rallied to a so-so start at the box office this weekend.

Last Updated on May 22, 2024

Weekend Box office

Yesterday, it looked like John Krasinski’s IF would fall wildly short of industry exceptions, with the film initially tracking for a $40 million opening. While the final $35 million start marks a significant shortfall, the weekend matinees have been stronger than expected for this poorly reviewed family film. It did about $5 million more this weekend than I predicted. Many will undoubtedly view this as a poor start for a pretty expensive ($110 million) studio film, but there’s reason to be optimistic that the movie will have legs. The film has scored a superb A CinemaScore rating, which means that even if critics (such as myself) hated it, paying audiences like it. The star-studded flick includes Ryan Reynolds and Krasinski himself in front of the camera, while Steve Carell, Phoebe Waller Bride, Emily Blunt and more play the voices of the titular IFs (imaginary friends). 

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes had a solid opening last weekend and slipped to second place with $26 million, marking a 55% week-to-week decline. This actually isn’t a bad hold, considering the movie’s middling B CinemaScore rating. With $101 million at the box office so far, it will likely come down to the international box office as to whether or not this franchise continues. I think the domestic number is strong enough that some follow-up is guaranteed, although Disney/20th Century Studios will likely keep the budget in check if it doesn’t at least pass $500 million internationally. 

Strangers Chapter 1

Meanwhile, The Strangers: Chapter 1, which is the first in Renny Harlin’s already-shot trilogy of low-budget horror flicks (rebooting the 2008 cult classic) over-indexed at the box office, making a strong $12 million for its opening weekend. With a budget in the $8 million range, the distributor, Lionsgate, is likely over the moon about the opening. The only caveat is that reviews have been poor (although our own Tyler Nichols vigorously defended it in his most recent livestream), and the CinemaScore rating (C) is nothing to write home about either. Nevertheless, the film will turn a nice profit for the studio and bodes well for the next two films. Will we see Chapter 2 before the summer is out?

Universal’s The Fall Guy also struggled to find an audience this weekend, only earning a middling $8.45 million for a $63 million domestic total. Rumor has it that the studio is dumping this movie on VOD on Tuesday, meaning it will likely struggle to reach an $80 million total at the box office, making it a serious money-loser for the studio, which is a drag as it’s a good flick. Amazon-MGM’s Challengers, which just hit VOD, made just under $3 million this weekend, with it likely to finish its theatrical run just shy of a $50 million total. The movie is destined for a Prime Video release pretty soon, so I expect the solid theatrical gross to propel it to huge streaming numbers for the service.

back to black

Focus Features, which has been struggling at the domestic box office this year, had another flop this weekend, with their Amy Winehouse biopic Back To Black only earning $2.85 million. The reviews have been mixed at best, but the studio does have the star-studded Jeff Nichols film, The Bikeriders, coming out in a few weeks.

The low-budget horror flick Tarot added another $2 million this weekend, passing the $15 million mark. Not bad for a movie that’s earned some of the worst reviews for a mainstream horror movie in recent memory. This spring’s big hit, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, made $1.71 million in 8th place, coming closer and closer to passing the $200 million mark (now at $194 million). The IMAX/ AMAZON event doc, The Blue Angels, made a decent $1.31 million this weekend. The aviation documentary debuts on Prime Video this Thursday (just in time for Memorial Day).  Finally, the faith-based biopic Unsung Hero made just over $1 million, with a $19 million domestic total. While that’s not bad, it’s falling way short of what the studio’s previous faith-based hit, Jesus Revolution, made last year (it totalled about $50 million).

Next weekend sees some serious competition for IF, with Furiosa aiming for first place. Meanwhile, the animated Garfield movie should have family audiences wrapped around its orange paw over Memorial Day weekend. Do you think either movie will be the big hit Hollywood needs in a year when most movies have fallen short at the box office? Let us know in the comments!

1 IF $35 M $35 M
2 Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes $26 M $101.24 M
3 The Strangers: Chapter 1 $12 M $12 M
4 The Fall Guy $8.45 M $62.98 M
5 Challengers $2.94 M $43.5 M
6 Back To Black $2.85 M $2.85 M
7 Tarot $2 M $15.43 M
8 Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire $1.71 M $194.4 M
9 The Blue Angels $1.31 M $1.31 M
10 Unsung Hero $1.09 M $19.07 M

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.