Director Matthew Vaughn has openly discussed his hopes to launch a franchise with the new meta spy thriller Argylle... but the first step toward making that happen was the film having a standout opening weekend at the box office, and that hasn't play out as hoped in the last three days. Thanks to an extremely slow start to 2024, the feature can presently claim to be the #1 movie in the United States and Canada, but the actual numbers suggest that audiences weren't particularly interested in the big screen offering.
With Argylle sitting in peak position, the full Top 10 for this past weekend is below. Check it out and then join me after for analysis.
Argylle Wins The Weekend, But The Numbers Aren't Going To Immediately Give Argylle 2 A Green Light
Argylle is a big, big movie. It's a globe-trotting spy adventure that plays out on multiple different story layers, and it rocks a talented cast that includes Bryce Dallas Howard, Henry Cavill, John Cena Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Samuel L. Jackson, Catherine O'Hara, Sofia Boutella, Dua Lipa, Ariana DeBose, and more. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the blockbuster produced by Apple Original Films cost somewhere in the realm of $200-250 million – the studio's third big swing in recent months along with Martin Scorsese's Killers Of The Flower Moon and Ridley Scott's Napoleon. There was a lot invested in it as a franchise starter and a box office success, but signs are now pointing to it being a significant flop.
Early weekend box office results from The Numbers say that the movie only managed to earn $18 million since arriving in theaters this past Friday, and while that is in line with mid-week predictions from prognosticators, it's far from an ideal result. Following a tepid January that saw a limited number of wide releases premiere, there were hopes that Argylle could be the first 2024 title to make a significant splash, but that isn't playing out (earning $28.6 million, Arturo Perez and Samantha Jayne's Mean Girls actually had a much better opening weekend, and it cost about a fifth of what the spy thriller did to make).
Any buzz that the film had built up over the last few months mostly fizzled out in the last week. The film has some boosters, like CinemaBlend's Mike Reyes, who gave it a 3 1/2 star review, but critics mostly delivered negative notices when they were posted online on Wednesday – as illustrated by its 35 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. The Audience Score doubles that number... but it's still only a 70 percent, and that result fits in line with the grade that has been delivered by CinemaScore surveys: a "C+"
It seems terribly unlikely that word of mouth is going to keep Argylle afloat and turn it into a sleeper hit a la Will Gluck's Anyone But You... but even if it does, making $100 million domestically is still going to be an underwhelming financial result given the massive budget. The domestic release schedule for February admittedly isn't overflowing with more highly anticipated releases, which could keep the title in the Top 10 for a while, but its future is going to be extremely bleak if I end up writing about a weekend-to-weekend drop of 60 percent in my box office column next week.
At present, it doesn't quite look like the overseas markets are going to save Argylle either. The film won't be out in China and Japan for few weeks, but the star-studded thriller is presently playing in markets all around the globe, and thus far it has only resulted in $17.3 million in ticket sales. That brings the total box office haul to just $35.3 million.
The theatrical run for Argylle isn't looking great, but we'll see what the future holds for it when it eventually makes its way to AppleTV+. Perhaps streaming popularity will eventually renew its franchise potential.
Wonka Crosses $200 Million Domestically
Seeing Argylle fizzle at the box office is a disappointment, but there are still some highlights to be noted in the numbers above. Last month, Anyone But You cross the aforementioned $100 million milestone, and last weekend saw Benjamin Renner's Migration hit that same ticket sale figure – but this week, this spotlight is shifting back to Paul King's Wonka. The chocolate-centric musical has been a stalwart in theaters since its solid opening weekend in mid-December, and it took only 13 days to hit nine-figures, but today we get to celebrate the fact that it has now made over $200 million domestically.
A constant presence in the Top 5 over the last month, Wonka is now in the record books as one of only eight 2023 films to earn over $200 million in the United States and Canada. It's an accomplishment that is only the latest on a long list. The musical starring Timotheé Chalamet isn't exactly an inexpensive indie (it had a pre-marketing budget of $125 million, per Variety), but it's still found great success at a complicated time for the industry.
In addition to the $201.1 million that the film has made at home, it has also brought in $370.6 million from overseas. The $571.7 million it has made globally ranks it as the ninth biggest movie of 2023 in between Frant Gwo's The Wandering Earth 2 ($604.5 million) and Rob Marshall's The Little Mermaid ($568.3 million).
Looking ahead, we can hope that Zelda Williams' new horror film Lisa Frankenstein and the theatrical release of Domee Shi's Turning Red will shake things up a bit in the Top 10. Both titles will be in wide release this coming Friday, and I'll be back next weekend here on CinemaBlend to chart their box office performance. You can learn about all of the films set to arrive in the coming weeks and months with our 2024 Movie Release Schedule.