news ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ Shows (Again!) Why Female Audiences Are Good Box Office

“Thor: Love and Thunder” (Disney) as #1 dropped 68 percent from its opening weekend, tying with “Black Widow” for worst fall of a Marvel title. Second place at the box office went to weekend three of Universal’s very strong “Minions: The Rise of Gru” — but the real news belongs to #3, which went to the week’s sole new major release “Where the Crawdads Sing” (Sony). It grossed $17 million, at the high end of its expectations.

Part of that underestimation may come from the industry’s default-defeatist attitude toward films that target an older female audience. With source material from a massive bestseller, “Crawdads” also had built-in interest beyond most adult-oriented dramas — even with the film’s mixed-to-negative reviews. It currently stands at 44 on Metacritic.

If “Crawdads” can sustain a decent multiple‚ as its A- Cinemascore suggests, the film could yield one of the year’s most net-positive results. The “Thor” production budget, marketing notwithstanding, is an estimated $250 million; “Crawdads” cost Sony about $24 million. “Thor” will do just fine, thanks — it’s headed to $700 million worldwide, followed by the streaming windfall — but with $200 million in attendant marketing costs, we are looking at (relatively speaking) diminishing returns.

More importantly, “Crawdads” should be revelatory for those who wonder if theaters are still a smart home for adaptations. Yes, it was an exceptionally successful bestseller. Add top stars to adaptations (remember when Tom Cruise helped make “The Firm” and “Interview with the Vampire” smash hits?) and there is more incentive to think of them as a sensible franchise alternative.

Of note for both “Crawdads” and another adaptation, “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” (Focus, $1.9 million in 980 theaters), is the strong turnout from older women. Women comprised nearly three-quarters of the overall audience for “Crawdads,” with two out of five over age 45. “Harris” saw an astonishing 44 percent over 55, with an A Cinemascore and its upcoming expansion suggesting it could find real traction.

Lesley Manville in Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

“Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris”

Dávid Lukács

Mid-July is usually when box office begins to taper off, with most of the summer’s big titles already in release. Many parts of the country are seeing schools reopen in early August; in areas where they don’t, it’s often a month of family vacation travel. This season still has “Nope” (Universal) next week, and “Bullet Train” (Sony) August 5. These are the two remaining titles with the best shot of opening over $50 million. This weekend, with its $130 million total (down from $238 million last week, the year’s best), is likely higher than most for the foreseeable future.

This weekend represents three percent better than the same date in 2019 (when ticket prices were significantly lower). The four-week rolling average remains ahead of three years ago at 104 percent, but it will take a dive with next week’s comp: In 2019, “The Lion King” debuted to $192 million.

Paramount’s recent hot streak fell short with “Paws of Fury” at $6.2 million. From Nickelodeon, the animated film about a dog aspiring to become a samurai cost almost double “Crawdads” ($45 million) and saw minimal response. Paramount still has “Top Gun: Maverick,” which remains #4 with $618 million to date. “Elvis” (Warner Bros.) passed $100 million with a 32 percent drop, with a real shot at a $140 million ultimate domestic take.


“The Black Phone”

Universal Pictures

“The Black Phone” (Universal) also dropped 32 percent. This is concurrent to the increased marketing that comes with its PVOD release, suggesting that the studio’s standard for home play after three weekends in theaters can help some films rather than hurt them. The Blumhouse low-budget horror film has grossed $72 million.

Netflix opened “The Gray Man” in just under 500 theaters, including several top chains, and reported no grosses. It will debut the $200-million Russo Brothers action film on its streaming service July 22. Sources and checking individual theater online sales suggest a response of under $250,000, for a $500 per-theater average.

Apart from the promising start for “Mrs. Harris,” the bright light among recent specialized releases is A24’s limited “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.” Expanding to 153 theaters, it grossed $575,000 for a decent $3,761 PTA. The second weekend of “Fire of Love” (Neon) took in $63,000 in 14 theaters.

The Top 10

1. Thor: Love and Thunder
(Disney) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$46,000,000 in (no change) theaters; PTA (per theater average): $10,514; Cumulative: $233,271,000

2. Minions: The Rise of Gru (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$26,000,000 (-44%) in 4,111 (-316) theaters; PTA: $6,234; Cumulative: $262,568,000

3. Where the Crawdads Sing (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 44; Est. budget: $24 million

$17,000,000 in 3,650 theaters; PTA: $4,658; Cumulative: $17,000,000

4. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount) Week 8; Last weekend #3

$12,000,000 (-23%) in 3,292 (-221) theaters; PTA: $3,645; Cumulative: $617,963,000

5. Elvis (Warner Bros.) Week 4; Last weekend

$7,600,000 (-32%) in 3,305 (-409) theaters; PTA: $2,300; Cumulative: $106,200,000

6. Paws of Fury: The Legend of Frank (Paramount) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 45; Est. budget: $45 million

$6,250,000 in 3,475 theaters; PTA: $1,799; Cumulative: $6,250,000

7. The Black Phone (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend #5; also on PVOD

$5,310,000 (-32%) in 2,271 (-604) theaters; PTA: $2,338; Cumulative: $72,046,000

8. Jurassic World: Dominion (Universal) Week 7; Last weekend #5; also on PVOD

$4,950,000 (-42%) in 2,647 (-604) theaters; PTA: $1,870; Cumulative: $359,709,000

9. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (Focus) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 70; Est. budget: $

$1,900,000 in 980 theaters; PTA: $1,939; Cumulative: $1,900,000

10. Lightyear (Disney) Week 5; Last weekend #7

$1,300,000 (-58%) in 1,350 theaters (-740); PTA: $1,939; Cumulative: $115,499,000

Additional specialized/limited/independent releases​

Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down (Briancliff) NEW – Metacritic: 72; Festivals include: South by Southwest 2022

$75,000 in 302 theaters; PTA: $248

Anonymous Club (Oscilloscope) NEW – Metacritic: 72; Festivals include: South by Southwest 2022

$10,275 in 3 theaters; PTA: $3,425

Costa Brava, Lebanon (Kino Lorber) NEW – Metacritic: 77; Festivals include: Venice, Toronto 2021

$4,450 in 1 theater; PTA: $4,450

The Killer (Wide Lens) NEW – Metacritic: ; Festivals include:

$50,000 in 56 theaters; PTA: $893; Cumulative: $72,096

Fire of Love (Neon) Week 2

$63,362 in 14 (+11) theaters; PTA: $4,526; Cumulative: $117,523

Murina (Kino Lorber) Week 2 1

$7,822 in 10 theater;s PTA: $782; Cumulative: $25,337

Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3

$38,455 in 25 (+10) theaters; Cumulative: $137,969

The Forgiven (Roadside Attractions) Week 3 133

$7,170 in 22 (-111) theaters; Cumulative: $322,895

Fourth of July (Circus King) Week 3

$2,236 in 2 (-9) theaters; Cumulative: $323,273

Mr. Malcolm’s List (Bleecker Street) Week 3 1057

$21,96 in 158 (-899) theaters; Cumulative: $1,845,000

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (A24) Week 4

$575,370 in 153 theaters (+105); Cumulative: $1,696,000

The Phantom of the Open (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7; also on PVOD

$16,743 in 39 (-25) theaters; Cumulative: $692,899

Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) Week 17; also on PVOD

$146,530 in 153 (-135) theaters; Cumulative: $67,930,000