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‘Bad Guys’ holding on to top spot

AP – The DreamWorks animated heist movie The Bad Guys was the top film in United States (US) and Canada theatres for the second straight weekend, according to studio estimates on Sunday, while the latest Liam Neeson thriller suggested the actor’s particular set of skills may be wearing thin with audiences.

The Bad Guys, distributed by Universal Pictures, made USD16.1 million in ticket sales in its second weekend, holding well with only a 33 per cent drop from last weekend.

The film, adapted from Aaron Blabey’s kids’ graphic novel, has helped reignite family moviegoing.

April moviegoing was largely dominated by Paramount Pictures’ Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – which stayed in second place with USD11.4 million, bringing its cumulative total to USD160.9 million – and The Bad Guys, with USD44.4 million in two weeks.

The latest Neeson thriller, Memory, however, was mostly forgotten by moviegoers. The Open Road-Briarcliffe Entertainment R-rated release launched with an estimated USD3.1 million in 2,555 locations. The last Neeson thriller to make a dent was 2019’s Cold Pursuit, which debuted with USD11 million and ultimately grossed USD62.6 million worldwide. But either due to oversaturation or lackluster reception (Memory has a 30 per cent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes”), a once dependable box-office force has gone cold.

“Neeson’s pre-pandemic crime pics did well, including the successful Taken series, but audiences are showing little interest now,” David A. Gross, who runs the movie consultancy FranchiseRe, wrote in a newsletter. “Moviegoing activity is improving, but Memory, as well as Blacklight and The Marksman, are hitting a wall.”

ABOVE & BELOW: Photos show movie posters of some of the top 10 picks for April

ABOVE & BELOW: Photos show scenes from ‘The Bad Guys’ and ‘Memory.’

ABOVE & BELOW: Cast members of ‘Father Stu’ in a group photo; and a scene from ‘The Lost City’

The eighth-place “Memory” was the only new wide release on a quiet weekend in theaters ahead of tomorrow’s release of Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The Walt Disney Co. release will effectively kick off Hollywood’s summer season, one the industry is hoping will approach pre-pandemic levels.

Studios last week trumpeted their summer slates at the industry convention CinemaCon, raising expectations for big-budget films like Top Gun: Maverick and Jurassic World Dominion.

The brightest spot in theaters currently continues to be Everything Everywhere all at Once, which dropped just two per cent in its sixth week of release with USD5.5 million. The film, an existential metaverse action comedy starring Michelle Yeoh, has had unusually long legs in theaters, and with USD35.5 million in sales so far, ranks as one of indie studio A24’s biggest hits.

Estimated ticket sales for tomorrow through Sunday at US and Canadian theatres, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures was released on Monday.

1. The Bad Guys, USD16.1 million.

2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2, USD11.4 million.

3. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, USD8.3 million.

4. The Northman, USD6.3 million.

5. Everything Everywhere all at Once, USD5.5 million.

6. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, USD3.9 million.

7. The Lost City, USD3.9 million.

8. Memory, USD3.1 million.

9. Father Stu, USD2.2 million.

10. Morbius, USD1.5 million.