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Movie Tuesday: ‘Furiosa’ Tops ‘Garfield’

You wouldn’t think that it would’ve been that close. I mean, pitting a fearsome warrior from post-apocalyptic Australia against a lasagna-loving cat just seems unfair. Especially when that fearsome warrior is part of a resurgent franchise and the cat is, well, 45 years old.

While Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga did ultimately top The Garfield Movie over the long Memorial Day weekend, Garfield held its own. But in a weekend featuring America’s favorite fat cat, maybe the biggest takeaway was the box office’s thin returns.

As mentioned, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga took the top honors over the four-day weekend, earning an estimated $32 million in North America. But that’s far less than the $40-45 million that most experts thought the latest Mad Max movie would collect. Furiosa banked a bit more overseas, but its total grosses still stand at just $65 million. And given that its makers spent an estimated $168 million to make the movie, according to Variety, Furiosa will need to fight a lot more to reach its own Green Place.

Furiosa’s lackluster debut highlights one of the weakest Memorial Day weekends in decades. Just last year, the live-action remake of The Little Mermaidled the pack with a $118 million debut, and you’d have to go all the way back to 1995 to find a Memorial-Day winner that performed worse than Furiosa. (That’d be Casper, which scared up $22 million.) And overall, financially speaking, according to The Wrap, this was the worst Memorial Day weekend at the box office in 26 years.

So maybe it’s only appropriate that Garfield—a cat that was in its heyday back around the time Casper was released, proved to be a cinematic bright spot.

The PG-rated The Garfield Movie scratched up $31.1 million, including $7.1 million on Memorial Day alone. (For a feline that notoriously hates Mondays, this Monday treated the corpulent cat pretty well.) Given that The Garfield Movie cost far less than Furiosa to produce–and that family films tend to do well over the long haul–Garfield could be sitting pretty.

IF, another PG film, slipped from first place to third, earning $21 million over the long holiday weekend. That pushes its total domestic tally to $63.6 million (and $103.6 million globally).

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes finished fourth with $17.2 million, while The Fall Guy rounded out the top five with nearly $7.7 million.

Looking down the charts a bit, you’ll notice Sight, a wide-release Christian film, finished seventh with a respectable $3.6 million. Given that Sight has a 98% “freshness” rating by audiences on Rotten Tomatoes (and a solid 64% freshness rating from secular reviewers), Sight may be looking at a bright future.

Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

3 Responses

  1. Someone I was talking to pointed out that “Furiosa” shouldn’t have come out on Memorial Day weekend since that’s a family holiday. I hadn’t thought of that angle – I was focusing on how “decent” if mediocre the movie was, and I figured that was the only factor behind why it performed so poorly. “Garfield” did very well and, counting international sales per BoxOfficeMojo, likely already made back the total cost of its production and marketing (I’m guessing that was another $30m + the $60m, which the film has already surpassed).

    There’s something to be said for modest budgets, especially since “Furiosa’s” special effects weren’t very good.

  2. Also I just realized this article could have been titled “The Fur and the Furiosa.”