2023 was an exciting year for films with smash hits at the domestic and international box office, including Barbie, Oppenheimer, Wonka, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie. The year gave the market two billion-dollar-earning pictures (worldwide totals) and many additional films that grossed over five hundred million dollars. 2023 showed immense promises for what the box office could look like post-pandemic.

Almost a quarter into the year, it is reasonable to reflect on what the 2024 Domestic Box office is shaping up to be. This year has already hit some setbacks, such as the lack of releasable content caused by major delays of multiple productions due to the SAG and WGA strikes of last year. However, that does not mean there have not been some surprise successes making some waves at the box office.

Back in January, a month regarded as a wasteland in the film calendar, the movie scene saw both minor hits and absolute letdowns. The month opened on a rough note with Night Swim, a horror film that never managed to secure the number one spot in the box office ranking. With a measly $11 million domestic opening, the film drowned compared to the 30 million dollars that M3GAN, a horror film from the same studio, made in the same weekend.

However, January was not entirely a horror show, as the weekend of January 12th brought forth two solid contenders: Mean Girls ($28 million domestic opening) and The Beekeeper ($16 million domestic opening). Mean Girls was a movie set initially for a Paramount Plus release, but with its pivot to a theatrical release, it was able to garner $72 million domestically. The Beekeeper came in second for the weekend but achieved steady success, hauling in 65 million domestically with a budget of only 40 million. The month had a couple of other films open; however, they had little success. Those titles included I.S.S. ($6 million domestic total) and The Book of Clarence ($5.6 million domestic total).

Unlike January, February could not gift the box office any success, with most films bombing spectacularly. The only bright spot was Bob Marley: One Love, a biopic based on the life and music of the legend Bob Marley. The film opened over the long Presidents’ Day Weekend, getting a 4-day opening weekend haul of $33 million domestically. With drops of around 40% from weekend to weekend, the Bob Marley-centered film has earned almost $90 million domestically. These numbers look really good, especially when paired up against its opening weekend counterpart, Madame Web, a Spider-Man-based spinoff film. The movie has become widely memed, and to add to the embarrassment, it is currently sitting at a $41 million total, only $8 million more than the opening haul of Bob Marley: One Love.

Madame Web was not the only box office disappointment this month, with two Valentine’s Day-aimed pictures Argylle and Lisa Frankenstein significantly underperforming. Argylle, an ensemble-filled spy feature, has only brought in $44 million total despite a rumored budget of $200 million. Apple’s most recent release will not recoup any sort of investment. On a much smaller scale, Lisa Frankenstein also will not recoup its investment, with a total gross of $9 million domestically and a budget of $13 million.

As the quarter closed out with March, Dune: Part Two made a grand splash on the scene with an $82 million opening, doubling the opening gross of Dune: Part One back in 2021. The epic, led by Timothee Chalamet, has already topped the first film in the domestic box office, grossing $123 million, which will continue to climb as the film has only been out for two weeks. The film dropped in the 40th percentile from the first to the second weekend, a sign of a healthy blockbuster. The film did encounter some competition that second weekend with a Dreamworks Animation entry, Kung Fu Panda 4. The animated feature opened with $55 million domestic, the highest gross the series has ever seen. March is off to an extremely strong start with these two films. The rest of the month provided smaller films, including studio A24’s well-received Love Lies Bleeding. March’s final big release is Godzilla x Kong, opening on March 29. The movie is expected to perform moderately and is currently tracking to open between 40 and 50 million dollars.

While the year is off to a rough start, the clouds are starting to open, and as the year moves into spring, the box office gems are appearing. As for the first quarter, it is nothing extraordinary, but with the success of both Dune: Part Two and Kung Fu Panda 4, brighter days are ahead.