‘Furiosa’ Is a Box Office Dud, Adding to Hollywood Woes

“Moviegoers do not want prequel origin stories,” where significant franchise characters are “portrayed not by the actor who originated and defined them, but by a younger, less-famous performer,” Scott Mendelson, a box office analyst who publishes a subscription newsletter, wrote on Saturday.

“Furiosa,” directed by George Miller and co-starring Chris Hemsworth, may have been released too soon after the similar-looking “Dune: Part Two,” which delivered giant ticket sales in March, some film executives said. At the same time, they added, “Furiosa” may have been released too long after “Fury Road,” allowing the “Mad Max” fan base to cool.

There has also been a lack of momentum at the box office, noted Paul Dergarabedian, a senior Comscore media analyst. Hollywood’s summer season started with “The Fall Guy,” which arrived to $28 million in ticket sales earlier this month — the lowest summer kickoff since 1995. The April box office suffered from a shortage of movies, which studios blamed on lingering fallout from union strikes in 2023.

“The current malaise shows the importance of the health of the overall marketplace in the months leading up to this all-important moviegoing season,” Mr. Dergarabedian said in an email.

Theaters in the United States and Canada were expected to sell about $125 million in tickets over the weekend, down roughly 40 percent from last year, according to Comscore. For the year to date, ticket sales in the two countries total $2.6 billion, down 22 percent from the same period a year ago, Comscore said.

Mr. Dergarabedian is an optimist, however.

“It’s not game over for theaters this summer as many have asserted,” he said, noting that sequels like “Inside Out 2,” “Despicable Me 4” and “Deadpool & Wolverine” could arrive as major hits in June and July. If those films deliver, he said, Hollywood can salvage “the perception of the movie theater business as a viable and relevant part of the entertainment ecosystem.”

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