This marks the lowest Easter weekend at the box office since 2003. In years past, studios have pounced on this period to roll out major tentpole pictures like ‘Batman V Superman’, ‘Furious 7’, ‘Fate of the Furious’, and last year’s ‘Ready Player One’. This year, however, the weekend after Easter sees the release of Marvel’s behemoth ‘Avengers: Endgame’. No studio wanted to release a major picture, knowing that in its sophomore frame, its ticket sales would plummet. This weekend will only account for $110.8 million. Easter weekend in 2003 took in $107.1M.
That allowed Warner Bros./New Line’s $9 million horror flick ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ to take the top spot. Earning $26.5M, it exceeded even its highest projections, which were in the $15-17M range. $2M came from IMAX screenings. In addition to its $9M production budget, it is believed that WB/NL spent $35-40M to market it. Reportedly, the film’s R-rating is a strong selling point to horror purists. (Many horror movies aim for PG-13 because the teen market is such a large demographic for them.) It is also tangentially connected to ‘The Conjuring’ franchise and was produced by James Wan, which lends it some clout. There’s also the fact that the film features so much holy iconography during the Easter period, further driving sales.
Another boost comes from ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ being inspired by a real folk legend that many of Latinx heritage are familiar with. That has driven it to be the #1 movie worldwide, earning a global take of $56.5M, with it performing extremely well in Latin American countries. It earned $1M from foreign IMAX tickets.
Audiences liked it okay, giving it a B- CinemaScore, but they only gave it 2½ stars out of five through PostTrak. Both ‘Annabelle’ movies earned solid Bs, while ‘The Nun’ only got a C, so this falls between those. As usual, critics didn’t care for this horror flick, with it scoring a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes.
‘Shazam!’ remains super strong, earning $17.3M in its third weekend, down only 29% week-over-week.
The other big new release is the faith-based ‘Breakthrough’, which earned $11.1M over the weekend. It actually opened on Wednesday, so its total haul at this point is $14.8M. ‘Breakthrough’s production budget is said to be $14M, so it’s already broken even there.
Faith-based movies are literally preaching to the choir, so it should come as no surprise that audiences gave it 4½ stars via PostTrak. It hasn’t done too badly with critics, ranking 64% on RT.
- The Curse of La Llorona (New Line/Warner Brothers) — $26.5M
- Shazam! (New Line/Warner Brothers) – $17.3M
- Breakthrough (Disney/Fox) — $11.1M
- Captain Marvel (Disney) — $9.1M
- Little (Universal) – $8.4M
As you can see, ‘Hellboy’ has fallen completely out of the Top Five in its second weekend, after a low $12M opening. In fact, earning just $3.8M, it plummeted to the #10 spot.
On the flip side, ‘Captain Marvel’ experienced a last minute surge to $9.1M after earning $8.6M last weekend, up 6%. Even though the picture is on its way out of theaters, it looks as though Marvel fans are checking it out again in anticipation of ‘Avengers: Endgame’. This carries its domestic haul past the $400M mark.
Speaking of that, next weekend is sure to be a record-breaker. It just remains to be seen how huge ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is. Some believe it could make an unprecedented $300M. Last year, ‘Infinity War’ opened to $257M, on its way to generating over $678M at the domestic box office. While most believe ‘Endgame’ will top that, we’ll find out for sure next week.
Check back to see how things go!