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“Civil War” Dominates Box Office for Second Straight Week

In an era of unpredictable box office outcomes, Alex Garland’s provocative “Civil War” continues to command the cinema battleground, holding strong as the nation’s top-grossing film in its second week of release. The indie studio responsible, A24, struck gold with what’s been referred to as an election-year risk turned triumph. The film, set within a near-future America where Texas and California have risen in rebellion against a fascist leader, has earned an impressive $44.9 million, a notable feat given its $50 million budget.

With a weekend pull of $11.1 million across 3,929 theaters, “Civil War” has audiences flocking to witness its eerie portrayal of a fractured nation. A24’s arresting promotional campaign, featuring American cities in the throes of conflict, succeeded in keeping the film at the forefront of the cinematic conversation.

Yet, the film’s success comes during a markedly slow period for the movie industry, a fact underscored by a weekend that many in Hollywood found painfully underwhelming. Current year-to-date ticket sales have plummeted by nearly 20% compared to the previous year. Comscore’s data paints a concerning picture for an industry still grappling with the aftermath of last year’s strikes by writers and actors, which contributed to significant disruptions in the production pipeline.

The anticipated leader for the weekend, “Abigail,” Universal Pictures’ horror flick, settled for second place. Despite falling short to “Civil War” with $10.2 million at 3,384 locations, this reinterpretation of “Dracula’s Daughter,” with a modest production budget of $28 million, managed a respectable showing. The film, chronicling the tale of a 12-year-old girl who proves to be a troublesome hostage for her kidnappers, is directed by Radio Silence, the filmmaker team consisting of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett.

Recent years have seen horror become a staple of box office reliability, yet 2024 has not seen the typical turnout for the genre. Still fresh in memory is 2023’s recording of $2 billion in global horror sales—a figure that today’s trends do not promise to match.

Guy Ritchie’s World War II action film “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare,” despite its historical intrigue and a star-studded cast led by Henry Cavill, debuted to a less enthusiastic reception, raising $9 million in 2,845 theaters. Although Ritchie’s past works like “Aladdin” and the “Sherlock Holmes” films have garnered substantial attention, his recent offerings, including “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre” and “The Covenant,” have struggled in the commercial arena. However, audience approval for his latest flick, as reflected in its A-minus CinemaScore, suggests a silver lining.

In the world of animated features, “Spy x Family Code: White” from Crunchyroll, Sony’s anime branch, debuted modestly with $4.9 million across 2,009 theaters. The adaptation of the Tatsuya Endo manga, previously a hit on television, posed no significant competition in the U.S. market.

Globally, “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” from Warner Bros. has maintained a behemoth presence. Adding $9.5 million domestically and $21.6 million internationally over the weekend, its four-week global total now stands at a colossal $485.2 million.

The industry keenly awaits the final domestic figures set to be released on Monday, but the estimated ticket sales from Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters have “Civil War” and “Abigail” dominating the top two spots, followed by a mix of genres and sequels for the remainder of the top ten. Whether these films can sustain or build upon their initial momentum in the weeks to come remains to be seen, but for now “Civil War” retains its position as the box office leader to watch.