‘Lisa Frankenstein’ fails to revive North American box office on a very slow Super Bowl weekend

This image released by Focus Features shows Kathryn Newton, right, and Cole Sprouse in a scene from "Lisa Frankenstein." (Michele K. Short/Focus Features via AP)

“Lisa Frankenstein” didn’t come to life at the North American box office in its first weekend in theaters. The horror comedy written by Diablo Cody and starring Kathryn Newton and Cole Sprouse earned $3.8 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. It debuted in second place on a very slow Super Bowl weekend, behind the spy thriller “Argylle.”

Matthew Vaugn’s “Argylle” got first place with only $6.5 million, which brings its running domestic total to $28.8 million in two weekends. The $200 million production is Apple’s first major theatrical flop. Universal Pictures oversaw the North American release for the streamer, where it is playing in 3,605 locations. Globally, it’s earned $60.1 million to date.


Focus Features released “Lisa Frankenstein” in 3,144 locations. A 1980s-set teenage riff on Mary Shelly’s classic tale, “Lisa Frankenstein” was the directorial debut of Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda Williams. Reviews overall were mixed to negative with a 49% on Rotten Tomatoes. AP’s Mark Kennedy wrote in his review that it was “a real monster — stitched together from previous movies, painfully incoherent and deeply, deeply dumb.”

Audiences were mostly female (61%) and under the age of 35 (71%), according to exit data. But while the opening weekend was low, the production budget was also relatively modest at a reported $13 million.

The movie is set in the same universe as “Jennifer’s Body,” which was written by Cody and directed by Karyn Kusama. That film underwhelmed on its release in 2009 with critics and audiences but has gained appreciation and a cult cache in the past 15 years.

“The Beekeeper” landed in third place in its fifth weekend with an additional $3.5 million.

The faith-based “The Chosen” series, showing its fourth season’s first three episodes, placed fourth with $3.2 million while “Wonka” rounded out the top five with $3.1 million.

Overall, it’s likely to be the slowest weekend of the year to date with around $40 million industry-wide down nearly 25% from last year.

The big football game isn’t entirely to blame either — in the years prior to the pandemic, the same weekend was able to generate over $75 million. In 2009, the Liam Neeson movie “Taken” went head-to-head with the Super Bowl and made $24.7 million. And in 2015, “American Sniper” brought in $30.7 million.

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