Both star Jason Statham and director David Ayer are looking to rebound at the domestic box office, with the January-est of January releases, The Beekeeper. An action movie in which Statham plays a shadowy operative who also actually raises bees, The Beekeeper exceeded expectations domestically, debuting at the number two spot behind Paramount’s Mean Girls re-imagining. The movie grossed $16.7 million in its first three days of release, and is expected to generate around $19 million across the extended four-day MLK holiday weekend. The Beekeeper also opened in 49 international territories, where it grossed $20 million, putting the film's combined global debut at just under $40 million at 39 million.

Positive buzz, no pun intended, is probably helping the movie. The B-movie earned a respectable B+ CinemaScore from opening day audiences, and is currently sitting at a “fresh” 68% approval rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Audience reception is even more positive at 93%. Collider’s Nate Richard wrote in his review that Statham's “latest action bonanza has the right amount of silliness, violence, and grit.”

The action star has had a mixed run at the box office in recent years. In 2023, he starred in one of his least-successful films, Guy Ritchie’s crime caper Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre, which earned only $6.5 million domestically. He followed it up with Meg 2: The Trench, which delivered a nearly $400 million worldwide haul thanks to a strong showing in China. But all attempts to transfer the reins of the Expendables franchise to Statham with Expend4bles failed; the movie grossed around $50 million worldwide against a reported $100 million budget.

The Beekeeper’s strong opening also marks a much-needed win for Ayer after delivering the poorly-received box office smash Suicide Squad in 2016. The movie grossed around $750 million globally, but derailed Ayer’s promising career. He followed it up with the dull Netflix release Bright, and last helmed the little-seen gangster movie The Tax Collector, which was tainted by a poorly marketed release. A potential franchise-starter, The Beekeeper also stars Emmy Raver-Lampman, Minnie Driver, Phylicia Rashad, Jeremy Irons and Josh Hutcherson, who also recently experienced a comeback with the record-breaking Five Nights at Freddy’s.