Box Office: 'IF' Topples 'Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes' Despite Soft Debut
Paramount Pictures/20th Century Fox

John Krasinski and Ryan Reynolds' animated film, which was expected to bring in at least $40 million, debuts below the projections with approximately $35 million.

AceShowbiz - "IF" is the answer to a new champion at this week's box office. The live-action animated fantasy comedy film from director John Krasinski debuts at No. 1 in North America despite a soft opening of approximately $35 million.

Starring Ryan Reynolds, the pic, which was also written and produced by the "A Quiet Place" filmmaker, was initially expected to bring in at least $40 million in its first weekend. Based on Friday's turnout, the movie was on track for a $30 million opening, but openings were revised up after Saturday's strong showing.

It's a wobbly start for a movie that cost an estimated $110 million to make, not including the marketing cost. Overseas, it has collected an additional $20 million for a global total of $55 million.

"IF" received mixed responses from critics, who gave it 49% fresh ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. However, viewers seemed to disagree and gave it a glowing A scale on Cinemascore.

"Families came out in force and they loved the film," said Chris Aronson, who heads Paramount's domestic distribution. "I think it bodes well for moviegoing in general as we move into the summer movie season," Aronson said. "Kids are out of school starting this coming week and I couldn’t think of a better film to be in the marketplace than this one: It’s new, it’s fresh, its original, and it’s such a heartwarming film."

Not surprised by the weak performance of the new release, David A. Gross of movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research said, "The early summer lineup is subdued. The industry is waiting for an over-performer to beat expectations and break out. We continue to trail pre-pandemic box office levels by a wide margin, and comparisons are not going to get easier as we move into the heart of summer."

"This is a very unusual summer. It got off to an unusual start without a Marvel movie," Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore, also weighed in. "The box office has been in a holding pattern 20% down from last year."

Dergarabedian noted that Memorial Day weekend is a time when moviegoers play can play catch up with films they've missed and heard about. He added, "On almost every level this is a non-traditional summer in the lineup of films and the trajectory of the box office. But collectively these films should have a solid Memorial weekend."

Despite the disappointing debut, "IF" still manages to defeat last week's champion "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes", which only held the crown for a week. The sci-fi dystopian action film added an estimated $26 million to its domestic gross, which has now crossed $100 million. With $136 million from international markets, the movie has grossed a total of $237.5 million worldwide.

Lionsgate's horror film "The Strangers: Chapter 1" is another newcomer to debut in the top five this week. The movie overperforms with a $12 million debut from 2,856 locations, thanks in part to its innovative marketing campaign that staged some viral moments by bringing the "strangers" to major events.

"The Fall Guy" plummets from No. 2 to No. 4 with an estimated $8.4 million, followed by "Challengers" at No. 5 with approximately $2.9 million. The Amy Winehouse biopic "Back to Black" opens at No. 6 with an estimated $2.8 million.

Overall, this week's box office still falls behind 2023 by almost 22%. Movie theater owners are hoping to end this sluggish trend next weekend as Memorial Day brings the release of "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" and "The Garfield Movie".

Top 10 of North American Box Office (May 17-19, 2024):

  1. "IF" - $35 million
  2. "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" - $26 million
  3. "The Strangers: Chapter 1" - $12 million
  4. "The Fall Guy" - $8.4 million
  5. "Challengers" - $2.9 million
  6. "Back to Black" - $2.8 million
  7. "Tarot" - $2 million
  8. "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" - $1.7 million
  9. "The Blue Angels" - $1.3 million
  10. "Unsung Hero" - $1.1 million

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