We can SMEEEELLLLLLLLLLL what Black Adam is cooking, America books a few tickets to Paradise via the Triangle of Sadness, Halloween definitively Ends, and So Much More Box Office News Jesus.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
Hey. Been a hot minute. The usual fortnight break due to London Film Festival meant that we here at the Box Office Report division weren’t around for the biggest stories of the last two weeks. And there have been stories, one of which tees up something else which happened this week, so let’s list them before hitting the bumper new news crop.
Firstly, in spite of all odds and further proving that my saying “goodbye” to any movie on the list is pretty much a guarantee that it’ll stick around another week or so out of pure spite, Top Gun: Maverick made it to 20 consecutive weeks in the Top 10. Five entire months. Even with three new releases on the weekend it hit the big two-zero, Maverick managed to successfully cling on for dear life! And then, somehow, did it again the following weekend to finish at 21 consecutive weeks in the Top 10. Only now as I write this entry has the Tom Cruise phenomenon dropped out of the chart, which is the kind of monumental run we are unlikely to see repeated. Salute! Next up, nobody wanted to see a shit David O. Russell movie that even critics didn’t like and apparently that means we now need to all fret for the future of adult dramas in spite of the many well-performing adult dramas we’ve had this year alone and Amsterdam being, as mentioned, a shit David O. Russell movie. Finally, the much-vaunted Halloween Ends that was supposed to rescue the Box Office from its doldrums arrived on the scene last weekend and… well…
OK, this requires much more than a single run-on snark-laden sentence to unpack properly. Halloween Ends was indeed the #1 film in America on my birthday weekend; 14th – 16th October. Not exactly a massive surprise, nothing else released Wide, perhaps fearing the worst. By all accounts, this thing is already well in the black due to costing just $33 million to make. And, like with Halloween Kills last year, Universal decided to simul-release the thing onto their Peacock streaming service. So, in its opening weekend, Ends slayed $40 million worth of tickets. On paper, that seems like a pretty solid deal. Sure, it’s barely over half of what Halloween 2018 made in its opening weekend, but pandemics have skewed everything and Kills was a notoriously divisive momentum-stunter last year. Except, here’s the thing, the box office is now back to normal, Kills made $49 million this time last year, and well over half of Ends’ total weekend numbers came from Friday alone. This thing dropped fast as word-of-mouth spread and word-of-mouth was not kind; C+.
But that’s not the kicker. The true car-crusher to the Halloween franchise for what may be a very long time was this weekend. Remember back in late-August when I mentioned that Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero had won the dubious accolade of owning the second-biggest sophomore slump for a film playing on 3,000+ screens with 78.4%, behind only the atrocious 2009 Friday the 13th reboot at 80.4%? Ladies, gentlemen, and others, the king may finally be dead because, at time of writing, Halloween Ends dropped 80% in its second frame. No, I am not bullshitting you. An 80% drop from $40 million to $8 million in the second weekend with Halloween still a week away. More people wanted to see the fourth weekend of Smile, a movie currently sitting on $30 million more than the grand finale to an iconic horror franchise, than the second weekend of Halloween Ends. When Actuals come in, it may have sank even deeper than 80% and then we will have a new record holder. There is no positive way to spin this. This franchise is toast for god knows how long.
In terms of the majors, that’s what you missed on Glee. So, to Now where THE HEIRACHY OF POWER IN THE DC UNIVERSE IS ABOUT TO CHANGE, as Warner Bros. and Dwayne “Rockington” Johnson have been crowing ceaselessly for the last half a bastard year. Yes, it’s Black Adam finally here to save us all from having to watch that one trailer before almost literally every single film for months, as well as Warner Discovery having to file for insolvency since they allegedly do not have the money to release any other movies this year. What happens when you attach the biggest movie star on the planet right now to the hottest movie genre in the world right now in an effort to kickstart the biggest franchise mess in the world right now? Why, you get the best opening weekend since Thor: Love and Thunder, of course. #1, $67 million, B+ Cinemascore. Not a bad day at the office, that. It slots in just below the overperformance that Aquaman put in for its debut weekend back in 2018 ($67.9 million), is significantly higher than what Shazam! pulled off in 2019 ($53.5 million), and the $195 million budget is being somewhat assuaged by a decent overseas pull so far with $73 million. Shit, maybe Netflix really weren’t lying about those Red Notice viewing figures after all? People will watch Dwayne “Rocky Road w/ Caramel” Johnson in anything regardless of quality.
Meanwhile, it’s time to resolve a cliffhanger from before I left for LFF. In the last BOR before my jollies, I told you the unfortunate tale of Bros, an all-gay major studio rom-com that came out of the closet and was promptly shoved right back in for $4.8 million. At the time, I lamented the movie’s failure whilst being willing to hold off on throwing out semi-joking-but-not-really accusations of homophobia until the release of Ticket to Paradise in late October. Was it homophobia or just a general distaste for rom-coms? Welp, it’s now late-October, Clooney and Roberts have finally crossed the Atlantic, and the answer turns out to be… HOMOPHOBIA! And also shit non-existent marketing for Bros, if we’re being brutally honest with ourselves and dropping the irony for a moment. In any case, Paradise very comfortably took second-place with a $16.3 million haul, which isn’t exactly lighting tills on fire but is more than Bros has made in its entire run to date and double that of Marry Me’s opening weekend from Valentine’s. So maybe the theatrical rom-com isn’t dead! Maybe it just needs, y’know, marketing properly and shit! It’s certainly not any of the three films in this paragraph’s fault; all of which are really fun, though I do sincerely like Bros the best.
And now we go to the Limited releases, which all waited until I jetted off from my duties to start crawling out the woodwork and doing all sorts of damage. Let’s kick off with the indie horror success of the season, Damien Leone’s Terrifier 2. A low-budget partly-crowdfunded throwback slasher flick being distributed by Bloody Disgusting’s production arm as a limited engagement in 700 specialty theatres doesn’t exactly scream “unlikely crossover hit.” And yet, in a way, that’s exactly what Leone, Disgusting, and Terrifier 2 have managed to pull off. What was meant to be a one-week run got extended once that weekend gate-crashed the Top 10 with $805,000, and then extended again once that sophomore weekend against the maligned Halloween Ends jumped up to $1 million. I wouldn’t be surprised if they go for another now that this one saw a near-doubling to $1.8 million. Three straight weeks in the Top 10, each with major monetary increases in spite of keeping almost exactly the same number of screens each time. You love to see it! (Unless Terrifier 2 is actually crap, in which case you begrudgingly respect it all the same.)
Similarly pulling out the promotional vomit bags on the indie scene, Ruben Östlund’s long-anticipated Triangle of Sadness finally set sail three weeks ago and has been racking up the raves ever since. Debuting in 10 screens with $214,602 (a PTA that I don’t think I need to list since you’re adults), audiences have been exhibiting uncharacteristic cruise ship behaviour by voluntarily going back for seconds week-on-week. As Neon expands, Triangle keeps earning which culminated in a surprise Top 10 appearance this week with $600,000 from 280 screens (a PTA of $2,142 that is very good for a near-three-hour acerbic international comedy). But at every step of the way, Triangle is being shadowed by Tár, an acclaimed Cate Blanchett drama that everybody keeps hyping up yet never seems to actually say anything about. Since we’re running waaaay long as is, research will have to wait for another day. For now, I’ll just let you know that Tár started off with $158,620 from 4 theatres (a PTA of $39,655) the same weekend as Triangle, and has continued putting nails into the idea that a failing David O. Russell film means audiences don’t want adult dramas ever since. This weekend: $470,000 from 141 theatres, a PTA of $3,333.
Next up, two of the best films of the year started their rollouts last weekend. Likely Awards Season bridesmaid Till, an extremely distressing and emotionally devastating yet sensitively told with uncommon empathy (a.k.a. a Chinonye Chukwu film) Emmett Till biopic, launched its campaign in 16 theatres. And it did very well in those 16 theatres with $242,269 (a PTA of $15,141). The wider expansion this weekend, though, is stalling out a tad with $376,134 from 104 screens (a PTA of $3,616). Not exactly a surprise since, again, it’s heavy but also not encouraging for long-term prospects. Meanwhile, Park Chan-wook’s phenomenal return to cinema screens – or, I guess, laptop screens if MUBI aren’t playing it somewhere near you – Decision to Leave is making obsessives out of all the cops who see it. Debuting last week in 3 theatres with $96,200 (a PTA of $32,066), the more modest expansion to 48 theatres this week saw a fantastic PTA of $6,175 and a taking of $296,436. Might’ve been more had I managed to pen my review and convinced y’all to go see it, but a broken hip had things to say about such plans.
All of which brings us, at long last, to this week’s Limited Release openers, both of which made major waves. In the A24 sphere, you got Aftersun, perhaps the most universally-acclaimed film to cross Film Twitter circles since that one with the planes and volleyball and Tom Cruise you know the one. The buzz has been relentless and enormous for months, and said buzz has been converted into a pretty tidy sum for such a quiet little drama; $66,355 from 4 screens (a PTA of $16,588). Any other weekend, that’d be the big headline getter. But it ain’t, cos Martin McDonagh finally managed to dislodge his head from his arse and put out his best film in over a decade. Accordingly, The Banshees of Inisherin, an Irish black comedy reteaming McDonagh with Colin Farrell & Brendan Gleeson cos we’re all time-warping back to 2008 whether we like it or not, did business. $181,000 from 4 screens; a PTA of $45,250, behind only Everything Everywhere All at Once for the best number of any film this year. Yeah, that’ll grab the headlines.
Normal service will resume next week. Here’s a table of the results for this week cos we’re nearly 2,000 words deep.
US Box Office Results: Friday 21st October 2022 – Sunday 23rd October 2022
|2]||Ticket to Paradise||$16,340,000||NEW|
|5]||Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile||$4,200,000||$28,712,851|
|6]||The Woman King||$1,900,000||$62,856,088|
|8]||Don’t Worry Darling||$880,000||$44,273,000|
|10]||Triangle of Sadness||$600,000||$1,419,875|
Dropped out: Barbarian, Bros, Top Gun: Maverick
Callie Petch is drinking lover’s spit.