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411 Box Office Report: Bullet Train Takes Top Spot With $30 Million

August 7, 2022 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
2469353 - BULLET TRAIN Image Credit: Sony Pictures

Brad Pitt claimed another box office win this weekend as Bullet Train opened at #1. The frenetic action comedy took the top spot for the weekend with $30.1 million, right on par with industry expectations. It’s a moderately solid start for the action film, on par with that of The Lost City (which Pitt had a supporting role in) back in March.

Now, it must be said that while the opening is decent, it’s probably below what the studio was hoping for. Bullet Train was not an inexpensive movie, costing a reported $85 million before marketing. That means the film will need to hold on well in order to make a profit. But it’s decent enough considering that it opened in August and is considering that it’s an original story not based on a well-known IP (it adapts the Kotaro Isaka’s 2010 novel MariaBeetle).

The good news for Sony is that we’ve seen a film provide a road for potential success here in Kingsman: The Secret Service. That film, also a stylized action-comedy, opened to a similar number ($36.2 million) back in February of 2014 with a similar budget and road its positive word of mouth to $414 million worldwide. Bullet Train was not nearly as well beloved by critics as Kingsman, scoring a 54% aggregated score on Rotten Tomatoes compared to Kingsman’s 75%. But they have very similar audience reactions. Bullet Train has a B+ CinemaScore and a 78% positive audience RT score, while Kingsman had a B+ and 84%.

Thus far, Bullet Train is performing slightly ahead of predictions in overseas numbers with $32.4 million in 57 markets, giving it a $62.5 million worldwide start. It will need to see those international numbers hold up well, but the doldrums of August means that it will have a clear road ahead in terms of competition. It seems quite possible that the film could reach $100 million domestically if that word of mouth keeps it propped up, and the overseas numbers could potentially bring it to profit.

DC League of Super-Pets took the typical comic book/big-budget animated fall, slipping 51% in its second weekend. The DC animated film grossed $11.2 million this frame, which brought its totals to $45.1 million domestically and $83.4 million worldwide. The Dwayne Johnson voice-led film still has a ways to go if it’s going to hit profit, with a $90 million production budget plus marketing, and it doesn’t look to be performing too strongly overseas so far which is a concern. Domestically it should be able to hit around $70 million and will struggle to avoid being a financial loss.

Jordan Peele’s Nope was off by 54% in its third weekend, taking in another $8.5 million. The sci-fi horror film is now up to $98 million domestically, a perfectly fine number as it prepares to open overseas throughout this month. Even though it’s Peele’s most expensive film to date by far, it should still be a hit for Universal Pictures with a likely domestic total around $120 million.

Thor: Love & Thunder took in $7.6 million in its fifth weekend, down 42% from last weekend. The MCU film is now at $316.1 million domestically, passing Thor: Ragnarok to become the highest domestic grosser of the Thor films. However, it’s lagging far behind that film internationally with $698.9 million (the key difference is that Ragnarok got a China release and took in $112.2 million there). It’s still a hit for the studio of course and should finish off in the US with a likely $335 million. The budget was $250 million.

Minions: Rise of Gru was down 35% from last weekend, bringing in $7.1 million in its sixth weekend. The spinoff sequel is up to $334.6 million domestically and $905.1 million worldwide. It is looking likely to pass $360 million domestically and is a smash for Universal Pictures against an $80 million budget.

Top Gun: Maverick is the film that just won’t die, down a mere 16% in its 11th weekend with $7 million. The Tom Cruise sequel now stands at $662.5 million domestically and a huge $1.353 billion worldwide. Currently ranking as the #7 domestic-grossing film worldwide, it has Avengers: Infinity War’s $678.8 million in its sights next and has every chance of surpassing it at this point. The film cost $170 million.

Sony has a solid hit with Where the Crawdads Sing, which was down a mere 25% in its fourth weekend to bring in $5.6 million. The drama already has a 3.75 multiple of its opening weekend and is only going to climb higher. Considering its budget of just $24 million, it has already made a profit with $64.6 million domestically and $77.3 million worldwide. It should be able to make it to $75 million by the end of its US run.

Universal’s Easter Sunday came in quietly, opening at #8 with $5.2 million. The comedy opened up a little below the high single-digits most expected, another example of how hard it is to bring mid-budget comedies to theaters these days. Of course, it doesn’t help that the Jo Koy-led film is not resonating well; it averaged a 46% on RT with a 70% audience reaction which is not great for a comedy. The film should be able to top $15 million in the US, but that won’t get this thing to profit as it cost $17 million.

Elvis was down 30% in its seventh weekend to $4 million. The Baz Luhrmann-directed biopic has now totaled $136.5 million domestically and $251.2 million worldwide and should be profitable against its $85 million budget, with a $145 million stateside total.

The Black Phone closed out the top 10 with $1.5 million, down 42% in its seventh weekend. The horror film is now at $85.9 million domestically and $148.3 million worldwide, a major profit against an $18 million budget. It is looking to close out around $88 million domestically.

Bullet Train has a very good chance of reigning again next weekend as it’s a light slate of releases. A24 expands Bodies Bodies Bodies into 1,000 theaters, while the action-thriller Fall and comedy Mack & Rita will almost certainly be mid-single digit openers at best.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Bullet Train – $30.1 million ($30.1 million total, $63.2 million WW)
2. DC League of Super-Pets – $11.2 million ($45.1 million total, $83.4 million WW)
3. Nope – $8.5 million ($98 million total, $98 million WW)
4. Thor: Love & Thunder – $7.6 million ($316.1 million total, $698.9 million WW)
5. Minions: The Rise of Gru – $7.1 million ($334.6 million total, $905.1 million WW)
6. Top Gun: Maverick – $7 million ($662.5 million total, $1.353 billion WW)
7. Where the Crawdads Sing – $5.6 million ($64.6 million total, $77.3 million WW)
8. Easter Sunday – $5.3 million ($5.3 million total, $5.3 million WW)
9. Elvis – $4 million ($136.5 million total, $251.2 million WW)
10. The Black Phone – $1.5 million ($85.9 million total, $148.3 million WW)