The dog days of summer are upon us, and they may be for the box office as well. August occasionally offers some numbers in the first couple weeks, but the closer we get to Labor Day we get fewer breakout stories and more how we are headed into festival and awards season. The first week of August has had many successes over the years, and there was an opener this weekend hoping to become the 20th $100 million-grosser to open the month. It may need some some extra legs – or should we say additional tracks – to join the elite, though.
David Leitch’s Bullet Train is, of course, the aforementioned film hoping to reach $100 million; it opened to $30.1 million this weekend. That’s the 14th best August first weekender but the fourth best for an original property that is not a sequel or connected to one of the comic book universes. It’s also the best R-rated original film opening on this weekend, which feels like a bit of good news, but it already may be fighting an uphill battle towards that $100 million milestone. Its $12.6 million Friday normally would have suggested a higher start than $30 million. In the past, numbers like that (between $12.5-$12.7 million starts) have averaged out to a $35.5 million start. The two R-rated films on that list – Blade Runner 2049 and Bad Grandpa – opened over $32 million. Bullet Train’s numbers are more closely on par with The Dukes of Hazzard’s $30.6 million start; that film also had the lowest total gross ($80.2 million) among the 11 films on that list. Bullet Train is going to want to maintain a second weekend above $18 million if the $90 million-budgeted film will maintain a shot for $100 million. It will definitely be relying on its overseas sales to turn a profit.
This is very little positive to say about Easter Sunday this weekend. Firestarter opened to $3.8 million but was also available day-and-date on Peacock, and A24’s Men opened to $3.29 million. Easter Sunday, starring comedian Jo Koy, started with just $5.2 million this weekend. The $17-million budgeted film won’t suffer a huge loss, but not even hitting that number in gross, despite Men’s budget not being substantiated, would make it just the third film of the summer not to see its domestic gross at least match its reported budget, along with The Bob’s Burgers Movie and Paws of Fury.
As budgets go, the $68 million on Jordan Peele’s Nope has been reached, but remember that about half that money goes to the theaters, so it takes double and then some to achieve profit. Nope will hit $100 million this week after coming up shy by Sunday with a third week drop of 56% to $8.5 million. Last week we compared its numbers to Luc Besson’s Lucy. They are still closely aligned, but Nope has definitely taken a step behind it now after failing to match that film’s $9.4 million third weekend. Their 17-day grosses are nearly identical, so the low side of $120 million looks to be Nope’s ultimate destination. When it grabs another $50 million overseas, it should find itself out of the red.
A film that looks headed deeper into the red now is another bad story for DC this week after the Batgirl debacle. DC League of Super-Pets took a 51% dive down to $11.2 million, putting it on a collision course with Ice Age: Collision Course, which had a similar second weekend at $10.9 million. The Super-Pets’ 10-day gross is slightly ahead with $45.1 million, so we’ll set a final estimate somewhere between $65-70 million. Another late summer season animated film bites the dust with a $90 million budget. It will be the fourth film this summer not to earn back its cost.
The $300-million-and-then-some crowd continues to put up numbers. Thor: Love and Thunder is at $316 million after a $7.4 million fifth weekend, passing Ragnarok to be the highest-grossing standalone Thor film. That also has it sidling up to Spider-Man 3 numbers; that film made $7.7 million in weekend five and had grossed $318 million in the same period. If Love and Thunder is falling off at that pace, it could be settling in between $330-335 million. Minions: The Rise of Gru is already there and is going to best The Mighty Thor this summer. With $334 million in the bank after a $7.1 million sixth weekend, it continues a pace to outdo The Secret Life of Pets as Illumination’s highest-grossing domestic film to date. Speaking of all-timers, Top Gun: Maverick has now officially passed Titanic with all its re-releases. $662 million and counting means that Avengers: Infinity War is right around the corner ($678.8 million). Black Panther is still $26 million ahead of Maverick’s pace overall, but even that film had just a $4.7 million 11th weekend. $700 million is still very much possible, and Paramount will likely do whatever it can to make that happen.
Rounding out the rest of the top 10, we find Where the Crawdads Sing on a path similar to Crazy. Stupid. Love. with $64.6 million in the bank and besting that film’s fourth weekend by a $5.2-to-$4.7 million margin. $85+ million seems very much on track. The Black Phone passed that same threshold this weekend and is one of the summer’s great success stories. Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis will pass $140 million this time next week; it is over $250 million worldwide and is in the black as well. Then finally, out of the top 10, we have A24’s Bodies Bodies Bodies which launched in just six theaters this weekend with $227,000. That’s a $38,000 per-theater-average that ranks as the fourth best of the year behind Louis C.K.’s Fourth of July, Everything Everywhere All At Once, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The 91%-approved horror comedy will be opening wider next week after the studio’s Marcel The Shell With Shoes On has only pulled in under $5 million after seven weeks of a slow burn rollout.
Beyond Bodies Bodies Bodies getting a wider launch next week, the new additions to the box office could be pretty muted. Two friends find themselves trapped atop a radio tower 2,000 feet in the air in Fall. There is Diane Keaton in a reverse body switch movie where a young lady wishes to be a 70-year-old woman in Mack & Rita. Sundance represents with James Ponsoldt’s tale of young female friendship mixed with some horror, Summering, along with Aubrey Plaza in the credit card fraud thriller, Emily the Criminal. Finally, Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial will be re-released on IMAX screens across the country.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
Thumbnail image by Scott Garfield/©Sony Pictures Entertainment