Movies & TV / News

411 Box Office Report: Argylle Wins Weekend But Comes Up Short

February 4, 2024 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Argylle Image Credit: Universal Pictures

While the new spy comedy Argylle picked up the win at the box office this weekend, it did so with a disappointingly low gross. Apple Original Films’ action comedy opened at #1 for the weekend with $18 million, below the mid-$20 million range it was projected to do. That’s well below the openings for the first two Kingsman films, which were also directed by Matthew Vaughn and opened at $36.2 million in 2015 and $39 million in 2017.

And to be clear, even if Argylle had opened at the projected range it would not have been a hit. The twisty, star-heavy spy flick was tracking low for its genre and budget, the latter of which stands at a hefty $200 million. (Vaughn self-financed the film, which Apple then bought for the $200 million price tag.) The marketing budget was a reported $80 million which Universal, who are distributing the film in the US, paid half of.

All of that adds up to a film that is not likely to be profitable for Apple. That said, as we discussed with Killers of the Flower Moon and Napoleon last year, Apple doesn’t see these films as bombs considering that they serve as loss leader marketing for their products and platforms such as Apple TV+, which is where the films end up streaming. Still, it’s not an encouraging start for the film by even the most lenient measure, especially when you add in that the international start is a not-great $17.3 million for a $35.3 million worldwide opening.

There are a number of factors that played into this film’s low opening. The marketing tried to play into the mystery of “Who is the real Agent Argylle?,” a plot element of the film that didn’t work so well when the ads were more interested in showing off the hefty cast and the cat antics. And the buzz hasn’t been strong either, with a lowly 35% aggregated critic average on Rotten Tomatoes, a 70% audience score and a lousy C+ CinemaScore. That ultimately meant that no one was particularly excited to see the film, and the word of mouth didn’t help matters much.

Now, Apple is not going to be too worried about taking a loss here; however, Universal will be a bit less happy over the matter. There isn’t any direct competition until Madame Web opens in a couple of weeks, so this might hold up a bit better than expected. However, its domestic endgame is likely to land around $60 million or so, which means that unless it sees strong ancillary numbers we aren’t necessarily likely to see any of the teased sequels or prequels.

Coming in at #2 with a solid start was The Chosen: Season 4 Episodes 1-3. The Fathom Events release of the latest episodes in the faith-based drama series was in decent enough shape, though it was a touch behind the $8.8 million opening of Season 3: Episodes 1 & 2 in November of 2022.

Angel Studios’ series is a reliable performer for them and has managed to consistently bring in a faith-based crowd. It’s not clear what the budgets are for these, but the short-term Fathom Events releases are there basically to goose the profits that the show already brings in through crowdfunding and licensing to the likes of Prime Video, Peacock, and Netflix. Based on the performance of the previous theatrical releases, this one should fade quickly and finish off with about $12 million or so.

Jason Statham’s The Beekeeper continues to buzz along nicely, down just 21% in its fourth week to $5.3 million. The action thriller is proving to be a hit for MGM with $49.4 million domestically and $122.5 million worldwide. We don’t yet know the budget of the film (Amazon & MGM is not very forthcoming in that respect), but the movie is clearly doing well and wasn’t dinged by the new action fil in the marketplace. It should be able to top $60 million without breaking too much of a sweat at this point in terms of domestic gross.

Wonka was strong again in its eighth weekend, down just 18% to $4.8 million. The Willy Wonka prequel continues to soar as it climbed up to $201.1 million domestically and $571.7 million worldwide, mega money against a $125 million budget. The film is still looking likely to pass $210 million by the end it its stateside run and has the studio very happy.

Speaking of films making studios happy, Migration slipped a mere 16% to $4.1 million. The animated film is now at $106.2 million and $221.9 million worldwide, nicely profitable against a $72 million budget. Never doubt that family audience, especially when your film runs through the holidays. The film should end its run at around $115 million, a very acceptable number for a non-franchise animated film.

Mean Girls had the highest drop in the top 10, but was still solid with a 42% slip to $4 million in its fourth week. The musical adaptation of the teen comedy has turned a healthy profit for Paramount with $66.4 million stateside and $92.7 million worldwide on a $36 million budget. It is making its way to a likely final domestic tally of $75 million.

Anyone But You cannot be stopped, as the rom-com eased 24% to $3.5 million in its seventh weekend. The Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney vehicle has racked up $76.3 million stateside and $151.8 million worldwide against a budget of just $25 million. It will pass $80 million in the US and could even make it a bit higher than that, phenomenal for a film that opened to $6 million back in December.

American Fiction expanded into another 200 theaters this weekend and saw a strong hold as a result, down just 11% to $2.3 million. The Oscar competitor pushed its tally to $15 million, a very decent for a film that cost less than $10 million. As it continues to ride the buzz of Oscar nominations, it should make it to at least $20 million in the US which is a number Amazon MGM Studios will be very pleased with.

Poor Things is also still pushing along with the benefits of an Oscar buzz, down 27% to $2.1 million. The Yorgos Lanthimos-directed film has now totaled $28.2 million domestically and $68.3 million worldwide against a $35 million budget, putting it well on the path to profit. The North American total should finish out around $35 million

Aquaman & The Lost Kingdom closed out the top 10 as it was down 26% in its seventh weekend for $2 million. The DCEU closer has now grossed $120.8 million domestically and $423.5 million worldwide, doing a not-awful job of minimizing its losses against a $205 million budget and heavy marketing costs. It should end its domestic run at around $125 million.

Next weekend will Argylle do battle with a new contender in Lisa Frankenstein. The quirky horror comedy is looking at a $10 million start, which would be decent for the traditionally-dead Super Bowl weekend, and could claim #1 if Argylle drops hard.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Argylle – $18 million ($18 million total, $35.3 million WW)
2. The Chosen Season 4: Episodes 1 to 3 – $6 million ($7.5 million total, $7.5 million WW)
3. The Beekeeper – $5.3 million ($49.4 million total, $122.5 million WW)
4. Wonka – $4.8 million ($201.1 million total, $571.7 million WW)
5. Migration – $4.1 million ($106.2 million total, $221.9 million WW)
6. Mean Girls – $4 million ($66.4 million total, $92.7 million WW)
7. Anyone But You – $3.5 million ($76.3 million total, $151.8 million WW)
8. American Fiction – $2.3 million ($15 million total, $15 million WW)
9. Poor Things – $2.1 million ($28.2 million total, $68.3 million WW)
10. Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom – $2 million ($120.8 million total, $423.5 million WW)