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Box Office: A24’s ‘Civil War’ Fends Off Three New Movies to Remain No. 1

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A24’s dystopian thriller “Civil War” conquered the box office again, fending off three new releases to retain the top spot on North American charts.

Alex Garland’s film, starring Kirsten Dunst as a photojournalist who traverses a violently divided United States, added $11.12 million in its second weekend of release. It has generated $44.8 million so far and already stands as one of A24’s top five highest-grossing movies of all time. With a $50 million price tag, it’s also the indie distributor’s most expensive film to date.

Though it was a close race, “Civil War” charged ahead of a trio of newcomers — Universal’s vampire horror film “Abigail,” director Guy Ritchie’s “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” and Sony and Crunchyroll’s anime adventure “Spy x Family Code: White” — which all opened to mixed results.

Heading into the weekend, “Abigail” was predicted to top the box office with $12 million to $15 million in its debut. But the R-rated, blood-sucking thriller opened slightly behind projections, taking second place with $10.2 million from 3,384 venues.

Critics and audiences seemed to like the movie, which has an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes and “B” CinemaScore. (Those reactions are pretty solid for the horror genre.) Based on Universal’s classic 1936 monster film “Dracula’s Daughter” and directed by “Scream VI” filmmakers Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, “Abigail” follows kidnappers who capture and hold for ransom a 12-year-old ballerina, who ends up being a killer vampire child. The film cost $28 million, so although it didn’t meet initial expectations, “Abigail” shouldn’t struggle to turn a profit in its theatrical run.

At No. 4, Lionsgate’s “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” collected $9 million in its first weekend of release. It’s a weak result for the $60 million-budgeted action comedy, which stars Henry Cavill, Henry Golding and Eiza González and fictionalizes the real covert British military group that recruited a small group of skilled soldiers to strike against Nazis. It holds an “A-” CinemaScore and 73% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Lionsgate only picked up U.S. rights to the film, which Amazon Prime will release in much of the rest of the world. Since it won’t be playing theatrically in most international territories, there won’t be clear comparisons to the financial fate of Ritchie’s prior two films; Lionsgate’s “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre,” which tapped out with $48 million against its $50 million budget, and MGM’s “The Covenant,” which flamed out with $21 million worldwide on its $55 million budget.

The weekend’s final new release, “Spy × Family Code: White,” fizzled in fifth place with $4.8 million from 2,009 North American theaters. Ticket buyers (at least, the few who showed up on opening weekend) were fond of the animated action-comedy, which has an “A” CinemaScore and 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Spy × Family Code: White” — the first film based on the popular manga TV series “Spy x Family” by Tatsuya Endo” — has already earned $45.8 million at the international box office.

“Like most anime titles, ‘Spy x Family’ arrives having already done extremely well in Japan,” says David A. Gross of movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “Anime releases play quickly domestically, but make most of their money in Asia.”

Two holdover titles, “Godzilla x Kong: A New Empire” and “Kung Fu Panda 4,” rounded out the top of box office charts.

Warner Bros. and Legendary’s monster mashup “Godzilla x Kong: A New Empire” earned $9.4 million in its fourth weekend of release and took third place, ahead of “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” It has now grossed $171.6 million domestically and $485.2 million globally.

Universal and DreamWorks Animation’s “Kung Fu Panda 4” notched the No. 6 slot with $4.6 million. After seven weeks on the big screen, the family film has grossed $179 million in North America and a mighty $480 million globally.

Overall, this ranked among the lowest-grossing weekends of 2024 at the domestic box office with roughly $65 million in total. Year-to-date revenues are 20% behind the same period in 2023. Now, after an unremarkable April at the movies, theater owners are anxiously waiting for “The Fall Guy,” an action comedy starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt,” to kick off popcorn season on May 3.

“As one of the quietest weekends of the past 12 months, the official start of the summer movie season can’t get here soon enough,” says senior Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian.