Box Office Already Hits Record Low, Bad Year Ahead?

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Even though winter has typically been a dumping ground for bad movies, Super Bowl weekend has historically brought decent box office returns. Last year, the big game’s box office total for the weekend was a cool $52.6 million, thanks mainly to Channing Tatum and crew shaking their groove to an $8.3 million debut for Magic Mike’s Last Dance. However, this Super Bowl weekend has only brought in $40 million, which is a 24 percent reduction from last year.

The Wrong Kind Of History

Interestingly, this is even a low box office by the standards of 2024 alone. We’re looking at the lowest box office weekend of 2024 so far, and that’s saying something, considering how bleak the movie selection was for most of January. To make matters worse, this weekend’s failure can be blamed largely on the failure of one film that everyone assumed would be a major smash.

Audiences Reject The Twisted Mind Of Matthew Vaughn

henry cavill

Originally, Argylle seemed like it would be a major box-office success with serious staying power. This Apple Original Film is directed by Matthew Vaughn, who brought us such action hits as Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, and Kingsman: The Secret Service. Throw in that his latest film has fan-favorite actor Henry Cavill in the title role, and it seemed this film would be a surefire smash.

Frankenstein is DOA

Sadly for Vaughn, Cavill, and audiences wanting good films, that wasn’t the case: after a disappointing opening weekend last weekend where it earned $18 million (against a $200 million budget), Argyll’s box office is down 62 percent this weekend. The more female-friendly counterprogramming film Lisa Frankenstein has also performed below expectations. Despite being written by Oscar winner Diablo Cody and aiming for the same audience as the 2019 film Booksmart, Lisa Frankenstein earned only $4 million during its three-day debut, which is notably less than the $6.9 million Booksmart earned despite showing in fewer theaters (2,505 compared to Lisa Frankenstein’s 3,143).

Low Budget Offsets Low Box Office

When it comes to the box office, Lisa Frankenstein hoped to lure in horror hounds thanks to its plot involving a girl falling in love with a dead person who conveniently returns to life. Like most horror movies, it didn’t exactly wow critics (it currently has an abysmal 49 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but its low box office is tempered by its low budget of only $13 million. In other words, Lisa Frankenstein contributed to this record-low weekend of theatrical earnings, but it won’t cost the studio nearly as much as Arygille when the smoke clears.

Jason Statham Keeps On Kicking

Rounding out the trio of top box office earners this weekend is the Jason Statham action vehicle The Beekeeper, and its own box office performance is something of an optical illusion. It earned only $3.4 million, but considering this is the movie’s fifth weekend, that’s a respectable haul. Also respectable is that its overall box office is $54.6 million, which means the movie has already earned more than most of Statham’s other hits, including Crank, The Expendables 3, and every single movie in the Transporter series.

A Painful Year For Movie Theaters

henry cavill

It’s still too early to do a proper post-mortem on what went wrong and why this Super Bowl weekend has had such an abysmal box office. It’s hard not to blame much of this on Argylle, a big-budget film everyone thought would soar thanks to Superman actor Henry Cavill. Unfortunately, we’re looking at an inversion of the original Superman’s tagline: after this weekend, you’ll believe a man can fall.