‘Civil War’ Sets Box Office Record for A24 With $25.7 Million Opening SuperNayr

A24’s polarizing, chilling war thriller “Civil War” is off to a strong start at the box office, nearly doubling the indie distributor’s opening weekend record with a $25.7 million start from 3,838 locations.

Only a handful of A24’s films have gone for a wide release to start their theatrical run rather than opening in select theaters, and the highest wide opening earned by the studio prior to this weekend was a $13.5 million start for Ari Aster’s 2018 horror film “Hereditary.” “Civil War” carries the largest budget ever for an A24 film at $50 million, but is getting a boost in reaching the break-even point thanks to presales to international distributors and support from Imax, whose screens accounted for 48% of the opening gross.

While it deliberately eschews any parallels to real-life politics, “Civil War” tapped into the tensions and anxieties of a United States facing bitter divisions in a year where Joe Biden and Donald Trump are going at it again in an election rematch, depicting a dystopian future where the U.S. has collapsed into a bloody war with multiple factions and featuring a climax where Washington D.C. is invaded by a rebel militia alliance between California and Texas.

As expected for such a provocative film, audience reception scores have skewed positive but not overwhelmingly so, giving the film a B- on CinemaScore to go with PostTrak scores of 76% overall positive and 53% “definite recommend.” Rotten Tomatoes scores stand at 83% critics and 77% audience.

With such polarized reception and a heavily male-skewing audience base at 73%, “Civil War” could have a frontloaded box office run with competition coming from Lionsgate’s “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” next week. But it’s worth noting that despite its subject matter, “Civil War” is performing well outside of the major coastal cities where A24 films usually get their highest turnout, with the distributor reporting that the film is overperforming in several major Texas cities like San Antonio, El Paso, and Waco.

But the success of “Civil War” with male audiences has come at the expense of Universal’s “Monkey Man,” which has nearly fallen out of the top 5 with just $4.1 million in its second weekend, tying with the seventh weekend of “Dune: Part Two.” The silver lining for Universal is that it won’t take a loss on the movie as it paid just $9 million for the distribution rights on the action film, which has a $17.7 million 10-day total.

Warner Bros./Legendary’s “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” is in second place this weekend with $15.4 million in its third weekend, bringing its running total to $158 million domestic and $436 million worldwide. The MonsterVerse film is on its way to becoming the third film since the end of last summer to pass $500 million worldwide, with the other two — “Wonka” and “Dune: Part Two” — also being Warner Bros. releases.

Sony’s “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” is in third with $5.8 million, straining to reach the $100 million domestic mark with $97 million grossed after four weekends with $160 million grossed worldwide. Universal/DreamWorks’ “Kung Fu Panda 4” continues to leg out well in a market lacking any significant family competition, adding $5.5 million to bring its total to $173.6 million domestic and $450 million worldwide.

More to come…


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