Box Office: ‘The Bad Guys’ leads quiet weekend with $16 million

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LOS ANGELES — Another weekend, another new Liam Neeson action-thriller in theaters.

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“Memory,” the actor’s nth COVID-era caper to play on the big screen, debuted over the weekend to $3.1 million from 2,555 North American cinemas.

Its eighth-place finish is a weak result, but one that’s close to Neeson’s recent theatrical releases like “Blacklight” ($3.6 million debut), “Honest Thief” ($3.6 million debut) and “The Marksman” ($3.1 million debut).

Since Open Road Films and Briarcliff Entertainment’s “Memory” is the only new nationwide release, last weekend’s champion “The Bad Guys” topped the box office again. In its sophomore outing, the Universal Pictures animated heist comedy earned $16.1 million from 4,042 locations, bringing its domestic tally to $44.4 million.

“Mr. Neeson’s pre-pandemic crime pics did well, including the successful ‘Taken’ series, but audiences are showing little interest now,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. At the same time, there appears to be a very loyal demographic that is willing to return time and time again to watch the hulking Neeson avenge someone’s death.

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Overall, it’s been a quiet weekend in theaters as Hollywood braces for Disney’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which opens in theaters next weekend. The Marvel film, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch and takes place after the events of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” is expected to deliver huge box office ticket sales.

In second place, Paramount’s family-friendly “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” added $11.3 million from 3,801 locations. After four weeks on the big screen, the “Sonic” sequel has grossed $160.9 million at the domestic box office. That means the film has officially surpassed its predecessor’s $148 million pre-pandemic box office tally. However, COVID-19 likely cut short the theatrical run for 2020’s “Sonic the Hedgehog.”

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“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” again took third place on North American charts with $8.3 million from 3,962 screens. The latest chapter in the “Harry Potter” prequel series is by far the lowest-grossing of the Wizarding World film franchise. “The Secrets of Dumbledore” has generated $79 million to date and faces an uphill battle to cross $100 million domestically.

Director Robert Eggers’ blood-soaked Viking epic “The Northman” and A24’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once” took spots four and five on domestic box office charts.

“The Northman” fell 49% from its $12 million debut, bringing in $6.3 million from 3,284 theaters. It has grossed $22 million so far.

In its sixth weekend of release, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” added $5.5 million from 2,200 cinemas, boosting its North American tally to $35 million.

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