Box Office: 'I.S.S.' Bombs, 'Mean Girls' Rules Again
MEAN GIRLS, from left: Avantika, Renee Rapp, Bebe Wood, Angourie Rice, 2024. ph: JoJo Whilden / © Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Box Office: ‘I.S.S.’ Bombs, ‘Mean Girls’ Rules Again

The “Mean Girls” movie musical topped a sleepy box office as “I.S.S.,” a sci-fi thriller that takes place aboard the International Space Station, misfired in its opening weekend.

“Mean Girls” added $11.7 million in its second weekend of release, bringing its domestic tally to $50 million. Ticket sales dropped a steep 59% from its debut. However, the film’s decline is cushioned by its modest $36 million budget, which makes its box office performance outsized.

Overall, it’s been a desolate weekend for the movie theater business. To punctuate the box office doldrums, three movies in the top five were released around Christmas.

“With no big studio release, this weekend is the kind of ‘hole’ in the 2024 release schedule left by the strikes and pandemic,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research.

This weekend’s only newcomer “I.S.S.” crash-landed in seventh place, collecting just $3 million from 2,520 theaters in its debut. Ariana DeBose and Chris Messina star in the Bleecker Street film, which was plagued by negative reviews and a bleak “C-” CinemaScore from audience members.

“The Beekeeper,” an action thriller directed by David Ayer, remained in second place with $8.3 million from 3,330 venues. So far, the film, starring Jason Statham as a former operative who exacts revenge on behalf of a friend, has generated nearly $31 million in North America.

“Wonka,” a fantasy musical starring Timothée Chalamet as the titular chocolatier, claimed third place again with $6.7 million from 3,136 theaters. The film has enjoyed staying power since the holidays, and after six weeks of release, it has generated a mighty $187 million in North America and $513 million globally to date. It cost $100 million to produce, so it’s been a sweet treat for both Warner Bros. and cinema operators.

Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell’s R-rated romantic comedy “Anyone but You” landed at the No. 4 spot with $5.4 million from 2,928 theaters. After five weekends on the big screen, Sony’s film has grossed $64.2 million domestically and $100.2 million worldwide.

By surpassing the $100 million mark, “Anyone but You” is the highest-grossing R-rated romantic comedy since 2016’s “Bridget Jones’s Baby.” With a $25 million production budget, “Anyone but You” marks a win for Sony and a reminder that rom-coms haven’t gone out of style at the box office — as long as budgets are kept in check.

Universal and Illumination’s animated adventure “Migration” glided to fifth place with $5.3 million from 3,094 locations. The $72 million-budgeted movie, also released around Christmas, has collected $94.6 million in North America and $191.6 million globally.

In limited release, director Ava DuVernay’s “Origin” collected $875,000 from 125 screens, translating to a decent $7,000 per location. Neon, which backed the unconventional adaptation of Isabel Wilkerson’s book “Caste,” plans to slowly expand the film in the coming weeks. “Origin” has been in the awards conversation, and the studio is hoping that Oscar nominations (which are announced on Tuesday) will help to boost ticket sales.

“It’s heartwarming to see this film connecting with audiences and bearing fruit,” Neon’s president of distribution Elissa Federoff said.