The Conjuring Universe came through this weekend to keep September off to a nice start, with $34 million for an Equalizer last week and a number in the vicinity of that for a nun this week. We got three sequels in a row, including two this week, with one of them hoping to just clear as much as the other two did in their opening weekends by the time it leaves theaters. Seems like those nice movies aimed at the older demographic just aren’t bringing them in this year. But splash a little horror and carnage on the screen, and it’s time to go to the movies.
At the time of its opening, The Nun had the second-highest September start ever ($53.8 million) just one year after Stephen King’s It took the record that it still holds today with $123.4 million. Apart from the Taylor Swift concert film, there may not be another film in September and October this year to gross that much. Nevertheless, The Nun 2 came in with $32.6 million in the post-Labor day weekend. That’s the 17th-best September start for those keeping count, and given what we know about the returns of horror films this month past their opening, it is unlikely to reach $100 million. Even the first film’s massive start only amounted to a 2.18 multiple, resulting in a $117.4 million domestic gross. Add in another $248 million worldwide, and it is, give or take, the second-most profitable release ever this month. That film carried a budget of $22 million. With another $52.7 million in global returns, this is already an easy profit for Warner Bros.
The Equalizer 3 is turning out to be a less easy profit. Despite some thinking this was already in the black after last weekend (remember around half the gross stays with the theaters), the $70 million budgeted film dropped 65% down to $12.1 million this weekend. That brings its total to $61.8 million domestic and $45.8 million internationally. That is more than $2 million below the first two films after 10 days, each of which just barely scraped over the $100 million line. The third film’s second weekend was also $2 million below that of the first sequel’s, suggesting that this one is not going to have enough in the tank to reach that number. As mentioned last week, none of The Equalizer films grossed over $100 million outside of North America, and this one is likely to follow suit, meaning Sony could be headed for a small loss on this one, smaller than the one on Gran Turismo, which finished its third weekend with just $3.3 million and a domestic total of $35.6 million. That film, modestly budgeted at$60 million, has still not hit $100 million total globally.
After the phenomenon that was the $241 million domestic haul for Nia Vardalos’ My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it took 14 years for a sequel to materialize. Most of its fans had moved on, though Greek Wedding 2 did open to $17.8 million and took in nearly $60 million with a more traditional domestic release strategy. Seven years later, Vardalos has brought My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 to theaters, and its estimated opening of $10 million showed there was no urgency to get out for a movie most streamers are putting out weekly. Paramount couldn’t get $40 million out of the pockets for the 80 for Brady demographic, and Focus (the distributor of Greek Wedding 3) failed to draw interest out of a sequel to Paramount’s Book Club, which couldn’t grab $18 million this summer. Focus was surely hoping it could get its first $30+ million grosser since last year’s Downton Abbey sequel, and it still just might, but this still feels like a disappointment for them.
Yash Raj Films’ Jawan grossed $6.1 million over the weekend in fourth place. The film is in just 827 theaters. It has made $7.5 million since its release on Wednesday. Rounding out the top five is Greta Gerwig’s Barbie as it continues to climb the all-time charts. Another $5.9 million brings its domestic total to $620 million, making little strides towards Jurassic World, which had a $3.9 million eighth weekend and a total of $631 million by the end of it. This is the gatekeeper to Barbie entering the top 10 domestic grossers of all-time.
Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer continues to chug away as well, with another $3 million this weekend, bringing its total to nearly $315 million domestic. Its international total stands at $890 million. Joker is the only “R”-rated film to gross more worldwide and the only one to ever cross $1 billion. Warner Bros.’ Blue Beetle crossed $63 million this weekend with $3.7 million. It also has not grossed its budget of $120 million yet (meaning it needs $240 million + P&A costs to break even). Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem made $2.6 million, getting its domestic total over $111 million. MGM’s Bottoms increased its run up to 1,265 theaters and it grossed another $2 million bringing its total to $7.6 million.
This week, Kenneth Branagh returns for a third time as Hercule Poirot in A Haunting in Venice. After the director’s version of Murder on the Orient Express grossed over $100 million, his Death on the Nile was delayed again and again by the pandemic and suffered as a result, grossing just $45 million. Will the adults show up for this one and keep a fine September going for theaters?
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
Thumbnail image by ©Warner Bros. Pictures