BULLET TRAIN hit the brakes in its second week, earning only $13.4M which is a 55% drop from last week’s $30.1M opening. This is another clear sign that August will be an extremely slow month at the box office, with limited potential from new titles or holdovers. BULLET TRAIN was exhibitors’ last, best hope of the summer, but is now fading fast into the sunset. Sensing weakness, Paramount gave new life to its successful TOP GUN: MAVERICK release by increasing its number of runs and recapturing Premium Large Format screens at certain theatres.
They are also handing out to moviegoers a newly-created, free poster to commemorate it as the hit movie of the summer. After finishing in sixth place last weekend, Tom Cruise flew back up to number three this weekend with $7.15M, which was an amazing increase of 2% over last week. While Paramount deserves credit for seizing the moment, TGM’s resurgence in its 12th week speaks volumes about the lack of new movies in theatres that people want to see.
DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS finished second with $7.17M. It was once thought that PETS had the potential to earn $100M in its total domestic run, but it now seems that $75M is more likely. THOR finished fourth with $5.3M for the weekend.
As for new releases, A24’s horror comedy BODIES, BODIES, BODIES expanded from a very limited opening last weekend at only six theatres to a healthy 1,275 locations this weekend. Alas, it was only able to earn $3.25M in ticket sales which landed it in eighth place. A24 had hoped for more, especially given the weak competition, but it seems that $10M will be all it can muster. Lionsgate’s action thriller FALL opened in 1,548 theatres, but only earned $2.5M and a tenth-place finish. MACK AND RITA from Gravitas Ventures opened in 1,930 theatres, but only earned $1.1M and a disappointing 14th place finish. Finally, EMILY THE CRIMINAL opened in 473 locations with a gross of $540K, which placed it sixteenth on the box office charts. Within a few weeks, we expect all four of these new titles to have moved on from theatres. Even though Hollywood is offering up TITLES, TITLES, TITLES, audiences are not buying it…literally.
This point is further supported by the $1.1M in ticket sales for this weekend’s 40th-anniversary re-release of ET: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL exclusively in 389 IMAX locations. It’s only one of several high-profile re-releases ahead, including JAWS, SPIDERMAN: NO WAY HOME, and AVATAR. With no “bench strength” to call on to come into the game, studios are instead reaching for nostalgia titles to drum up some audience interest. Exhibitions are left holding the bag as distributors play out a self-fulfilling prophecy that August and September are bad months for moviegoing. Perhaps one or two of the hits released in the second quarter could have been held back until the last half of the summer to keep up the momentum of the recovery.