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A24 Scores Its Biggest Opening Day Ever

The box office is united behind “Civil War.” A24‘s dystopian thriller earned $10.7 million from 3,838 locations across its opening day and preview screenings, putting itself on track for a debut north around $26 million.

The debut figure represents the highest opening day gross ever for A24, besting the $5.1 million earned by 2018’s “Hereditary” in its first screenings. That horror feature still holds the record for the indie banner’s highest opening weekend ever, with a $13.5 million tally — a watermark that “Civil War” should be able to surge above before the end of Saturday. “Civil War” also gets a boost in sales from playing in premium-large format auditoriums like Imax.

It’s a record that the Alex Garland-directed war feature needs to break since it’s also the most expensive feature in the history of A24. “Civil War” cost $50 million to produce, plus additional costs for marketing and distribution. It’s the biggest scale project yet for the indie studio, after it raised $225 million from investors and received a $2.5 billion valuation two years ago.

Reviews have been strong for the R-rated “Civil War,” while early ticket buyers are much more divided, with audience survey service Cinema Score turning in a B- grade. A24’s top domestic grossers of all time include best picture winner “Everything Everywhere All at Once” ($77 million), “Uncut Gems” ($50 million), “Lady Bird” ($48.9 million) and last year’s horror breakout “Talk to Me” ($48 million). With the hope of landing among those top performers, “Civil War” will need to work as a conservation starter to keep selling seats in the weeks ahead.

Kirsten Dunst leads “Civil War” as a photojournalist navigating a brutal conflict between the American government and seceded forces. Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaney, Nick Offerman and Stephen McKinley Henderson also star. Garland writes and directs.

After two weeks on top of domestic charts, “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” will slide to second place after earning $3.9 million on Friday. That’s down 52% from its $8.5 million second Friday last week. The monster mash will push beyond $150 million domestic Saturday to go along with more than $225 million overseas. It’s on track to surpass “Kong: Skull Island” ($168 million) to become the second-highest grossing kaiju entry from Legendary Entertainment and Warner Bros., behind only 2014’s series launch “Godzilla” ($200 million).

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” looks to land in third place, projecting a 40% fall from last weekend. Sony’s supernatural comedy is inching closer to $100 million domestic, now moving past $92 million. To compare, after four weekends of release in 2021, the predecessor “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” had reached $117 million domestic, on its way to a $129 million finish. “Frozen Empire” will see some downturn from those numbers when it’s wrapped up its own run.

Universal will take fourth place with DreamWorks Animation fourquel “Kung Fu Panda 4,” eyeing another impressive hold (-33%) to push its domestic total to $173.4 million.

The studio also gets to claim fifth place with “Monkey Man,” projecting $4.5 million for its sophomore outing, down 56% from its opening weekend.

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