Welcome to our weekly box office report, which we do a little differently. Rather than focusing on the money, FSR senior editor Christopher Campbell is more interested in the estimated attendance — or number of tickets sold. Because the value of money changes over the years, but the value of actual moviegoers remains the same. This week, we focus on the opening box office attendance numbers for My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission, Last Night in Soho, and Antlers.
Denis Villeneuve’s Dune (a.k.a. Dune: Part One) topped the box office again over the last weekend of October 2021. But with a significant drop (62.1%) and only 1.7 million additional tickets sold**. That’s a surprising decline considering all the hype about the sci-fi movie’s success last weekend and its subsequent sequel announcement. Especially considering all the word of mouth that ought to have driven more people into the theatrical experience. Of course, stragglers might have just gone with the HBO Max streaming option. Or been dissuaded by people who only saw it on the small screen and weren’t able to appreciate it properly.
This past weekend also seems to have been a disappointment for horror films despite Sunday’s ooky-spooky h0liday. The David Gordon Green-helmed horror sequel Halloween Kills held its #2 spot on the box office chart, though not with any kind of increase in interest. Still, its third-weekend drop in attendance (41.2%) was much better than that of the previous Halloween installment (65.5%) exactly three years ago. Meanwhile, the two new auteur-driven horror movies that opened — Scott Cooper’s Antlers and Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho — fell short in the back half of the box office top 10.
My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission Accomplished the Best Debut of the Franchise
The unexpected champion at the box office for new releases was instead the anime feature My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission. Directed by Kenji Nagasaki, the sequel posted an estimated* gross of $6.4 million. That’s about 700,000 tickets sold** for its North American debut. The attendance for this film, which is based on the My Hero Academia series, is an improvement over the first two features. In 2018, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes opened here to 150,000 moviegoers. And in 2020, My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising drew 630,000 fans in its first weekend — which at the time was a new record for anime.
My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission actually fell below the expected attendance based on Box Office Pro’s forecast last week of an $8 million opening. The anime sequel also received less-favorable reviews compared to the previous two installments of the franchise, according to both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. The audience scores for the three movies are closer to one another, however, indicating the fans are satisfied. And speaking of the My Hero Academia fans, they really drove the success of the sequel since its release wasn’t advertised to the general public, just to the niche demographic, and that’s impressive.
Last Night in Soho is a Box Office Disappointment for Edgar Wright
Where were Edgar Wright’s fans over the weekend? The latest from the cult-favorite filmmaker, Last Night in Soho, disappointed at the box office. Debuting in seventh place, the arguably unsuccessful horror pastiche grossed an estimated* $4.2 million — fewer than half a million tickets sold**. The opening was Wright’s worst ever for a narrative film (he also released his first documentary, The Sparks Brothers, this year). And it fell way short of Box Office Pro’s prediction last weekend of a #2 placement and gross of more than $8 million. Two weeks ago, the site reported a best-case possibility of $11.5 million and worst-case $6.5 million.
What happened there? Last Night in Soho didn’t receive great reviews. In fact, it delivered Wright’s worst Tomatometer rating (74%) and his worst Metacritic score (67). But the buzz wasn’t any worse going into the weekend than it has been when industry projections were being made. Somehow, the movie was expected to do much better despite its weird trailer, mysterious plot, and limiting influences. Fortunately for Focus Features, those who did see Last Night in Soho seem to like it. Its Rotten Tomatoes user score is Wright’s second-best for a narrative feature, behind Shaun of the Dead. And its CinemaScore grade of ‘B+’ is fine.
Edgar Wright Movies Opening Weekend Box Office Attendance
|Rank||Movie Title||Opening Weekend Box Office Attendance||Domestic Total Box Office Attendance|
|1||Baby Driver (2017)||2.3 million||12 million|
|2||Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)||1.3 million||4 million|
|3||The World's End (2013)||1.1 million||3.2 million|
|4||Hot Fuzz (2007)||0.8 million||3.4 million|
|5||Shaun of the Dead (2004)||0.53 million||2.2 million|
|6||Last Night in Soho (2021)||0.47 million||0.5 million|
|7||The Sparks Brothers (2021)||0.03 million||0.05 million|
Antlers Box Office is Slightly Better Than Expected
In other box office news, Antlers had a rather complicated opening over the weekend. Its estimated* gross of $4.2 million is not Scott Cooper’s worst debut. Especially when you consider most of his movies begin in limited release. But it is low in comparison to his wide-release numbers. Two weeks ago, Box Office Pro had Antlers grossing somewhere in the range of $3 million to $8 million, so it came within the general expectations. And its attendance was actually higher than the site had presumed just last week with its forecast of an eighth-place debut and gross of just $3.6 million.
Speaking of its chart placement, you may notice below that I’ve ranked Antlers in the #6 spot, above Last Night in Soho, despite some charts listing the films in the opposite order. Their estimated grosses are exactly the same, yet Antlers is playing in fewer locations, so its per-screen average is better. And that should technically mean it’s a greater box office achievement. Anyway, we’ll see something more concrete with the movie’s actual gross reports soon enough. Meanwhile, for those curious, Antlers is Cooper’s second-worst-reviewed movie (see our review) and ties with the worst, Out of the Furnace, for his worst CinemaScore grade of ‘C+’.
The Souvenir: Part II is the Real Biggest Hit of the Weekend
Finally, in limited release and outside the box office top 10, Joanna Hogg’s highly-acclaimed sequel The Souvenir: Part II came in at #20 for its first weekend. The drama, which received better reviews than the original, opened on just three screens and wound up with an estimated* gross of $26,485. That was enough for the film to post the highest per-screen average gross of $8,800. And per-screen attendance, which comes out to almost 1,000 people. Or slightly fewer, since ticket prices for The Souvenir: Part II are likely higher than the national average. The Souvenir had a much higher per-screen average in 2019: $19,600, from four screens.
Box Office Attendance for October 29 - October 31, 2021
|Rank||Movie Title||Weekend Attendance||Per-Screen Average Attendance||Total Domestic Attendance||Studio/Distributor|
|1||Dune||1.7 million||411||7.6 million||Warner Bros.|
|2||Halloween Kills||0.93 million||257||9.3 million||Universal Pictures|
|3||No Time to Die||0.85 million||243||14.6 million||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)|
|4||My Hero Academia: World Heroes' Mission||0.7 million||442||1 million||FUNimation Entertainment|
|5||Venom: Let There Be Carnage||0.6 million||191||20.8 million||Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE)|
|7||Antlers||0.454148 million||162||0.5 million||Searchlight Pictures|
|6||Last Night in Soho||0.454148 million||151||0.5 million||Focus Features|
|8||Ron's Gone Wrong||0.418 million||117||1.4 million||20th Century Studios|
|9||The Addams Family 2||0.358 million||130||5.8 million||United Artists Releasing|
|10||The French Dispatch||0.301 million||382||0.5 million||Searchlight Pictures|
*Initially box office grosses are estimated and then are later updated for actual figures.
** Ticket sales and attendance figures are determined with each year’s average ticket prices. Currently, for 2021, that average is $9.16.
All box office gross figures are sourced from Box Office Mojo, The Numbers, and Box Office Pro unless otherwise stated.