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‘Argylle’ Misfires With $18 Million Opening as Box Office Stays in Slump

It’s not looking good for Universal/Apple’s “Argylle,” which is off to a sluggish start at the box office: an $18 million domestic and $35.3 million global opening weekend, amidst negative critical and audience reception.

That $18 million launch in North America is consistent with pre-release tracking, but is half of the opening of director Matthew Vaughn’s 2017 film “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” and only slightly above the $16.5 million opening of Amazon MGM’s Jason Statham action thriller “The Beekeeper” last month.

For Universal, this result is one they can easily shrug off, given that they are simply distributors on this film. But it’s not a good sign for Apple, which reached a distribution deal with Universal for the project as part of its plan to spend big on auteur-driven films that can raise the profile of Apple TV+ among both audiences and prospective filmmakers.

While it’s difficult to say whether Apple is getting what it wants out of films like Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated “Killers of the Flower Moon” and Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” — especially since Apple isn’t disclosing streaming subscriber numbers — “Argylle” was marketed as a more crowd-pleasing film than either of those movies and, as those who saw the movie discovered, has turned out to be a backdoor spinoff to the “Kingsman” film series.

But it’s not looking like audiences are interested in seeing more of Agent Argylle. Along with the film’s 35% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, “Argylle” received a C+ on CinemaScore. That’s the lowest grade ever for a Matthew Vaughn film. The only glimmer of hope for the movie is that it overperformed in major markets on Saturday, bumping opening weekend estimates up from $16.5 million to $18 million.

“Argylle” also isn’t doing much to pull the box office out of the frigid state it has been in since Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, as overall weekend grosses are set to stay in the same range as last weekend at $59-61 million. Next weekend likely will be the same as Focus Features’ “Lisa Frankenstein” will be the sole wide release on the historically slow Super Bowl weekend.

The only other major newcomer this weekend is Fathom Events’ release of “The Chosen: Season 4, Episode-1-3.” As the title suggests, it is the first three episodes of the new season of Angel Studios’ hit Christian streaming series, which fans have flocked to theaters to see together when new episodes first release.

Industry estimates have the episodes grossing $3.3 million from 2,200 theaters this weekend, the widest release by Fathom for a “Chosen” episode drop as the event film distributor plans to do a similar release for the next three episodes later this month.

But that’s not enough to crack the top 5, which aside from “Argylle” consists of films in their fourth weekend of play or later. Two musicals, Warner Bros.’ “Wonka” and Paramount’s “Mean Girls,” each hit domestic milestones of $200 million and $100 million respectively. That’s a victory for a genre that has performed inconsistently at the box office since the pandemic theater closures, though the films’ musical elements were concealed in their marketing.

“Wonka” is also a major win for Warner Bros., which went through a feast-or-famine year in 2023 with “Barbie” setting an all-time studio box office record while the DC franchise struggled ahead of its 2025 reboot. The Timothée Chalamet film is the first movie since “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” dominated the box office to pass $200 million domestic and $500 million worldwide.

Finally, Searchlight’s “Poor Things” and Amazon MGM’s “American Fiction” are showing solid holds in their second weekend since being nominated for Oscars. “Poor Things” added $2.1 million this weekend, dropping just 27% from the weekend prior as it now stands at $28.2 million domestic and $68.3 million worldwide. “American Fiction” dropped just 11% as it added $2.3 million, bringing its domestic total to $15 million.

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