Barbie and Oppenheimer returned to the front of the pack this weekend, while last week’s newbies took a bit of a dive. This week’s new film may have wished it took the Gran Turismo route and pushed back to Aug. 25. However, new records have been forged and the box office had its second best August week post-pandemic. Kids are going back to school this week and the autumn fade is coming soon, so let’s continue appreciating some of these numbers as we wind the summer down.
Barbie is No. 1 again for the fourth straight weekend. It’s only the third film of 2023 to achieve that after the continuation of Avatar: The Way of Water’s run and The Super Mario Bros. Movie — we’ll get to the latter in a second because congratulations are in order. Greta Gerwig now stands alone with the highest-grossing film ever directed by a woman both domestically and worldwide with over $1.18 billion — the 25th highest ever. In only four weeks. The film’s $33.7 million ranks as the eighth-best fourth weekend in history, though it is here we see the films it is chasing push back a little.
Barbie took only 22 days to reach $500 million, while Top Gun: Maverick took 30 and Mario took 31, so it still has a solid pace in the chase. But in their fourth weekends, Barbie fell 36%, while Mario dipped just 31.9% to $40.8 million and Maverick fell a mere 13.9% to $44.6 million (the third-best fourth weekend ever). Oh, don’t worry, Mario does not have a chance against Barbie, which boasts a $66 million lead after 24 days of release. Even with Mario’s full fourth weekend (extending its run to 26 days), Barbie is still up $35 million. In other words, $600 million is in Barbie’s future, as those two films will begin closely matching weekend-to-weekend going forward. Maverick is another flight path.
It is true that Barbie is pacing $59 million ahead of Top Gun at the moment. At the end of 24 days, Barbie will have made more than Maverick did in 31. However, weekdays are going to get a little weaker, and Maverick had fifth and sixth weekends of $29.6 million and $25.8 million, which are likely to chip away at that lead. Cruise’s film also spent a whopping 21 straight weeks in the top 10, and we are only on week four with Barbie. Ten weeks for Barbie is a pretty safe bet, and then it will depend on its own drops and how fast those September releases fall off. Gerwig’s film has the eighth-highest gross ever for a film after 24 days. All the films in that top 10 hit $600 million. Black Panther and Top Gun: Maverick are the only films not in that top five to reach $700 million. As Barbie this weekend is more closely aligned with the same weekends for Avengers: Infinity War ($29.4 million) and Jurassic World ($29.2 million), its landing right now is looking somewhere between $610-625 million. It will need $623+ million to enter the top 10 domestic grossers of all time.
It’s never a good day to be Dracula, but the vampire in full bat-creature mode within The Last Voyage of the Demeter will not have much daylight for its theatrical run after earning just $6.5 million this weekend. Universal dropped $65 million on its previous revisionist Nosferatu film Renfield earlier this year and only saw a $26.3 million worldwide return. Now its Captain’s Log fan fiction from Bram Stoker’s novel with a Rotten Tomatometer score is not going to do much better on a $45 million budget. Last year’s August vampire tale, The Invitation, opened to $6.8 million and reached $25.1 million. Meg 2 is not exactly tearing it up in theaters, but rescheduling this one from late January this year was likely not the best play.
Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer took the smallest drop in the top five this week (35.4%), down to $18.8 million, which was good enough for second place. That brings the three-hour biopic’s total to over $264 million, making it the ninth-highest gross for an R-rated film and the 15th best 24-day total for a film released in July, putting it roughly $32 million off the pace of The Secret Life of Pets. Its connection with the animated film is a similar fourth weekend of $18.9 million and could suggest a path as high as $340 million domestic. Oppenheimer’s weekend was about $300,000 higher than Inception’s fourth — a film it is outpacing by $37 million. The film still looks to be in line with last week’s estimate of $310-330 million, while it is about to pass $650 million worldwide.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem fell 43.8% to $15.7 million in its second weekend. That brings its total over $72 million with some good news, since only one film opening in August with at least $66 million in its first 12 days failed to reach $100 million. It just happened to be the Seth Rogen-produced Sausage Party, but those odds are still very good. The bad news is that $15.7 million is the fourth-lowest second weekend among those 30 other films that achieved that goal, ahead of only Sausage Party, American Wedding, and Annabelle: Creation. A tad over $100 million domestic will not mean much with the low international returns, which currently amount to just $21.9 million. It is going to need somewhere around $240 million worldwide to break even, and it is not even halfway there yet.
Over onto Meg 2: The Trench, which had the biggest fall in the top 10 at 57% and watched its surprising $30 million gross last week shrink to just $12.7 million. That brings its domestic total to over $54 million, which does not fit the Turtles threshold for hitting $100 million. Last year’s Bullet Train was the first August release since 2013’s The Butler to reach that milestone after grossing less than $55 million in its first 10 days. Bullet Train also benefited from a lack of competition and just kept chipping away while not having a drop higher than 56% until its 12th weekend. Meg 2 is headed for somewhere between $72-82 million domestic and will need to be bailed out internationally, where it currently is on its way $202 million. If it can get that number to over $300 million, it will give Warner Bros. a win.
Disney’s Haunted Mansion is down to just $5.6 million in its third weekend. The $157 million production has grossed just $52.8 million domestic and $75.5 million worldwide. No fuzzy math here, as this is one of the biggest flops of the year. Meanwhile, Sound of Freedom made another $4.8 million this week and has now outgrossed Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One finished its fifth weekend with $4.2 million, bringing its total to over $159 million. It crossed half a billion worldwide this weekend but is still well below what it needs to recoup its production and marketing costs (roughly another $360 million).
A24’s Sundance pickup Talk To Me added another $5.1 million to its run, bringing its total over $31 million and making it the fifth-highest domestic grossing film in the studio’s history behind Everything Everywhere All At Once, Uncut Gems, Lady Bird, and Hereditary. Searchlight, meanwhile, missed its window on Theater Camp, which lost 145 theaters this week after its biggest expansion last week. It earned $257,000 and has grossed $3 million to date.
Warner Bros. tries to end its DC funk with Blue Beetle this week. There are optimistic projections ($30 million) accompanying low-end ones (below $20 million). High-end would win the week, while low-end would then hit second if Universal’s foul-mouthed dog comedy, Strays with Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx, doesn’t surprise with its own high-end projections ($25+ million). Low-end for Strays would make it third, with both films besting Oppenheimer’s fifth week. How far Barbie falls could ultimately determine if the stars align for its own fifth straight week at the top. In limited release also look out for Laura Moss’ creepy Frankenstein tale, Birth/Rebirth, which premiered at Sundance and carries a 94% from critics currently.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
Thumbnail image by ©Warner Bros.