As the box office prepares to settle into a September fade – albeit hopefully just a momentary one – there was nevertheless some excitement over the holiday weekend for number watchers. Could a slowly-dropping but still-hanging-on film that opened August at No. 1 also open September the same way? Could a re-release of one of the biggest films of all-time with additional footage launched into over 4,000 theaters grab fans’ attention all over again? Or could the biggest film of the year achieve something only five films have ever done in North America since 1980 and make a return to the top spot in its 15th week?
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Top Gun: Maverick has dominated the summer. As the season comes to an end, the film added another pair of remarkable achievements to its legacy. First up, Maverick reclaimed the No. 1 spot at the box office in its 15th week of release, an achievement held in the modern era by the likes of only E.T., Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop, Back to the Future, and Titanic. That is quite the list for Tom Cruise to join, let alone Paramount, who now owns half the films on that list. Top Gun: Maverick also has outgrossed all those films, as well as every domestically released film ever, save for only four. With Monday’s grosses, it will have reached $700 million, passing Black Panther to become the fifth highest-grossing domestic film of all time.
Focus placed acclaimed Sundance entry Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. in 1,882 theaters this weekend. And on Peacock. Not only has the film’s Tomatometer score dropped from 85% to 74% since the festival in January, but its opening weekend was a mere $1.44 million. That’s a per-theater average of just $765, the fifth-worst for a film this year opening in over 1,500 theaters ahead of Studio 666, Mack & Rita, Infinite Storm, and The King’s Daughter. That is also the second-worst PTA in the studio’s history (using that same criteria) ahead of only Profile, which was released in 2,039 theaters in May 2021 (just as theaters started to come back). That film opened to just $730,290 for a PTA of $359 and was not on any streaming service at the time.
Bullet Train was in the conversation for the top spot, and although it did not quite make it, David Leitch’s action comedy keeps chugging along. $7.3 million over the holiday weekend brings the film up to over $87 million. The $100 million-watchers certainly will not let it go, so did it make any significant strides towards that milestone? Well, we could say the film’s total currently sits between where The Princess Diaries 2 and Christopher Robin, which finished with $95 million and $99 million, respectively, were at the same period. Or we could say it is between it’s R-rated compatriots Collateral and Elysium, the latter being its shadow for several weeks. Michael Mann’s film got to $101 million. It also had the exact same release pattern as Bullet Train and made $6.4 million in its fifth weekend over the Labor Day holiday, which brought its total up to $88.89 million. Bullet Train is about a million behind that but nearly over a million for the weekend, so this could still be close. Christopher Robin made $7.2 million in its fifth weekend (also over Labor Day) and was at $87.6 million, finishing with $99.2 million. Bullet Train is not going to have much competition the next two weeks, and Robin fell out of the top 10 in the same period. So will the Train join its fellow hitman, Vincent Collateral (to all those who know him on Twitter), or is $100 million out of the question?
Fans came out for Marvel’s bonus scenes and made Spider-Man: No Way Home – The More Fun Stuff Edition third over the Labor Day holiday. Another $6.5 million estimated through Monday brings its domestic total to over $811 million. That is not going to do anything for its all-time rankings, as it will be stuck in third domestically behind Avengers: Endgame’s $858 million and sixth worldwide with $1.906 billion behind Avengers: Infinity War’s $2.048 billion.
Last week’s No. 1, The Invitation, fell far in the standings but not all that far in dollars. It went from first down to sixth place. The 29% drop was the second highest in the top 10 but not a long way to fall from its $6.8 million victory last week down to $4.8 million. Its total now stands at $15 million through the holiday. The steepest drop belonged to Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, which fell another 48% to $2.4 million over the weekend and $2.9 million through Monday, bringing its total to $35.6 million and a chance it will not double its opening weekend. As for other animated films, DC League of Super-Pets brought its total to over $80 million and is now beginning to outpace Disney’s Planes, so a total over $90 million appears to be in the cards, earning it the oddly specific distinction of being one of the highest-grossing late summer animated titles. Minions: The Rise of Gru became Illumination’s third film to pass $360 million domestically. It may still be $2 million behind The Secret Life of Pets’ pace, but its 10th weekend was $2 million ahead of what the studio’s highest-grossing domestic film did, so do not count it out yet.
The classic film that originally proved people would actually watch movies over the summer and not just go on vacation (or the one that at least scared them away from beaches and water) rejoined the top 10 this week. Steven Spielberg’s Jaws was released in IMAX and 3-D and earned $2.3 million over the holiday weekend. Universal’s new terror-on-land film, Beast, meanwhile, moved back into the top five with $4.8 million, bringing its total to over $26 million. The $36 million-budgeted film is approaching just $50 million worldwide. That is certainly better than the other Idris Elba film in theaters, George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing, with Tilda Swinton. That $60 million-budgeted fantasy dropped out of the top 10 in its second weekend and has only earned $5.7 million to date.
Next week, horror and action are going to take a shot at grabbing the No. 1 spot – if anyone is even aware they are opening, that is. Barbarian, from The Whitest Kids U’ Know’s Zach Cregger, is getting a release from Disney’s 20th Century Studios; it’s only their third theatrical release of the year after the long-delayed Death On The Nile and The Bob’s Burgers Movie. Can it do more than either Top Gun or Spider-Man? How about Medieval, the 14th century action tale starring Ben Foster? Or maybe the big surprise for the week will be Brahmastra Part One: Shiva? We’ve been seeing films from India make it into the top 10 all year. Could this be the one that shoots all the way to the top?
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
Thumbnail image by ©Paramount Pictures