‘Chevalier’ Makes Little Noise at Weekend Box Office

Chevalier (Credit: Searchlight Pictures)

The period drama Chevalier, about a celebrated composer and violin virtuoso born to an African slave and French plantation owner, made a muted debut this weekend at the box office.

The biopic centering on Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges in Marie Antoinette’s France, opened in semi-wide release with $1.5 million between Friday and Sunday, according to Comscore.

The Searchlight Pictures release played in 1,275 locations across North America for a per theater average of $1,176, and failed to make the list of top 10 earning films.

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In comparison, the 2021 royalty drama Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, debuted domestically with $2.1 million from 996 locations. Mary Queen of Scots, starring Saoirse Ronan opened with $200,000 in 2018, from four locations for a $50,000 per screen average. It went on to earn $46 million worldwide.

New Orleans native Kelvin Harrison Jr. leads the cast of Chevalier in the titular role. British-American actress Lucy Boynton co-stars as Marie Antoinette. The cast also includes Samara Weaving, Marton Csokas, and Minnie Driver.

In real life, Bologne was born in the French colony of Guadeloupe in 1745, to a wealthy French plantation owner and an enslaved Black teenager.

The musician moved to Europe and became one the continent’s earliest composers of African descent to receive widespread acclaim. Despite his many accomplishments, he has received little attention in the history books.

Chevalier had its world premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival and opened the Pan African Film & Arts Festival in Los Angeles earlier this year.

The drama currently has an 81 percent positive score on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics describing it as “fascinating,” “engaging,” and “lustily entertaining.”

Despite those glowing reviews, the drama only managed an 11th place finish at the box office.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie held onto the top spot after taking in another $58.2 million in its third weekend. The Universal Pictures release, based on the popular Nintendo video game, has grossed just over $434 million domestically and $871 million worldwide, according to Comscore.

Warner Bros. horror film Evil Dead Rise opened with a strong $23.5 million to take second place.

Guy Ritchie’s Afghanistan war drama The Covenant debuted in third place with a lackluster $6.28 million between Friday and Sunday. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a former U.S. Army sergeant who returns to Afghanistan to rescue the interpreter (played by Dar Salim), who saved his life from the Taliban.

John Wick: Chapter 4 was fourth with $5.7 million in its fifth week in theaters, bringing its domestic total to $168.8 million. Air rounded out the top five with $5.5 million in its third weekend in theaters.

Check out the box office chart from Comscore below.

Comscore Box Office Report for Sunday, April 23, 2023. (Credit: Comscore)
Courtesy of Comscore