Box Office: ‘DC League of Super Pets’ Debuts to No. 1 With $23 million

“DC League of Super-Pets,” an animated adventure about the four-legged friends of legendary superheroes, opened in first place at the domestic box office with $23 million from 4,313 theaters.

Though the Warner Bros. movie sold enough tickets to dethrone Jordan Peele’s “Nope” on North American charts, it’s a mediocre start given the film’s $90 million price tag. Sure, the Legion of Super-Pets aren’t as recognizable as Superman, Aquaman or its other Justice League owners, but “DC League of Super-Pets” could have resonated with audiences a little more given its affiliation with DC Comics and its high -wattage voice cast in Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart.

“DC League of Super-Pets” did not make up much ground at the international box office, where it launched to $18.4 million from 63 markets. In total, the film has grossed $41.4 million globally.

In pandemic times, “DC League of Super-Pets” is yet another kid-friendly film that has struggled to wow in its box office debut. Movies aimed at parents with young kids have been a mixed bag, which is concerning because family audiences were always a reliable source of revenue before the COVID-19 pandemic.

In terms of opening weekend revenues, “DC League of Super-Pets” arrived behind Pixar’s “Lightyear,” which debuted to $51 million, and Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” which opened to a strong $107 million. But its start falls in line with other pandemic-era family films like “The Bad Guys” ($23.9 million), “Sing 2” ($22.3 million) and Disney’s “Encanto” ($27 million). Still, it’s hard to imagine “DC League of Super-Pets” has anyone at Warner Bros. pouring a celebratory glass of bubbly; This time last year, the studio’s “Space Jam: A New Legacy” opened to $31 million while playing simultaneously on HBO Max.

It helps that in addition to positive reception from ticket buyers (it landed on “A-” CinemaScore), “DC League of Super-Pets” doesn’t have much competition on the horizon. It has a clear runway until Sony’s “Lyle Lyle Crocodile” opens on Oct. 7. Warner Bros. expects “DC League of Super-Pets” to enjoy a long life in theaters before it reaches new audiences (and perhaps some repeat customers) on HBO Max.

“This is a moderate opening by animation series standards,” said David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “Recently, several animation movies have extended their runs to six weeks, generating healthy domestic multiples.”

Although several animated movies have started slower than their respective studios may have liked, many have shown a lot of endurance at the box office, as Gross notes. For example, “The Bad Guys” and “Encanto” each ended their theatrical runs with $96 million in North America. And “Sing 2” had especially long legs, tapping out with $162 million.

This weekend’s other new nationwide release, BJ Novak’s true-crime inspired dark comedy “Vengeance,” barely cracked the top 10. The R-rated Focus Features film opened in line with expectations, pulling in a lackluster $1.75 million from 998 theaters.

The well-reviewed “Vengeance” mostly appealed to male audiences (men accounted for 55% of ticket buyers). The film earned a “B+” CinemaScore. Novak, who also wrote the screenplay, portrays a New York City-based journalist and podcaster who travels to Texas to investigate the death of a girl he was only casually dating.

Despite the so-so start for “DC League of Super-Pets,” last weekend’s champion “Nope” slid to second place with $18.5 million from 3,807 venues, a 58% decline. So far, the UFO thriller — starring Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer — has generated $80.5 million in North America. “Nope” hasn’t opened yet at the international box office.

Disney’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” took the No. 3 spot with $13.1 million from 3,650 locations in its fourth weekend in theaters. Those ticket sales push the Marvel adventure past $300 million at the domestic box office, with its current tally at $301 million. Internationally, the fourth “Thor” movie has grossed $361 million, which brings its global total to $662 million.

“Minions: The Rise of Gru” landed in fourth place with $10.8 million from 3,578 cinemas and, despite opening in theaters five weeks ago, likely took some business away from “DC League of Super-Pets” in the process. The latest “Despicable Me” spinoff has been one of the few kid-friendly success stories at the pandemic box office, with ticket sales at $320 million in North America and $710 million worldwide.

Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick” rounded out the top five with $8.2 million in its 10th weekend of release. After two months on the big screen, Tom Cruise’s blockbuster sequel has grossed $650 million at the domestic box office while managing to stay in the top five on weekend charts since Memorial Day weekend.

Sometime soon, “Maverick” will surpass “Titanic” ($659 million) and “Jurassic World” ($653 million) to become the seventh-highest grossing movie in domestic box office history. With another $671 million from overseas audiences, “Top Gun: Maverick” has collected a mammoth $1.3 billion to date.

In sixth and seventh place, Sony’s “Where the Crawdads Sing” ($7.5 million from 3,526 locations in its third weekend, $53.5 million to date) and Baz Luhrmann’s musical biopic “Elvis” ($5.8 million from 2,901 locations in its sixth weekend, $129 million to date) have been quietly chugging along in theatres. Both represent counter-programming wins during summer blockbuster season.

Elsewhere, A24’s multiverse adventure “Everything Everywhere All at Once” has cleared a major box office milestone, crossing $100 million in global ticket sales. It’s the first A24 movie to hit that box office benchmark. The film, which was re-released in domestic theaters over the weekend, has become a sleeper hit, earning $68.9 million in the United States and another $31.1 million internationally.

At the specialty box office, Lena Dunham’s polarizing coming-of-age story “Sharp Stick” brought in $18,000 from two theaters — translating to $9,000 per location. Dunham wrote and directed the movie, which centers on a 26-year-old woman who is socially and sexually stunted after undergoing a hysterectomy as a teenager. Utopia is releasing the film, which expands nationwide starting on Aug. 5.

Another indie title, IFC Films and Shudder’s “Resurrection,” took in $92,700 from 97 locations — averaging $955 per theater. “Resurrection” will launch on video-on-demand on Friday, Aug. 5 and will continue to play in theaters through the summer.

Written and directed by Andrew Semans, the psychological thriller stars Rebecca Hall as a woman whose carefully constructed life gets upended when an unwelcome shadow from her past returns. The movie premiered at Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews, with most of the praise directed at Hall’s performance. In Vulture’s review, critic Bilge Ebiri warns: “Good luck sleeping after seeing ‘Resurrection.”

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