"The Bad Guys," an animated caper comedy featuring the voices of Sam Rockwell and Awkwafina, nabbed the top spot at the weekend box office in North America, besting competition from Viking warriors, fantastic beasts and Nicolas Cage.
The movie pulled in $24 million from more than 4,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada, exceeding expectations and signaling that families are feeling increasingly comfortable returning to theaters. (The film was distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of NBC News' parent company, NBCUniversal.)
"The family-friendly movie is back, and in a big way, as 'The Bad Guys' continues the winning streak for animated films aimed at attracting everyone from little kids to grandma, an audience that at one point during the pandemic was believed to be a no-show at the multiplex," said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, a company that tracks box office data.
Dergarabedian said the commercial success of "The Bad Guys" bodes well for coming animated releases aimed squarely at kids and families, including Pixar's "Lightyear," a "Toy Story" spinoff, and Universal's "Minions: The Rise of Gru," the latest installment in the "Despicable Me" franchise.
Paramount's "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" zipped to the No. 2 spot at the weekend box office with $15 million, bringing its cumulative domestic gross to an estimated $145.8 million. Warner Bros.' "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" slipped to No. 3, adding just $14 million to its $67 million cumulative domestic haul.
The weekend also saw the release of two more adult-skewing titles.
"The Northman," a bloody Viking epic starring Alexander Skarsgård, opened in theaters with $12 million from 3,234 domestic locations and landed in the No. 4 position. (The film was distributed by Focus Features, the specialty film unit of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)
Lionsgate's "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent," a meta satire starring Nicolas Cage as himself, grabbed $7 million from 3,036 locations in the U.S. and Canada — enough to take the No. 5 spot.
CORRECTION (April 24, 2022, 7:30 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the first name of the star of “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.” He is Nicolas Cage, not Nicholas.