Some kids went back to school this week and evidently most everyone else stayed home this weekend. Traditionally August has usually had a hit out of the gate and maybe a steady flow of business as folks caught up on some of their late summer favorites. But these are still not entirely traditional times, and studios are just not delivering much at the moment to put butts in seats. Maybe everyone is at home on their couches watching Prey on Hulu. Whatever the case may be, a whole bunch of new movies opened, not all of them cracked the top 10, and the No. 1 film earned the lowest in this part of August in over 20 years.
Bullet Train did lead the way once again, but only with $13.4 million. How low is that? Bypassing the shutdown year of 2020, we have not seen a No. 1 in the first half of August that low since Paul Verhoeven’s Hollow Man led for a second week in August 2000 with $13 million. Before that, it was Saving Private Ryan’s fourth week atop the charts in 1998 with $13.1 million. Now some believe there is hope that David Leitch’s film can still reach $100 million, so let’s examine. After 10 days it has made $54.3 million. That puts it firmly between the grosses of Tropic Thunder and Collateral, which made $110 & $101 million, respectively. Hope springs eternal. However, both of those films grossed over $16 million in their second week after openings of $25.8 & $24.7 million. So these tracks are not in alignment.
As stated in last week’s column, Sony wanted a number around $18 million if the film had the bare minimum of hope to cross nine digits. Tropic Thunder and Collateral each had solid word-of-mouth and drops between 34-38% in their second and third weekends. This weekend, Bullet Train barely bested their third weekends of $11.5 & $10.1 million. Last week we also compared the Brad Pitt numbers to The Dukes of Hazzard feature, which ended up with just over $80 million. This week, Bullet Train fell behind even that film’s pace. Hazzard had $57.4 million after 10 days and a $13 million second weekend. Even with a lackluster marketplace on the horizon, those numbers are still going to fall, even if it sticks around in the top five until mid-September. Not even Sony thought that Bullet Train would be in a horserace with Where The Crawdads Sing to the finish line. The latter, which scored 34% on the Tomatometer, is up to over $72 million and is slated to finish its run around $80 million. If Bullet Train keeps its total above $6 million next week its estimate will likely go up.
Just about any of the new films released this week could go under this category but the title goes to the Diane Keaton-led Mack & Rita. Released in 2,000 theaters, the film grossed a paltry $1.09 million for a per-theater-average of just $567. That is the second-worst PTA of 2022 for a film released in over 2,000 venues, behind Studio 666 ($668) and ahead of only The King’s Daughter ($334). The film scored a 26% with critics but an even worse “D+” with moviegoers surveyed through Cinemascore. Only 10 other films have received lower than a “C-“ since 2018, and this is the second “D+” of 2022 after Alex Garland’s Men received one in May.
Checking in on a couple of those films moviegoers may still want to catch up with, we have Jordan Peele’s Nope, which crossed the $100 million mark during the week. Another $5.3 million this weekend brings its total up to $107.5 million. That is a bit of positive news as we have been comparing its numbers to that of Luc Besson’s Lucy, and this week Nope finally began to take the lead, as the two films’ 24-day numbers are closely aligned, but Lucy made only $3.4 million in its fourth weekend, suggesting Nope’s numbers could come closer to $130 million when all is done. DC League of Super Pets right now is looking at somewhere above Monster House-type numbers with $7.17 million this weekend and a total of $58.2 million. That’s a little over a million ahead of House’s third weekend and 17-day haul, upping League’s final estimates from last week up a full $10 million to $75-80 million (which is still well below its $90 million budget).
Top Gun Maverick certainly did not take a dive this weekend. In fact it actually went back up, with $7.15 million. That is an increase from last week to bring its total up to $673.8 million. That may still be $20 million behind where Black Panther was in its 12th week, but Maverick more than doubled what the Marvel film made on that same weekend and it is closing in on becoming just the sixth film ever to gross $700 million. Paramount also had the Indian remake of Forrest Gump, Laal Singh Chaddha, which grossed $1.4 million in 516 theaters for a $2,713 per theater average.
Two of the other big hits of the summer continue to add to their totals, though Minions: The Rise of Gru may have had a slight setback in challenging The Secret Life of Pets as Illumination’s top-grossing domestic film. While just $3 million behind pace after its seventh weekend, Rise of Gru’s $4.9 million fell behind Pets’ $5.8 million frame. Don’t rule it out, though, as Minions will probably stick around the top 10 until mid-September. Thor: Love and Thunder crossed $700 million worldwide this week. It is still over $130 million behind Ragnarok’s total despite besting it in North America. It does have the 10th best domestic total ever for a July release after 38 days, and it does have a shot at reaching $350 million, as it is very much in alignment with the first Minions film’s sixth weekend ($5.14 million) and is about $13 million ahead of where that film was, and it ultimately finished with $336 million. The Rise of Gru, meanwhile, is nearly at $800 million worldwide.
A24’s Bodies Bodies Bodies, which premiered to acclaim at SXSW (it remains Certified Fresh at 90%) and opened in six theaters last week with the fourth-best per-theater-average of the year, did not get the wide audience it wanted this weekend. In 1,275 theaters, the film grossed just $3.2 million, which is actually about on par with the studio’s wide releases in terms of averages. While Hereditary ($4,580), Spring Breakers ($4,401), and The Witch ($4,301) remain their best for films released in over 1,000 screens on their first or second weekend, Bodies Bodies Bodies’ $2,520 PTA fits in with Mid90s ($2,473), The Green Knight ($2,434), Midsommar ($2,423), and It Comes At Night ($2,364). If only they were able to get Marcel the Shell With Shoes On into that category, but its release peaked at 821 theaters in its sixth week of release and then lost 40% of those screens the following week; it’s going to gross less than $6 million.
Also new this week was Lions Gate’s first theatrical release since April’s The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. The survival film Fall opened in 1,548 theaters with just $2.5 million for a $1,618 PTA. The studio has not had a PTA over $3,000 since Knives Out in 2019, and that film’s sequel is headed to Netflix. Last week’s Easter Sunday fell out of the top 10 just behind Fall, bringing its total to $9.9 million. And, finally, the IMAX re-release of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial grossed $1.1 million in only 360 theaters for a $3,055 PTA, just a bit higher than Bullet Train’s, which gave it the highest PTA in the top 10 this week.
Next week, Universal hopes to steal back the top spot at the box office with Idris Elba and some lions when Beast opens. The Ghost and the Darkness with Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer opened to $9.2 million way back in 1996. A No. 1 finish over Bullet Train would tie Universal with Disney for the most victories atop the box office this summer with five.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
Thumbnail image by Scott Garfield/©Sony Pictures Entertainment