‘Furiosa’ flops hard — female-led reboot was worst Memorial Day No. 1 movie since 1995

News & Politics

The latest reboot from the “Mad Max” series was not enough to pull in moviegoers for Memorial Day weekend, marking another low point for the movie industry that saw the weakest numbers for Memorial Day in nearly 30 years.

“Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” garnered fantastically little at the box office, especially for a special, four-day opening weekend. With just $26,300,000 in its first three days, the holiday opening added just a few million to its total, finishing the long weekend with only $32,000,000, according to Box Office Mojo.

This was barely enough to edge out “The Garfield Movie,” with one stark difference. The reported budget for the lasagna-loving cat was around $60 million while “Furiosa” put up a tab of somewhere between $168-$233 million. As Screenrant reported, the movie would generally need to take in between $336-$466 million to be considered successful for studio Warner Bros., which may serve as a challenge.

The stunning, brave, and powerful female-led film was the lowest-earning No. 1 film for a Memorial Day box office opening since 1995 when “Casper” took the top spot with just $16.8 million. The Australian post-apocalyptic adventure, coupled with the comic strip cat, also marked Hollywood’s worst Memorial Day weekend for the industry in the 29-year span.

Comparatively, things weren’t looking so bad in 2023 when “The Little Mermaid” opened to $188 million on Memorial Day weekend. In 2022, Tom Cruise excited crowds with “Top Gun: Maverick” and had a $160 million holiday opening, finishing with $700 million domestically.

‘This was indeed a historically slow Memorial Day weekend for movie theaters.’

The lackluster Memorial Day box office should worry the entire movie industry, which NBC News noted has yet to have a box office smash in 2024. No film has broken $100 million in terms of an opening weekend this year, and that burden is now shifted to the shoulders of even more upcoming sequels and reboots.

“Despicable Me 4” is one possible performer, while the remake of 1996 hit “Twister” comes back with the aptly named “Twisters” in July. Disney’s “Inside Out 2” and “Deadpool and Wolverine” are more sequels that have high hopes.

A reliance on sequels hasn’t been working out however, especially for the likes of Disney, which has announced it will continue to move forward with known storylines.

“I just think that right now, given the competition in the overall movie marketplace that actually there’s a lot of value in the sequels obviously because they’re known and it takes less in terms of marketing,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger during a May 2024 earnings call.

Despite sequels and reboots for “Indiana Jones,” a “Haunted Mansion,” and “The Marvels” performing terribly, Iger insisted this was the path forward for the company. This, of course, included “more Avengers.”

“The team is, I think, one that I have tremendous confidence in. And the IP that we’re mining, including all the sequels that we’re doing is second to none. So I feel really good about what’s coming up,” the CEO added.

While “Furiosa” seemed to be plagued with being too long and providing too little, Comscore senior analyst Paul Dergarabedian simply noted that “this was indeed a historically slow Memorial Day weekend for movie theaters.”

Hollywood hopes its upcoming sequels will “allow the industry to hit the reset and get the industry moving in a positive direction,” Dergarabedian told NBC News.

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