Furiosa's Opening Weekend Box Office Falls Far Behind Mad Max: Fury Road

The bad times at the summer box office just keep coming this weekend, as George Miller's post-apocalyptic road epic "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" lines up a historic low for the Memorial Day weekend. After grossing $10.2 million on its opening day (including previews), "Furiosa" is on track for a dismal $31 million four-day weekend (per The Wrap), significantly below the $45.4 million three-day debut of "Mad Max: Fury Road" in 2015. The good news is that "Furiosa" is in a close battle with "The Garfield Movie" for the No. 1 spot. That's the next "Mad Max" spin-off right there! (Jon Arbuckle's Wasteland name would be Jizzboy the Gronk.)

As I covered last week, when John Krasinski's fantasy film "IF" opened to similar numbers, Hollywood is currently experiencing the fallout of last year's strikes. Production shutdowns and subsequent release date delays mean that this year's summer slate is short on guaranteed hits, and instead relying on much riskier bets. The Memorial Day weekend box office is typically led by movies that studios consider to be slam-dunks: "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequels, "Star Wars" movies, "X-Men" entries, Disney live-action remakes, and missions of the impossible variety. Only once so far this century has the Memorial Day box office been won by an R-rated movie ("The Hangover Part II," back in 2011); it's typically reserved for family-friendly fare, to take advantage of kids being off school on Monday. No wonder "Furiosa" is set for the lowest No. 1 debut on a Memorial Day weekend in decades.

Don't cry too much for "Furiosa," though, because the movie still kicks ass. And spending $168 million on an R-rated sequel to a barely-profitable film that came out almost a decade ago was always a recipe for box office disaster. I'm just glad the machinery of Hollywood conspired to give George Miller a stupid amount of money to go off and craft a mad bastard masterpiece in the desert — not just once, but twice.

Garfield is Furiosa's main Memorial Day box office competitor

Turning our attention back to Jizzboy the Gronk and his feral feline companion, "The Garfield Movie" actually has a shot at taking the No. 1 spot from "Furiosa" after grossing $8.4 million on Friday. It's a direct battle between two of the Hollywood Chrises: Chris Hemsworth plays the roaming warlord Dementus in "Furiosa," while Chris Pratt is providing the voice of Garfield. 

If Sony was hoping for a repeat of Universal's monster hit "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" (which featured Pratt as the voice of Mario), the studio might be disappointed. But if the reported $60 million production budget for "The Garfield Movie" is accurate, then it'll do just fine. Per Deadline, industry estimates have it on track for a $27.5 million debut, while Sony is more optimistic with a $31-33 million forecast. The film already got off to a decent start overseas, grossing $22 million from 18 markets over last weekend. Adjusting for inflation, it's performing similarly to 2004's "Garfield," in which Bill Murray voiced the lasagne-loving cat.

Despite the fresh competition for family audiences, "IF" (short for "imaginary friends") is managing a decent second weekend hold, with an expected drop of 53% from its subdued opening weekend. Variety reports that it's on track to gross $16 million over the three-day weekend and $20.7 million over all four days, bringing its running domestic total past $60 million. ("IF" has also earned 500 squillion imaginary dollars, putting it squarely at the top of the imaginary box office.)