Memorial Day Box Office 2024: The Worst In History

Memorial Day box office 2024… A weekend that will live in infamy.

Due to lingering COVID after-effects, the streaming wars peetering out, and the 2023 strikes, Hollywood is in a really bad place right now. We’re coming to the end of what might be the worst May box office ever, topping off with the worst Memorial Day holiday weekend, probably ever.

Click here for the Memorial Day box office 2024 chart.

It’s not just that Furiosa and Garfield both massively underperformed–just $25 million each instead of the $50m or $70m they would have made in the pre-pandemic era. It’s that there’s just no other films around to support them. The total box office for Memorial Day, four days, is going to be about $130 million, which is the lowest since 1998! 1998 was also famously bad, but adjusted for inflation it’s far ahead of 2024.

A healthy movie market can’t be supported by this thin-spread blockbuster-heavy model that’s been in place since 2022. A single blockbuster miss can ruin a whole weekend. Multiple misses? It can ruin a whole month.

In May, the new Planet of the Apes has done respectably well, but everything else is just a tier below. IF, Fall Guy, Civil War, Challengers… The biggest movies of April and May are just not doing enough to sustain. And if people aren’t going to the B-tier movies, then the A-tier movies suffer as well.

Barbenheimer last year taught us that audiences are ready to flock to events that aren’t necessarily four-quadrant action sci-fi pics. Breakouts like Knives Out, Quiet Place, Everything Everywhere All At Once, and M3GAN showed you don’t even need a big budget to be a big hit. But what you DO need is consistent quality releases, or people just won’t show up.

Furiosa and Garfield will do fine in the long run. The former is a well-reviewed movie in one of the best franchises in film. The latter is a surefire home video kid hit. But through them, the Memorial Day box office 2024 teaches us that theaters will struggle if there’s not a diverse slate of interesting films.

Yeah, the strikes hurt a lot. But so do the dozens of new original movies hitting Max, Hulu, Disney+, etc. this month and skipping theaters entirely. When the best movie of the month won’t even get a wide release because it’s going straight to Netflix, you know there’s a problem.

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