“Bullet Train,” a John Wick Ian wagon with Brad Pitt in the aisle seat, hit theaters with $30.1 million in its opening weekend. That’s enough to top the domestic box office, but it’s an average result given “Bullet Train’s” $90 million price tag and Pete’s star power. The release of Sony Pictures will need to maintain momentum in the coming weeks as it tries to break even or take profit.
“A big movie like this should have come out with a lot of expectations for a stronger debut,” says Jeff Bock, senior media analyst for Exhibitor Relations. “However, there is not a lot of competition in August so ‘Bullet Train’ should have a good window to make its mark in the coming weeks.”
“Bullet Train” attempts to prove that a motion click not based on a known characteristic can defy the odds and resonate with the masses. But part of the film’s problem is that the critics weren’t on board. “Bullet Train” has an average approval rating of 54% on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, with many reviewers mistaken for the film to be overly derivative. diverse Senior film critic Peter Debruge mixed in “Bullet Train,” writing that “neither the characters nor the film they inhabit are particularly deep.”
“Bullet Train” was directed by David Leitch, who previously worked as a stunt double for Pete before moving on to oversee the likes of “Atomic Blonde” and “Deadpool 2.” The film revolves around an arrogant killer whose mission is to capture a bag full of cash on a high-speed train in Japan, and turns into double crosses and brutal battles with an army of rival killers, thieves and delinquents.
Universal and Amblin’s “Easter”, the other major release of the weekend, stumbled on its opening frame, bringing in $5.3 million to finish eighth on the domestic charts. Easter stars comedian Joe Coy as an actor attending his dysfunctional Filipino-American family’s Easter celebration.
The good news for Universal and Amblin is that Easter was a modest bet, with a price tag of $17 million. Comedies, once a reliable draw, have struggled at the box office in recent years. In fact, “Easter” is the only studio comedy to hit the stage this summer, which is an indication of just how declining the popularity of the genre has been.
The animated show “DC League of Super-Pets” from Warner Bros. Second place with $11.2 million. Two weeks later, Super Beats boasts a domestic gross of $45.1 million, a disappointing result given the $90 million production budget. Under the company’s new owner, Warner Bros. Discovery is looking to transform its cinematic universe of DC Comics characters, a change of course that led to the company’s controversial decision this week to cancel Batgirl after the film was completed. Instead of debuting on HBO Max as originally planned or being recast for a theatrical show, the movie will now be a tax cut.
Universal’s “Nope” came in third with $8.5 million. This brings Jordan Peele’s thriller UFO to $97.9 million at the domestic box office, a great result for a movie that wasn’t derived from some pre-existing IP.
Disney and Marvel’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” and Universal and Illumination’s “Minions: Rise of Gru” were in the top five, earning $7.6 million and $7.1 million, respectively. This brings the total MCU adventure credit to $316.1 million, while the sub-game “Despicable Me” earned $334.6 million domestically.
In a limited edition, “Bodies Bodies” grossed $226,526 on 6 screens in New York and Los Angeles, which came to an average of $37,754 per screen. The horror film A24 follows a group of rich 20-year-olds at a hurricane party in a remote family mansion that has become the site of much bloodshed. The cast includes former “SNL” star Pete Davidson, and Amandla Stenberg of “The Hate U Give” and “Borat 2” singer Maria Bakalova.
In terms of highlights, Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick” replaced “Titanic” to become the seventh-biggest movie of all time at the domestic box office, grossing $662 million in ticket sales. The sequel, now in its eleventh week of release, has added $7 million to its total. The film is the highest-grossing release of Tom Cruise’s career, and thanks to a lucrative profit-sharing agreement, it is expected to leave him over $100 million richer.
The domestic box office has seen an impressive recovery in recent months; It’s a comeback fueled by hits like “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Jurassic World Dominion”. The bad news for theaters is that “Bullet Train” is the last big-budget studio movie this summer, and there’s about to be a real desert when it comes to popular fare. Studio directors and theater owners privately say there won’t be another hit until Black Adam opens in October. 21 or “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” debuts in November. 11. It’s a long time to wait, especially for the exhibition industry that is still trying to shake off the ongoing impact of the COVID lockdown and reduced attendance.
“We need to manage expectations,” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore. “The next three months will not be like the previous three. It will be a long time before we get another blockbuster movie.”