BOX OFFICE: “Super-Pets” wins by default, “Nope” falls off, “Thor” and “Minions” stick around

A decent Thursday followed by a just-brisk-enough Friday ($9.3 million Thursday night/Friday) points to “DC League of Super-Pets” opening on the soft side of expectations — $23 million or so, per Box Office Pro is still saying $25, and Exhibitor Relations thinks $24.

There’d been talk of a bigger “surprise” than this, as Warners’ previous DC cartoon outing (“Teen Titans” bombed), and a $30 million take with the talking critters toon seemed within reach.

It’s pleasant enough, and reviews haven’t been deal breakers. Most of them, anyway. But $23 will have to do. One piece of bad news? Exhibitor Relations notes that it cost $90 million to produce, cheap for an animated feature, but a long way from being something they’ll break even on.

“Nope” is tracking towards a $17-19 million second weekend, a 60% drop. The problem with “event” movies, as this one has been pitched, is they need an epic opening to drive later weeks’ business because everybody else wants to see “the movie everybody’s talking about.” It sat on the shelf, finished, during the pandemic, never seemed like an easy sell and the sale was always based on hiding its true nature from audiences.

Ticket buyers know the obvious “secrets” now, some of them anyway. It’ll do fine, when all is said and done. But it’s not a culture-shifting phenomenon like “Get Out” or a divisive debate creator like “Us.” I dare say a lot of people thought twice about seeing it based on a bad experience with “Us.” And Keke and Kaluuya aren’t “names” as far as the box office is concerned. She could be, after this. He’s not the most magnetic screen personality, and is far less interesting than he needed to be here.

“Thor: Love & Thunder” and “Minions: Who Needs Gru?” are dueling for third and fourth places, somewhere south of $10 million but above $5 million. “Minions” is well over $300 million, domestically, “Thor” should clear it by next weekend.

“Where the Crawdads Sing” cleared the $46 million mark by Thursday, its second week of release. Figures for its third weekend coming shortly.

“Top Gun: Maverick” will flirt with the $650 million mark, all-in (North America) by the time this weekend is over, and should cross that mark by Tuesday.

Focus Features released and forgot “Vengeance.” Sort of like my memories of B.J. Novak on “The Office.” Oh, he was on that? Nobody’s going to see it. Shockingly.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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