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‘Smile’ Overperforms With Great $22 Million, But It Can’t Turn The Box Office Frowns Upside Down As ‘Bros’ Flops

Paramount’s cleverly promoted horror film Smile may be full of terror and trauma, but it is the sole bright spot in the box office this weekend, opening to $22 million and coming in first place by a huge margin. The $17 million budgeted scarefest nabbed the best opening since Bullet Train nearly two months ago, beating out bigger budget and more hyped titles such as The Woman King and Don't Worry Darling. This is all from a film that was once planned to go straight to Paramount+, only changing direction and ultimately getting a 3,645 theater launch after a strong response from test audiences. Time will tell if it has the legs that The Black Phone had (grossing $89.9 million from a $23.6 million opening) and Barbarian is having (opening to $10.5 million and now at $33.1 million after four weekends, and that’s off a budget of just $4 million), but this is a great opening even if it it plays like a more typically frontloaded horror film from here. The better than expected hold following its $8.2 million Friday-plus-previews gross bodes well for its long term potential, as do the pretty good reviews (75% on Rotten Tomatoes) and the not bad for a horror film B- CinemaScore. Internationally the film grossed an additional $14.5 million for a global cume of $36.5 million.

‘Smile’ To Bring Screams & ‘Bros’ To Bring Laughs In Another Slow Weekend

This weekend and next weekend are the last two before Halloween Ends arrives to kick off the fall/winter blockbuster season and revive the box office, but until then the smaller titles are doing their best to keep the box office afloat. Last weekend’s $61.8 million overall box office cume may not have been good in absolute terms (before the pandemic it would have been the worst in decades), but it was the best weekend in over a month, and this weekend could see similar numbers with two new studio films leading the way. We’re almost out of the slump, and it turned out to not be as bad as expected.

‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Scores Best Opening In Five Weekends With $19.2 Million, ‘Avatar’ Brings In Another $10 Million In Re-Release

This is another weekend that would have been the weakest in decades before the pandemic but was relatively solid in the terms of the current post-summer box office slump. With an overall box office of $59.7 million (up 17% from last weekend), this is the biggest weekend in over a month, the first time since July there were three movies over $10 million, and “only” the ninth lowest grossing weekend of the year. The tentpoles won’t begin to arrive for another three weekends to lift the overall numbers back up, but individual films are generally performing solidly, if not exceptionally. In other words, though the main events are missing, the counterprogramming is doing well. This weekend and the previous weekend both had newcomers opening to nearly $20 million and saw none of the holdovers in the top ten fall more than 42%, and while the overall numbers are still dismal by normal standards, the drought-era is not as bad as many had expected.

Can ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ & ‘Avatar’ Re-Release Relieve The Box Office Blues?

The drought of tentpoles began in early August after the release of Bullet Train, and it will last until the mid-October release of Halloween Ends. Despite the lack of the main events, which has caused the overall box office to plunge below $60 million for four weekends straight and possibly three more to come, the season has had some solid counterprogramming, best exemplified by last weekend’s overperforming $19 million opening of The Woman King which should have strong legs given the film's exceptional word of mouth (including the rare A+ CinemaScore). This weekend, we get the release of Don’t Worry Darling, perhaps the season’s buzziest title, and it may be the biggest weekend gross for a film since Bullet Train’s $30 million debut seven weekend’s ago (the biggest since then is Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’s $21.1 million opening five weekends ago).Harry StylesFlorence PughOlivia WildeGemma ChanKiKi LayneNick KrollChris PineViola DavisJames Cameron

‘The Woman King’ Slays With Overperforming $19 Million Debut & A+ CinemaScore

Though the box office slump continues, it looks like the worst is over. The weekend’s $48.5 million overall box office is the fourth worst of the year, but it's around a 13% increase from last weekend’s $42.3 million, which was the year’s second worst weekend and may turn out to be the season’s weakest. This weekend is the first in September to perform better than the same weekend last year, which had an MCU title at the head of the month with little else to follow, and the buzz on Don't Worry Darling suggests that next weekend should see more growth. Of course, these low overall numbers are still bleak (keep in mind no pre-pandemic weekend dropped below $60 million since 2001), and the numbers will remain ugly until Halloween Ends opens in four weekends from now, but after seven of the past ten weekends declining, any improvement is a decent sign.

‘The Woman King’ To Reign Over Niche Releases

We’re still knee deep in the current box office slump, with five weeks left until Halloween Ends carries us out of it. However, after a better than expected $42.3 million overall box office last weekend (a 24% drop) and solid buzz on this weekend’s The Woman King and next weekend’s Don't Worry Darling, it looks like we may be able to weather the storm without hitting a new low overall weekend low for the year (January 28-30’s $34.9 million gross is the number to beat). This would only be a minor consolation, and we may not see a single weekend even get over $60 million until October 14-16, but having a few doubles and triples will tide theaters over until the upcoming season of homeruns and grand slams.

‘Barbarian’ Wins With $10 Million In Year’s 2nd Worst Weekend

The late summer/early fall box office woes continue. Though the new releases opened well on their own terms in this post Labor Day weekend (which was once set to have Salem’s Lot come out, alas it was delayed), they weren’t enough to keep this from becoming the year’s second worst grossing weekend. With an overall box office of $40.3 million, it comes in only ahead of the $34.9 million weekend of January 28-30, which didn’t have a single new wide release. If there’s a positive spin to put on the weekend, it’s that the newcomers overperformed slightly and the weekend fell less than expected, "only” dropping 28% despite larger than usual drops on the holdovers thanks to inflated grosses last weekend with the National Cinema Day $3 ticket promotion last Saturday. If the coming weeks’ releases such as The Woman King and Don’t Worry Darling hit their targets and then some, it could be enough to keep the box office from falling to new 2022 lows over the next month before Halloween Ends opens and ushers the industry out of the current slump.

‘Barbarian’ Could Be A Sleeper Hit In Dire Box Office Climate

The box office was up 5.9% last weekend, bolstered by the lure of $3 tickets on National Cinema Day on Saturday, making it one of just two weekends over the past eight weeks where the box office didn’t decline (though it was still the fifth worst weekend of the year). Unfortunately, the numbers will once again fall this weekend, likely below the year’s second worst weekend in the overall box office (January 21-23 with $46 million, around 17% below last weekend’s $55.2 million) but probably staying above the year’s worst weekend (January 28-30 with $34.9 million, around 37% below last weekend). We can expect larger drops than usual given the juiced grosses from National Cinema Day, but we still may see decent holds and openings this weekend. Still, there’s no denying the grim state of the box office. This may even be the third weekend in a row where no film hits $10 million, a modest milestone that only three weekends in the entire 2010s failed to reach but which nonetheless could be a difficult hurdle for most of the next five weekends. Halloween Ends, the next tent pole, is still over a month away, and until then every weekend will be a bleak forecast.

Holdovers, Re-releases, & $3 Tickets Keep Box Office Afloat Over Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend is not a shining spot for the box office, often known for being a dumping ground and among the year’s lowest grossing weekends. The rare exception is 2021, with the MCU film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings breaking the holiday weekend’s record as it opened to $75.4 million for the three-day and $94.7 million for the four-day and led to the overall three-day box office ($110 million) being the year’s fifth best. This year, it’s back to the status quo of the holiday weekend being stuck in the doldrums, and it is looking even more dire than usual. Estimates put the weekend at $53 million for the three-day (slightly above last weekend’s $52 million) and $62.3 million for the four-day, making it the worst Labor Day outing since the 1990s, leaving aside 2020 (for comparison’s sake, 2019 had a $91.7 million three-day and $121 million four-day gross). The three-day is the fourth lowest grossing of the year, and we may soon see the lowest grossing weekends since May 2021 due to the dearth of big new releases in the coming weeks.

Holdovers & Re-Releases To Rule Quiet Labor Day Weekend

Last weekend was the third lowest grossing of the year, bringing the box office to lows not seen since January. The 40% drop was the largest of the year for a weekend not following the release of an MCU movie, and that was despite three new films going wide. With no new theatrical exclusives going wide this weekend, we can expect another dip at the box office, though the holiday and the high profile re-releases should keep the box office from dropping as much as it did last weekend. Nonetheless, barring 2020, this will be the weakest Labor Day weekend since the 1990s, and this comes a year after the fourth highest grossing Labor Day weekend of all time, led by Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which broke the Labor Day Weekend record with its $94.7 million four-day gross. In contrast, nothing this weekend will even beat the top grosser of Labor Day weekend 2020 when Tenet grossed $11.6 million for the four day, and that was in the height of the pandemic before vaccines were available and theaters were still closed in many parts of the country. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

The Invitation’ In 1st Place With $7 Million In One Of The Year’s Worst Weekends, ‘Three Thousand Years of Longing’ Casts A Weak Spell With $2.9 Million

Expectations for this weekend were low, but it still feels like a disappointment as it dropped 34% from last weekend and became the year’s third lowest grossing at the box office. Despite three wide releases, the overall box office dropped to $52.1 million, making this the worst weekend since January and the first weekend since May 2021 where no film grossed over $10 million. The newcomers failed to spark and the top film from last weekend took a massive plunge in the final weekend of August, and while the month outperformed August 2021 (which had a $418 million cume compared to this month’s $451 million with still a few days to go), September may bring us to box-office lows we haven’t seen since the late May 2021 summer kickoff.

‘The Invitation’ To Lead Over ‘Three Thousand Years of Longing’ & ‘Breaking’ In One Of The Year’s Softest Weekends

After a 19% increase in the box office last weekend, which was the first upswing after five weeks of decline, the numbers will drop again this weekend which will likely be the lowest grossing of the past six months. It’s likely that no film will pass $10 million, a statistic we haven’t seen since May 2021, but unfortunately may see a few more times over the next month and a half. There are three new wide releases this weekend, all with potential, but none are likely to draw a huge audience as the box office drought continues.

‘Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’ Has Expectations Shattering $20.1 Million Debut, ‘Beast’ Has A Quiet Roar With $11.6 Million

After five weekends in a row of box-office decline and a gloomy season ahead, this weekend saw a bit of an upswing, led by the latest entry in the hugely popular anime franchise Dragon Ball. The overall box office came in at $72.5 million, up $8.2 million from last weekend, and while this weekend sits among the lowest grossing in recent pre-pandemic years, it was still above expectations and may be the best weekend we see for the next eight weeks.

‘Beast’ & ‘Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’ Look To Keep Box Office Afloat

After a top seven made up entirely of holdovers last weekend, the box office gets some new blood this weekend with the top spots likely to be held by Beast and Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, both of which could open in the double digits. These releases may not bring a boost to the overall box office, which dropped to $65.4 million last weekend, the lowest since February and worse than any pre-pandemic weekend since 2001. However, the two newcomers may be able to keep the numbers afloat after five weekends of decline, with the box office dropping by 28.9% last weekend.

‘Bullet Train’ Speeds Into First Place In Week 2 As Newcomers Open Soft

As the tentpoles go into hibernation for the next two months, this is the chance for the little guy to shine, no longer under the shadow of a steady stream of summer blockbusters. However, none of the three smaller films that opened wide were able to even crack the top five, and that’s despite a relatively low grossing set of holdovers. The overall weekend box office was $65.2 million, the lowest since February, and given the thin schedule in the coming months, this may be as good as it gets until mid-October when Halloween Ends releases.

The Season Of Smaller Films Begins As ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies,’ ‘Fall,’ & ‘Mack & Rita’ Go Wide

After a summer that was nearly back to normal vis-à-vis pre-pandemic levels, we are now on the verge of what will likely be the lowest-grossing two-month stretch since before the summer of 2021. While the steady supply of blockbusters gave audiences numerous reasons to return to cinemas over the past three months, the remainder of August and September have schedules that are even emptier than usual for these typically quiet post-summer months. There are no major releases coming until October, and while there may be some sleeper hits among the counterprogramming, it won’t be a surprise if nothing in the next two months opens above $20 million and grosses above $50 million. The strong winter slate may bring a final end to the “pandemic-era” box office woes, but for now distributors and theaters must hope that some of the audience that came out for the tentpoles will also show up for the smaller films, which have largely struggled since the pandemic began.

‘Bullet Train’ Right On Track With $30.1 Million, ‘Easter Sunday’ Needing Prayers At $5.25 Million

The unofficial final weekend of the summer box office came in with a total of $91.5 million, $6.2 million below last weekend, making it the weakest since May. The bad news is that this will likely be the best weekend until mid-to-late October. While the next few months may have a couple sleeper hits, the slate for the remainder of August and September is the weakest since early Spring 2021, before the semi-post-Covid “reopening” in the summer. The strength of the holdovers should keep the overall box office at decent levels for a few more weeks, but we may soon see the lowest overall weekend numbers since before Summer 2021.

‘Bullet Train’ To Zoom Ahead Of Competition As Summer Comes To An End

The summer is having its last stand for big studio movies this weekend with Sony’s Bullet Train, the comic action-thriller starring Brad Pitt. Based on the bestselling Japanese novel by Kōtarō Isaka, the film is set on the world’s fastest train between Tokyo and Kyoto. Pitt plays an assassin who wants to retire but is roped in to get his hands on a briefcase on the train only to discover that various world class assassins are on the same train with interconnected missions. David Leitch (former stuntman for Pitt as well as director of Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Nobody, and uncredited co-director on the first John Wick) directs, and the large cast also includes Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Brian Tyree Henry.

‘DC League of Super-Pets’ Catches Solid $23 Million Opening, ‘Nope’ Falls 58% For $18.5 Million Second Weekend

July is at a close, and a look back on the month and a look forward at the months ahead gives a mixed portrait of the box office. The total box office for July came to roughly $1.13 billion, making it the first month to gross over $1 billion since December 2019 and not far behind a typical summer month from before the pandemic. This should be seen as a positive sign for the box office as a whole, even though the summer came down from its peak much faster than usual, with the last major blockbuster being Thor: Love and Thunder which opened three weekends ago. While a solid slate continued with Nope last weekend, DC League of Super-Pets this weekend, and Bullet Train next weekend, after that we may not see a film with real hit potential until October. Following next weekend, we’re looking at perhaps the lowest grossing two month stretch in decades going by pre-pandemic standards (and that’s without adjusting for inflation), where it will be unlikely for a single weekend to gross above $100 million (as this weekend failed to do, though next weekend may make it over that hump). The box office should pick up big time in the late fall and winter, but the weak late summer and early fall is a disappointment after a summer where the box office had nearly revived to former glories.

‘DC League of Super-Pets’ To Lead As Summer Winds Down

The summer continues to wind down faster than usual with the last of the major tentpoles (Thor: Love and Thunder) entering its fourth weekend and just two significant releases left (DC League of Super-Pets this weekend and Bullet Train next weekend). The overall box office risks falling under $100 million for the first time since May, though it may be able to stay above the nine-figure line for another two weeks before likely falling under until October, if not November. This is a disappointing sign after two months where the overall box office was doing a solid job of catching up to the pre-pandemic years.
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