The Flash, Polite Society and More in This Week’s MPAA Ratings Bulletin The Global Tofay

The Flash, Polite Society and More in This Week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin The Global Tofay Global Today

By Chris Kavan – 03/22/23 at 12:24 PM CT

It’s been rough waters for the superhero genre of late. Black Adam was a dud, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania underwhelmed and, joining the gang, Shazam! Fury of the Gods may have topped the box office but it wasn’t met with much enthusiasm as people seem to be bidding the old DCEU behind as they await the next chapter. Speaking of the DCEU, this week’s MPAA offering has another film, the controversy-ridden The Flash (much due to main star’s Ezra Miller’s off-screen bizarre behavior) as well as an British offering that looks as fun as it does kick-ass – driven by a female cast to boot.

First, though, the weekend box office was topped by Fury of the Gods, but with just $30.1 million, it was exactly the heroic opening it needed. Early predictions had it opening to an already-soft $35-$40 million, but it couldn’t even meet those modest expectations. That opening is also a far cry from the original Shazam!’s $53.5 million as well as under half as much as the $67 million opening for Black Adam (which itself was seen as a disappointment). The only DCEU films to open lower were pandemic-affected Wonder Woman 1984 ($16.7 million) and The Suicide Squad ($26 million) – both of which were also offered as streaming options on the same day-and-date. What’s arguably worse news for Fury of the Gods is that it cost more than the first film (at a reported $110 million) and with another $100 million in marketing, it won’t come anywhere close to turning a profit. Director David F. Sandberg has already said he won’t return to superhero movies and instead go back to horror. While the stars of the film, including Zachary Levi, Rachel Zegler and Helen Mirren have tried to put a positive spin on things – there’s not saving this turkey. Behind-the-scenes drama continues to follow it as well, as indications are that Black Adam star Dwayne Johnson nixed any possible connection to Shazam! in favor of a Superman cameo instead. The biggest takeaway, however, may be that audiences just can’t get invested in a film or hero that may not matter in the coming months as the DCEU is undergoing an overhaul by James Gunn and Peter Safran – and it’s hard to work up much excitement for these orphan offerings. The film scored worse with audiences (a “B+” Cinemascore as opped to an “A” for Shazam!) as well as with critics where is sits at a dismal 51% Rotten (the first film hit 90% Fresh). While audiences awarded it an 87% Fresh rating, it’s obvious this is going to be another failure. With $34.6 million overseas (including a weak $4.4 million out of China) the film has just $66 million worldwide and doesn’t look to recoup its costs in the long run.

In much better news, Scream VI crossed the $75 million mark after a $17.33 million weekend for a new $75.8 million total. While a drop of 61% may seem steep after its record franchise opening, horror films tend to be more front-loaded than other types of films, so that is not a surprising result. It is still on pace to top $100 million domestic – and easily become the highest-grossing film in the Scream franchise. With another $40 million overseas, Scream VI is sitting at $115 million global – given its $35 million budget, it’s off to the races.

Also holding up quite well is another franchise sequel in Creed III. The Michael B. Jordon directed-and-starring Rocky spinoff dipped just 43.6% in its third week out for a $15.37 million weekend and a new $127.7 million total – crossing the $125 million milestone in the process. That also put it ahead of the original Creed ($109 million) and sequel Creed II ($115 million). It has plenty of punch left in it too – as it should finish in the $160 million range. With another $96.3 million overseas, Creed III has topped $220 million worldwide at this point and it certainly one of the high points of 2023 thus far.

In fourth place, Adam Driver’s dinosaur action/adventure film 65 took a 52.5% hit for a $5.85 million weekend and a new $22.47 million total. That is about half of the film’s $45 million budget. With $16.4 million overseas, it’s probably going to be looking at a narrow loss.

Rounding out the top five, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania fell another 41% to for a $4.2 million weekend – just enough to top $200 with a new $205.9 million total. As fifth weekend MCU films go, it was amongst the lowest on record – tying Thor and just ahead of Captain America: The First Avenger ($4.1 million). It has grossed $257 million overseas but with a global total of just $463 million – it is running well behind Ant-Man ($519 million) and Ant-Man and the Wasp ($622 million), even if its domestic total is better. There’s no good way to look at the numbers for this one other than disappointing.

Outside the top five: Thanks to its successful Oscar run, Everything Everywhere All at Once was re-released into a total of 1633 theaters and grossed $1.2 million (11th place) – just enough for that film to cross the $75 million milestone for a new $75.5 million total.

Next week, Keanu Reeves looks to deliver an action-heavy knockout blow with John Wick 4 and more discerning adults can watch The Lost King (though I’m going to let you guess which movie will have more success).

With superhero films taking a beating at the box office – and with the DCEU already facing a major upheaval, it sure seems like any film released is already facing big hurdles. And with The Flash, things are already tumultuous enough thanks to star Ezra Miller’s bizarre off-screen behavior that has at times overshadowed the film itself. But against all odds the early reaction to The Flash seems oddly positive. It helps that this seems to be the DCEU’s version of Spider-Man: Far From Home in that it spans a multi-verse of possibilities and brings back some old, familiar faces like General Zod (Michael Shannon) and an old-school Batman (Michael Keaton). Miller himself plays a few different versions of his characters and Ben Affleck also returns as his Batman while introducing Sasha Calle as a new Supergirl. It does look interesting but the biggest questions surrounding the film is that if it doesn’t matter in the long run of the DCEU, will people bother to show up even if it’s a decent film? As the recent Fury of the Gods suggests – maybe not. Granted The Flash is a tier above Shazam! but it still has a big hill to climb. I’ll take a wait-and-see approach to this one. Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and
action, some strong language and partial nudity.

How to best describe Polite Society? Ria (Priya Kansara), a martial-artist and very protective sister, is convinced that older sister Lena (Ritu Arya) is making a big mistake when she drops out of art to school and gets engaged to Salim (Akshaye Khanna). When she meet’s Salim’s mother, Raheela (Nimra Bucha), she changes her mind – it’s not just a mistake, it’s danger and now she will do anything she can to save her sister. This film looks like an absolute blast – just watch the trailer and tell me it doesn’t make you want to watch. A great mix of comedy, action and family – and driven by a mostly female British-Pakistani cast. I know Arya from the Netflix series The Umbrella Academy, and Kansara is essentially maker her big-screen debut but together, they are amazing. I can’t think of another film in recent memory that has stood out as uniquely different since Everything Everywhere All at Once – and so I’m interested in whether audiences will embrace this as much. Rated PG-13 for strong language, violence, sexual material, and some partial nudity.

Those are the two major films for this week but you can check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:

40

Rated PG-13 for some violent content and language.

BOBI WINE: THE PEOPLE’S PRESIDENT

Rated PG-13 for strong violent content, bloody images and thematic elements.

BUDDY GAMES SPRING AWAKENING

Rated R for crude sexual material, language throughout, drug use, some nudity and violent material.

FINNICK

Rated PG for some action/peril and rude material.

THE FLASH

Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some strong language and partial nudity.

LA USURPADORA: THE MUSICAL

Rated PG-13 for strong language, and suggestive material.

MAGGIE MOORE(S)

Rated R for language throughout, violence, some sexual material, brief nudity and drug use.

POLITE SOCIETY

Rated PG-13 for strong language, violence, sexual material, and some partial nudity.

ROBOTS

Rated R for pervasive language and sexual content.

THE TANK

Rated R for some violence/bloody images and brief language.

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