By Rebecca Rubin
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – “DC League of Super-Pets,” an animated adventure about the four-legged friends of superheroes, opened in first place at the domestic box office with $23 million from 4,313 theaters.
Though the Warner Bros. movie sold enough tickets to dethrone Jordan Peele’s “Nope” on North American charts, it’s a mediocre start given the film’s $90 million price tag. Sure, the Legion of Super-Pets aren’t as recognizable as Superman or Aquaman, but “DC League of Super-Pets” could have resonated with audiences a little more given its affiliation with DC Comics and its high-wattage voice cast in Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart.
In pandemic times, “DC League of Super-Pets” is yet another kid-friendly film that has struggled to wow in its box office debut. Movies aimed at family audiences have been a mixed bag as of late, which is concerning because it’s a demographic that has always been a reliable source of revenue. In terms of opening weekend revenues, “DC League of Super-Pets” arrived behind Pixar’s “Lightyear,” which debuted to $51 million, and Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” which opened to $107 million. But its start falls in line with other pandemic-era family films like “The Bad Guys” ($23.9 million), “Sing 2” ($22.3 million) and Disney’s “Encanto” ($27 million).
However, “DC League of Super-Pets” doesn’t have much competition on the horizon, which could work to its advantage. It helps that audiences liked the film, which landed an “A-” CinemaScore.
“This is a moderate opening by animation series standards,” said David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “Recently, several animation movies have extended their runs to six weeks, generating healthy domestic multiples.”
As Gross notes, although several animated movies have started slower, many have shown a lot of endurance at the box office. For example, “The Bad Guys” and “Encanto” each ended their theatrical runs with $96 million in North America. And “Sing 2” had especially long legs, tapping out with $162 million.
This weekend’s other new nationwide release, B.J. Novak’s true-crime inspired dark comedy “Vengeance,” barely cracked the top 10. The R-rated film opened in line with expectations, pulling in a lackluster $1.75 million from 998 theaters. Novak, who also wrote the screenplay, portrays a New York City-based journalist and podcaster who travels to Texas to investigate the death of a girl he was only casually dating. The well-reviewed “Vengeance” appealed to mostly male audiences (men accounted for 55% of ticket buyers), who gave the film a “B+” CinemaScore.
With “DC League of Super-Pets” easily winning the weekend, “Nope” slid to second place with $18.5 million from 3,807 venues. So far, the UFO thriller — starring Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer — has generated $80.5 million in North America. “Nope” hasn’t opened yet at the international box office.
Disney’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” took the No. 3 spot with $13.1 million from 3,650 locations in its fourth weekend in theaters. Those ticket sales push the Marvel adventure past $300 million at the domestic box office, with its current tally at $301 million. Internationally, the fourth “Thor” movie has grossed $361 million, which brings its global tally to $662 million.
“Minions: The Rise of Gru” landed in fourth place, bringing in $10.8 million from 3,578 cinemas in its fifth outing. The latest “Despicable Me” installment has been one of the few kid-friendly success stories at the pandemic box office, with ticket sales at $320 million in North America and $710 million worldwide.
Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick” rounded out the top five with $8.2 million in its 10th weekend of release. After two months on the big screen, Tom Cruise’s blockbuster has grossed $650 million at the domestic box office and has managed to stay in the top five on weekend charts since Memorial Day weekend. Sometime soon, it’ll surpass “Titanic” ($659 million) and “Jurassic World” ($653 million) to become the seventh-highest grossing movie in domestic box office history.
Elsewhere, A24’s multiverse adventure “Everything Everywhere All at Once” has cleared a major box office milestone, crossing $100 million in global ticket sales. It’s the first A24 movie to hit that box office benchmark. The film, which was re-released in domestic theaters over the weekend, has become a sleeper hit, earning $68.9 million in the United States and another $31.1 million internationally.