A Barbenheimer hangover hits box offices

This past weekend, Canadian and U.S. box office numbers were down 40% compared to last year, after disappointing new releases by both Furiosa and Garfield. In fact, it was one of the weakest Memorial Day weekends seen at the movies since the early 1980s.

  • Number 1 box office titles, including the Ryan Gosling action comedy The Fall Guy and the Ryan Reynolds family flick IF, underperformed in three of the past four weekends.

Why it’s happening: Barbenheimer's atomic pink success proved that audiences want Hollywood to take more creative risks. But since movies take a while to make, 2024 is filled with ideas from when execs thought sequels and reboots would continue to reign supreme. 

  • Sequels can still be money-makers if they’re attached to properties people care about: Deadpool and Wolverine is breaking records for ticket pre-sales and could become the highest-grossing R-rated movie ever.

Why it matters: Movie theatres expected to build on the momentum of last year’s box office smashes. Instead, 2024 is poised to be the first post-lockdown year in which North American ticket sales will be lower than the year before — expected to come in at US$1 billion less.—QH