Ezra Miller stars as Barry Allen in Warner Bros.’ “Lightning.”
Warner Bros. Discovery
Moviegoers split the fortunes this Father’s Day weekend with a diverse lineup of new releases and enduring favorites.
Mixed results saw disappointing debuts from “The Flash” and “Elemental,” while “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” continued to attract ticket buyers.
Warner Bros.’ the latest superhero film grossed just $55 million in its first three-day weekend, a far cry from the $75 million to $85 million industry experts had expected. It also fell short of fellow DC debut “Black Adam” last October’s $67 million.
“‘The Flash’ is a victim of many factors that have stalled the hype of a once highly anticipated film,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com.
Robbins pointed at the ongoing controversy surrounding star Ezra Millera lack of consistency in the DC film franchise and an overly narrow marketing campaign that only targeted die-hard fans due to a lower-than-expected box office opening.
“Audiences have shown in recent months and post-‘Endgame’ years to be more selective about which comic book movies make dollars at the box office,” he said.
It wasn’t the only film that had a weak audience response over the weekend. Disney’s animation routine continued with the release of “Elemental,” which is expected to have the second-lowest opening of any wide-release Pixar film in the studio’s history. Estimates call for the film to debut at $29.5 million, just above the $29.1 million for “Toy Story,” the first-ever Pixar movie to open in theaters in 1995.
“[‘Elemental’s’] the middle debut is less surprising,” Robbins said, noting that Pixar is in the midst of a rebrand after a flurry of pandemic-era streaming releases.
Pixar also faces strong competition from rival animation studios. Universal Illumination and DreamWorks Animation arms have taken over the box office with hits like “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru.”
And then there is Sony “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” which has continued to attract audiences since its June 2 debut. The film grossed an estimated $27.8 million over the three-day span and has taken $489.3 million worldwide since its June 2 release.
“While there were no massive outperformances from new releases, this weekend was characterized by a huge number of films and a wide range of audience demographics that appealed to the multiplex,” said Paul Dergarabedian, chief media analyst at Comscore.
by Paramount “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” added another $20 million domestically, Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” took in $11.6 million and Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3” took in another $5 million .
The domestic box office is expected to account for just under $175 million over Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Father’s Day weekend. That’s up 5% from the same period in 2022 and up 28% from 2019, according to data from Comscore.
“Father’s Day weekend, while not boasting a record-breaking blockbuster, was a great one for theaters that saw their fortunes rise with an attractive lineup of films supporting a fantastic overall weekend,” Dergarabedian said.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.