Box Office: ‘Crimes’ Opens Small As ‘Jurassic World 3’ Nabs $26 Million Overseas

Five years ago, Warner Bros. opened Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot’s acclaimed and buzzy Wonder Woman to a $103.5 million debut (and around $250 million worldwide) before it became the leggiest “opened on a Friday” $100 million opener ever with $412.5 million total. Ironically, the least leggy $100 million-plus opener is still Batman v Superman, but that’s a different conversation. While the post-Memorial Day weekend is risky (see also: Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows), so too is the post-Thanksgiving slot. That early December frame was, in 2003, home to Tom Cruise’s The Last Samurai. Up until this weekend, The Last Samurai ($111 million from a $24 million debut and $456 million worldwide) was Cruise’s third-biggest “not a Mission: Impossible movie or War of the Worlds” grosser.

The point is sometimes history is made on “offseason” weekends like early October (Gravity in 2013), Labor Day (Shang-Chi in 2021) or the post-Labor Day weekend (It in 2017). Since Hollywood is currently gun-shy in terms of theatrical releases, both due to Covid-era priorities and (more understandably) Covid-caused postproduction backlogs, there were zero (0.00) new biggies in domestic theatrical release. To be fair, being sandwiched between an unexpectedly massive Top Gun: Maverick and a likely-to-be-huge Jurassic World: Dominion doesn’t seem all that appetizing. But it’s hard to argue that one of the gazillion 20th Century studio programmers debuting on Hulu this summer (Fire Island, The Princess, The Valet, etc.) might not have made a counterprogramming dent in between the tentpoles, especially when we know that theatrical releases generally play better on streaming than streaming-only titles.

The one big newbie by default was Neon’s Crimes of the Future (which, by law, must be spoken like a character in a 1950’s Ed Wood sci-fi flick). The film is David Cronenberg’s return to body horror, a sub-genre he somewhat invented (or at least popularized to the point where his last name is shorthand for it), with a screenplay he wrote almost 25 years ago. The small-scale, intimate melodrama about people performing selective, transformative surgery as a skewed kind of performance art, stars Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux and, in a scene-stealing turn of unapologetic wit, Kristen Stewart. As expected for an arthouse horror flick from a critical darling filmmaker, Crimes of the Future has earned solid reviews (78% fresh and 6.4/10 via Rotten Tomatoes) but (so says the 51% verified user score on same) mediocre word of mouth.

If it were getting Cinemascore-polled, it would probably get an F+, which isn’t exactly a criticism. It’s not Cronenberg’s best film, and his return to the sandbox can’t help but be compared to both his earlier genre-defining classics and the generation or two of button-pushing filmmakers who followed in his footsteps. No matter, it’s bloody good fun for fans (and Stewart is a hoot) as well as those who know what they are getting into. It’ll already be available on PVOD in a few weeks, so its $490,000 Friday gross (in 773 theaters) and likely $1.2 million opening weekend feels par for the course. Those who want to press the flesh in theaters will get that opportunity for a week or two, and everyone else will catch it at home.

Meanwhile, IFC released Watcher into 764 theaters as essentially a mitzvah before its June 21 VOD premiere. The polished, colorful and refreshingly “big (relatively speaking considering its small-scale story) thriller concerns an American in Paris (Maika Monroe) who starts to suspect that she’s being stalked by a neighbor (Burn Gorman) and is Chloe Okuno’s feature directorial debut. It’s a solid film, offering a compelling examination of the whole “women have to live with a third eye in the back of their head” situation justifying the big-screen time and expense. That said, this is still an under-the-radar IFC horror movie, so a $300,000 Friday and a $710,000 weekend gross is business as usual. It’s a good movie and I hope Okuno gets more feature work from its artistic success.

Meanwhile, Universal released Jurassic World: Dominion into 15 overseas territories in advance of its global launch next week. The dino threequel (or, uh, six-quel?) scored a near-record $6 million opening day in South Korea and has thus far earned $11.6 million through Saturday ($3.2 million, +147% from Friday but facing competition from local actioner The Roundup). It earned $2.9 million in Mexico on Friday for an $8.1 million total and has thus far earned $25.9 million worldwide. It’s expected to top $50 million for the weekend, with North America, China and most of the world to follow on the week of June 10. I’m seeing the film on Monday night. As someone who likes, to varying degrees, all five earlier Jurassic movies (1 >> 4 > 5 > 3 > 2), I’m, uh, I’m hoping for the best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.