The pre-Labor Day blues turned into Labor Day blues and now its time for the post-Labor Day blues. Theaters are not exactly rife with new offerings these days. So it is either a return to the popular scraps left by the summer or taking a chance on a new horror or Bollywood film. That was all there was for moviegoers and though both can say they did fairly well it is a small boost to what ultimately is another low for the box office this year.
Disney’s 20th Century Studios has not offered much to theaters this year. They finally got around to getting Death On The Nile and The Bob’s Burgers Movie out there, both of which were holdovers from pandemic delays. Most everything else went streaming to Hulu. But they got some positive buzz spinning for a new horror film, and instead of completely dumping it (early September is still a bit of a dump) they gave it a shot to make some decent money. Barbarian is no It or Insidious or even The Exorcism of Emily Rose, but it’s Certified Fresh at 92% on the Tomatometer and it hauled in $10 million when the studio probably would have been satisfied with five or six. That puts it more in the territory of the disappointing Blair Witch reboot from 2016. (Don’t take my word for it – just look at the 36% score on the Tomatometer or the D+ Cinemascore.) That film opened to $9.5 million and finished with just $20.7 million. Barbarian’s C+ with audiences is not great, but it probably means it gets closer to $25 million than 20.
We speculated last week that Brahmastra Part One: Shiva could have been strong enough to actually surprise and take the top spot this weekend, especially if Barbarian failed to connect. We weren’t far off, as the former got all the way to second place with a take of $4.4 million – not too shabby for opening in just 810 theaters. That’s a $5,432 per-theater average, which feels like a blockbuster showing in this box office glut.
After that, the rest of the top 10 contributed to the second lowest-grossing weekend of 2022 after the final week of January, when Spider-Man: No Way Home led the way with $11 million. That film was once again in the top 10 with “The More Fun Stuff Edition” and grossed another $1.3 million, bringing its re-release total to over $8.5 million. Sony’s Bullet Train managed to stick around in third place, grossing $3.2 million and bringing its total up to $92.5 million. It is now in a slow crawl towards the $100 million headline, but it has earned over $200 million worldwide, which means it’ll either end up a minor success or a minor disappointment.
Naturally, the big blockbuster of the year keeps soaring along as Top Gun: Maverick made another $3.1 million. This actually represented the largest fall for the film in 16 weeks of release. Its previous high was a 42.4% drop over its third weekend, when Jurassic World Dominion opened. (That film continues to inch its way to the billion dollar mark worldwide.) Ten of those other weeks, Maverick fell less than 25%. It marks the end of an incredible run that is likely done with making headlines and can just settle into being one of the biggest films of all time.
Fathom Events put out the latest faith-based film, Lifemark, from the director of several birth control documentaries and co-starring staples Alex Kendrick and Kirk Cameron. It grossed $2.2 million. The rest of the top 10 was about as sexy: Sony’s horror leftover, The Invitation, is now close to $19 million in three weeks. Beast will likely just inch its way over $30 million, but won’t cover its budget. Neither will DC League of Super-Pets, which may come in under $90 million domestic now and is at $165 million worldwide. The only success story left in there is Minions: The Rise of Gru, which would still love to get itself over The Secret Life of Pets’ total.
The box office could see its first little boost next week with the release of Viola Davis in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Woman King. The action epic has been getting some raves out of the Toronto International Film Festival (it’s currently at a perfect 100% on the Tomatometer) and seems poised to easily take the top spot. Ti West also unveils the secret prequel to X that he crafted with star Mia Goth. Pearl, which currently sports an 85% on the Tomatometer, drops into theaters from A24 after the first film made $10 million earlier this year. Disney gives Searchlight Pictures another chance in theaters with the period murder mystery See How They Run, with Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan, which stands at 73% with critics right now. Brett Morgan’s David Bowie documentary Moonage Daydream (and its 94% Tomatometer score) also drops into IMAX theaters next weekend.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
Thumbnail image by ©20th Century Studios