The diminishing returns of September continue. A part two and three part threes have descended upon theaters this month, and now we also have a fourth entry nearly a decade after its previous installment. But the firepower of aged ‘80s action cheese was not enough to take out the evil convent-dweller that has led the box office for the past two weeks. Lionsgate spent $100 million on another Expendables film to achieve this result, which included critics pounding it with the worst reviews for any major wide release in 2023.
The winner of the past two weekends, The Nun II, dropped 41% to $8.5 million but managed to eke out a win over the weekend. Its 17-day total stands at $69.3 million, which has it right on pace with Insidious: Chapter 2 but with two million more for its third weekend. That puts this sequel’s landing right in the vicinity of $85 million domestic. The first film finished with over $365 million worldwide. This one is just over $204 million to date, but it is well into profit for Warner Bros.
The Expendables 4 (or Expend-Four-Bles) opened in second this weekend to a grand total of $8 million. The previous Expendables films opened to $34.8 million (Aug. 2010), $28.5 million (Aug. 2012), and $15.8 million (Aug. 2014). They received Tomatometer scores of 41%, 65%, and 33%, respectively, and cost $80 million, $100 million, and $90 million. The first two films were successes, the third was not, and the fourth is not looking too promising either. In Chicago, critics were not even told about screenings of the film unless they asked. Right now, Expend4bles sits at a paltry 15% on the Tomatometer, lower than Mafia Mamma and Love Again. No wide release in September opening to under $10 million since 2012 has reached $30 million domestic. Expendables 3 grossed just $39.3 million, so this one is already nearly $8 million behind that start. That leaves it in the hands of the international audience to turn a profit; the other entries have pulled in between $166-221 million worldwide. The fourth film is going to need at least $250 million globally to turn a profit, a number only the first two films cleared. As we wait for the overseas dollars to roll in, this one appears to be pretty, well, you know.
Taking an even bigger dive was Kenneth Branagh’s A Haunting In Venice, which fell nearly 56% in weekend two down to $6.3 million, giving it a 10-day total of $25.3 million. This puts its pace slightly ahead of George Clooney’s make-a-gun-on-the-run film The American, which had $24.2 million in the bank after a $5.6 million second weekend. That gives Venice an estimated landing somewhere between $35-40 million. An additional $23.6 million overseas is unlikely to elevate the mystery to where it needs to be to turn a profit and greenlight another mustachioed mystery.
The Equalizer 3 is still hoping to turn a profit for Sony; another $4.7 million in its fourth weekend brings its domestic total up to $81 million. That is actually right on par with where the Shia LaBeouf thriller Eagle Eye was back in 2008, though that film was pacing up with a $7+ million fourth weekend. Both of the previous Equalizer films were over $89 million at this same point and had nearly identical fourth shots of $5.38 million and $5.40 million. A number around $95 million is still very likely, though its international total is likely to betray its chances. At $58.7 million to date, the supposedly final entry may come up just short of its goal.
Barbie tried to boost its totals this weekend by getting booked in IMAX theaters, and the gambit worked for a moment. A 16% drop to just $3.2 million was good enough to survive another week in the top five, making it 10 straight weeks — a feat pulled off last year by Top Gun: Maverick and in 1989 by Ron Howard’s Parenthood. (Wonder Woman 1984 also did it in a barren theatrical pandemic landscape.) Only 14 other films have pulled off such a feat since E.T. in 1982, but some have already written off Barbie’s chances of getting past Jurassic World and entering the top 10 domestic grossers of all-time. Let’s take a quick look: Right now, Barbie is about $22 million behind Jurassic World’s final gross. At the end of the latter’s 10th weekend, it was at $637.9 million; Barbie is at $630.1 million. Barbie gained $1.9 million in its ninth weekend, and now another $2 million in its 10th. The bugaboo is that Jurassic World got its own little re-release on the weekend before and during Labor Day to boost its grosses, earning $6.3 million in those weekends alone. It ultimately had a 23-week run in theaters and made over $3 million in its final 10.
Universal may have seen the last hurrah for Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer in the top 10. It earned another $1.6 million, and its total now stands at over $321 million after 10 weeks. That puts it about $5 million behind the pace of Stephen King’s It after gaining nearly $1.2 million on that film’s 10th weekend. It is also about $6 million away from surpassing that film’s gross and becoming the fifth highest-grossing R-rated film of all-time. Worldwide the film is over $925 million.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is down to $2.7 million this week. At $23.5 million, it is looking to finish on the high-end of our projections last week of $25 million — not a great number on either side of the bread. Blue Beetle grossed $1.8 million and is just below $70 million domestic and only $123 million worldwide, making it over a $90 million loser for WB & DC. Losing far less is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, racking up another $1.6 million. Despite a domestic total of over $116 million, its $53 million overseas will not be enough to get this one into the black for Paramount.
For the first time in the company’s history, Neon opened a film in over 2,000 theaters. Earlier this year they put Brandon Cronenberg’s Infinity Pool into 1,835 theaters and it opened with $2.5 million. This weekend they put out the horror film It Lives Inside, and it began with $2.6 million. Unless word-of-mouth takes off like A24’s Talk To Me this summer, it is unlikely it will join the indie company’s trifecta of films to gross over $10 million (Parasite, I, Tonya, and Infinity Pool). Sony expanded their wall street comedy, Dumb Money, into 616 theaters this weekend and it grossed $2.4 million. That ups the stock to $2.7 million, and they are hoping to find new buyers with further expansions over the next couple of weeks.
A lot of films next week competing to hopefully end September on a high note. Gareth Edwards’ sci-fi epic The Creator is hoping for a big start to cover its $80 million budget. Saw V, VI, and Chris Rock’s Spiral were the only Saw sequels not to open at No. 1, and Spiral was the only one to open to less than $14 million (and that was during the pandemic), so can Saw X bring the series a bit of its former glory? And lastly, Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie will get a chance to grab those family dollars outside of the pandemic this time around and should be high on the list as well. Could it be the surprise spoiler?
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
Thumbnail image by ©Warner Bros. Pictures, ©Marvel Studios