The late summer/early fall box office woes continue. Though the new releases opened well on their own terms in this post Labor Day weekend (which was once set to have Salem’s Lot come out, alas it was delayed), they weren’t enough to keep this from becoming the year’s second worst grossing weekend. With an overall box office of $40.3 million, it comes in only ahead of the $34.9 million weekend of January 28-30, which didn’t have a single new wide release. If there’s a positive spin to put on the weekend, it’s that the newcomers overperformed slightly and the weekend fell less than expected, “only” dropping 28% despite larger than usual drops on the holdovers thanks to inflated grosses last weekend with the National Cinema Day $3 ticket promotion last Saturday. If the coming weeks’ releases such as The Woman King and Don’t Worry Darling hit their targets and then some, it could be enough to keep the box office from falling to new 2022 lows over the next month before Halloween Ends opens and ushers the industry out of the current slump.
Disney took the top two slots, first up with Barbarian from 20th Century Studios. The Airbnb horror film opened in a modest 2,340 theaters and became the first film in three weeks to hit the double digits, squeaking past with $10 million, which will hopefully hold when the actuals come out. All in all, a solid opening for the low budget (said to be under $5 million) film with no big stars (Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård and Justin Long aren’t box office draws). However, given the strong hook and exceptional critical response (92% on Rotten Tomatoes), there’s the feeling that it could have gone further with a little more marketing muscle. The C+ CinemaScore isn’t great, but isn’t a dealbreaker for strong legs, as we saw with Hereditary, another well reviewed (90% on Rotten Tomatoes) horror film with a poor CinemaScore (D+), which opened to $13.6 million and had a 3.2 multiplier with a cume of $44 million. We could see similarly long legs for a $30+ million finish, but though that’d be a great outcome, it wouldn’t be nearly enough to save the box office.
Coming in second place is the Bollywood-meets-Marvel fantasy film Brahmastra Part One: Shiva, with $4.4 million from 810 screens, giving it the weekend’s best per theater average with $5.4k. The film, produced by the Disney-owned Star Studios and led by Indian superstars Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, and Amitabh Bachchan, begins a planned cinematic universe and is one of India’s most expensive films at $51 million. The domestic opening is among the best ever for an Indian film, and Brahmastra had a global launch of $26.5 million, $18.9 million of that coming from India, making it the tenth biggest opening ever in its home market.
Bullet Train took third place, grossing $3.25 million in its sixth weekend. With a cume of $92.5 million, it should be able to leg out to $100 million, and it is now at $212 million globally.
After its spectacular return to number one last weekend, Top Gun: Maverick fell to fourth place this weekend with $3.17 million. That brings its cume to $705.6 million and its total weekends in the top five to 15 out of 16 total (seven of those were in the top two). Its global cume is now $1.453 billion, putting it past Frozen 2’s $1.450 billion and making it the 11th highest grossing film of all time worldwide.
DC League of Super-Pets took fifth place with $2.84 million, bringing its cume to $85.4 million after seven weekends. This was just ahead of the sixth place film The Invitation, grossing $2.62 million in its third weekend for a cume of $18.8 million.
Another notable opener is Lifemark, coming in seventh place with $2.21 million. The faith-based, abortion themed film has a 1,531 theater one week limited engagement release from Fathom Events. Kirk Cameron stars and the Kendrick Brothers (Fireproof, Courageous, and War Room) co-wrote the script with director Kevin Peeples. As for the weekend’s other wide release Medieval, it wiped out with $810,000 from 1,331 screens, coming in 14th place.
Barbarian (2022) $10 million ($10 million total)
Brahmastra Part One: Shiva (2022) $4.4 million ($4.4 million total)
Bullet Train (2022) $3.2 ($92.5 million total)
Top Gun: Maverick (2022) $3.1 million ($705.6 million total)
DC League of Super-Pets (2022) $2.8 million ($85.4 million total)
The Invitation (2022) $2.6 million ($18.8 million total)
Lifemark (2022) $2.2 million ($2.2 million total)
Beast (2022) $1.8 million ($29.3 million total)
Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022) $1.6 million ($362.3 million total)
Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) $1.3 million ($8.56 million total)