Austin Butler and Tom Hanks in 'Elvis'

Austin and Tom are in a movie.

Warner Bros.

Elvis opened strong with a $30.5 million Fri-Sun debut, right next to Top Gun: Maverick's huge fifth-weekend gross. The final domestic box office figures will be released tomorrow and they are both winners. The Tom Hanks co-starring music biopic benefited from the Tom Cruise-led sequel. A good trailer is one of the best ways to get people to watch a movie before it hits the theaters. Before The Force Awakens, think of the Deep Impact tease attached to Titanic. The Warner Bros. flick got a last-minute shot in the arm when Top Gun: Maverick soared past $520 million domestically. The trailer for Top Gun 2 was shown before most shows.

The movie was sold out by WBD. The IMAX-friendly trailer for Elvis has been playing before several big movies since President's Day weekend, including The Batman, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and, of course, Top Gun: Maverick. The performance of the film is suggestive of a pre- Covid normal where live-action musicals were among the safer theatrical sub- genres. Before Covid, we had the likes of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, La La Land, The Greatest Showman, and A Star Is Born. We had West Side Story, In the Heights and Dear Evan Hanson. Universal's Sing 2 soared to $400 million despite Disney's Encanto stumbling with $250 million global.

Like Freddie Mercury, Ice Cube, and othermarquee characters before him, Elvis Presley is a lovable character. Tom Hanks was cast as a high concept character. It was a calculated bet that the role skewed opposite to Hanks was a good one. Some of the pans made the film seem like a must-see hallucinogenic acid trip, while Austin butler, who will star in Dune part two, got a positive review. It is refreshing to see that this works in our current theater environment. Over the last two years, Elvis has opened the biggest non-action drama.

It's a good coincidence that this comes a decade after Magic Mike opened. Warner Bros., when it is on its game, is better than any other studio in Hollywood at turning lesser-known movies into blockbusters. If Elvis doesn't drop dead after this opening, and decent reviews, an A- from Cinemascore and a lack of adult-skewing biggies for the rest of the summer suggests it won't, its strong debut stands alongside the likes ofGravity, American Sniper, and San Mama Mia: Here We Go Again made $111 million from a $35 million debut and Elvis made $100 million domestic. It will end with $112 to $125 million if it is legs like Rocketman or Queen. Straight Outta Compton's $65 million price tag makes it an $85 million domestic hit.


Gwen Shaw andMason Thames are in The Black Phone.

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Ted opened with over fifty million dollars and Magic Mike opened with over twenty million dollars. The Black Phone opened with over twenty million dollars in the US. The 70’s set chiller about a kidnapped boy who gets help from the killer's previous victims was supposed to open in 2022. The film was kept until this weekend due to strong festival buzz and reviews. The reviews and word-of-mouth, along with the Blumhouse brand name, and themarquee value of Scott Derrickson, who helmed Doctor Strange, Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, are all credit to the reviews and word-of-mouth. We need to distract ourselves from the real-world horrors by watching it.

Even legs on par with Lights Out get it to $70 million domestic, and even legs on par with Don't Breathe get it closer. Happy Death Day, which overperformed on opening weekend partly thanks to opening on Friday the 13th and finished with $56 million after a $26 million launch, but I won't mourn The Black Phone, is a terrific film. It has made $35 million. This could have been the first weekend since July of 2016 where the top five movies all earned $20 million, but since Pixar's Lightyear crashed and grossed just $18 million, it'll have to settle for being the first weekend with four $20 million grossers. That is not a Hollywood problem.

'Marcel The Shell With Shoes On'

Marcel the Shell has shoes on.


It was launched into six theaters by A 24. The film adaptation of Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate's short film series earned $169,606 on opening weekend. The average for a live-action/animated coming-of-age family movie is over $30,000 per theater. On July 15 it goes wide and is very good. I am curious as to if it gets a Cinemascore grade when it goes wide, if only for the comic value of this genuine crowdpleaser getting like an A and "clashing" with A 24's usual brand. There was a lot of people at my local movie theater on Friday. If studios release movies into theaters, people will go to those theaters to watch them.