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Cruella Steals Solid $26.5M Despite Coming In Distant Second Over Memorial Day Weekend

Cruella was never expected to be as big as it would have been in normal times, not only because of the “Covid Curve”, but because the film was being given a simultaneous release on Disney+ for a $29.99 surcharge. While that is a steep price to pay for a film that will be free on Disney+ in a few months, it’s appealing to big families or friend groups who can save money that way as opposed to buying a bunch of individual tickets. Also some people just aren’t ready to leave the house quite yet and won’t mind paying a little more to view the film.

Even with that being the case, the latest Emma Stone starrer opened to the fourth highest proper opening weekend since the pandemic started. It’s $21.3M was above Wonder Woman 1984’s $16.4M and (barely) Demon Slayer’s $21.1M, but behind only Mortal Kombat‘s $23.3M, Godzilla Vs. Kong‘s $31.7M, and this weekend’s first place movie, A Quiet Place Part 2‘s $47M. Even better, Cruella’s $26.5M 4-day is the third best start over that period thanks to Monday being Memorial Day. Yes, that means this was a major comeback weekend at the box office.

My feeling is that the film would have opened loser to Maleficent ($70M) had the film been a theatrical exclusive. The pre-release buzz was very positive, the reviews were decent, and audiences seem to be having a blast with the film (97% audience score on RT and an A CinemaScore).

Instead it opened down by Pete’s Dragon, but the good news is I expect Cruella to enjoy solid holds in the coming weeks thanks to good word of mouth and people craving things to see. The more new movies we get released, the more people will come out. The more that people have a good time, the more people want to see something else.

This is why Raya and the Last Dragon jumped up 40% on Memorial Day weekend despite losing 300+ theaters. It went from fifth place last weekend to third place over the holiday, all because the two biggies brought more people to the movies. It’s $2.3M 3-day/$2.8M 4-day weekend is damn impressive for any movie 13 weeks in. Cruella won’t hold anywhere near THAT well, but it will gross a lot more since Raya is only at $52M currently and will close either at or just under $60M.

I expect Cruella to get over $75M, with $100M being *possible* if it plays through the summer.

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