After a soft box office last weekend, this weekend did not fare much better. On the bright side, we expect that next weekend will see a bounce back in moviegoing when four new wide-release movies arrive in theatres.
Lionsgate’s EXPEND4BLES was the only major new opener this weekend and as such it was supposed to beat up the other titles. Alas, it was not strong enough even to take first place, earning only $8.3M in its opening three days. The only other new movie to play at over 1,000 locations was Neon’s horror flick IT LIVES INSIDE, which disappointed with $2.6M and a seventh-place finish.
This weekend was the fifth consecutive weekend of declining box office, with $51.7M for all movies across U.S. and Canadian theatres. On this same weekend last year, the total box office was $63.0M, led by $19.4M for DON’T WORRY DARLING in its first weekend.
Miraculously, THE NUN 2 took first place for the third consecutive weekend with $8.4M. The horror sequel has become the most successful film so far this year in the post-Labor Day period. After dropping only 42% from last weekend, it will continue to play broadly over the next several weeks.
THE NUN II has brought in $69.2M over 17 days, and we project that it will wind up its run with around $84M in the domestic market and $220M worldwide. Considering a production cost of $38M, its multiple of worldwide box office to production cost will wind up at 5.7, which is more than twice the 2.5 ratio that is the standard for a movie to break even. We expect that Warner Bros. will be greenlighting more NUN movies in the years ahead.
EXPEND4BLES finished in an embarrassing second place with an anemic $8.3M. This is the fourth movie in the EXPENDABLES series and, in all probability, it will be the last. Stallone gets the outcasts together again, armed to the teeth to form the world’s last line of defense. As most critics have pointed out, it is almost impossible to distinguish the plot among the four EXPENDIBLES movies. Based on these results, it does not take a specialist to see that this patient is on its last legs.
A Financial History of EXPENDABLES Movies
* Rated R, Rotten Tomatoes Critics 41% / Audience 64%
* Opening Weekend $34.8M, Total Domestic $103.1M, Total Worldwide $274.5M
* Production Budget $80M, Gross to Budget Ratio 3.4
EXPENDIBLES 2 (8/17/2012)
* Rated R, Rotten Tomatoes Critics 67% / Audience 67%
* Opening Weekend $28.6M, Total Domestic $85.1M, Total Worldwide $315.0M
* Production Budget $100M, Gross to Budget Ratio 3.2
EXPENDIBLES 3 (8/14/2014)
* Rated PG-13, Rotten Tomatoes Critics 31% / Audience 48%
* Opening Weekend $15.9M, Total Domestic $39.3M, Total Worldwide $214.7M
* Production Budget $100M, Gross to Budget Ratio 2.1
* Rated R, Rotten Tomatoes Critics 16% / Audience 69%
* Opening Weekend $8.3M
* Production Budget $100M
By earning $8.3M in its first weekend, Movie #4 started off at only 52% of Movie #3, which itself only produced $15.9M when it opened nine years ago. It has also received a series of low critics’ scores on Rotten Tomatoes, coming in at only 16%. Splat!
Lionsgate’s decision with EXPENDIBLES 3 to tamp down the violence to earn a PG-13 rating was intended to broaden the appeal of the franchise, but it may backfired by disappointing the core audience who had reveled in the blood and guts. EXPENDIBLES 3 earned a low 48% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, significantly down from the first two pictures.
Only two years later, EXPENDABLES 3 suffered a one-third drop in worldwide gross in comparison with the series leader EXPENDIBLES 2. After having been profitable with the first two movies, the EXPENDABLES 3 dipped into the red.
TV and radio spots emphasized that EXPEND4BLES had returned to its R-rating, hoping to recapture its core action audience. Unfortunately, in the nine years since the last movie, the appetite to see Stallone and Statham in this sequel may have faded.
20th Century’s A HAUNTING IN VENICE fell to third place with a gross of $6.3M, a drop of 56% from last weekend. After missing out on first place in its opening weekend, the Kenneth Branagh whodunnit based on a novel by Agatha Christie has now earned $25.4M after ten days, roughly the same as DEATH ON THE NILE which had earned $25.3M at this same point.
Last week, we commented that the marketing for this movie de-emphasized its origin as an Agatha Christie novel in favor of promoting it as a supernatural horror film. The rationale was to attract new audiences who might not turn out for another movie based on a Christie novel.
In the end, it seems that neither group was very interested, despite the fact that critics have rated A HAUNTING IN VENICE a fresh 76% on Rotten Tomatoes, the best of the three Branagh-Christie films. By next weekend, it will get crowded out with four new wide-release titles arriving in theatres.
THE EQUALIZER 3 dropped down to fourth place by earning $4.7M, a slim decline of only 35% from last weekend. This EQUALIZER movie is following the same box office track as the two earlier films from the trilogy, with a chance that it will wind up with a domestic gross that is slightly higher than EQUALIZER 2’s $102.1M from 2018.
BARBIE finished fifth for the third consecutive weekend, taking an additional $3.2M, a decline of only 16% from last weekend. This lifts its domestic total to an amazing $630.5M after ten weeks. Grosses was helped by some IMAX screens coming back to BARBIE since there is not much competition for the large format at this time. Director Greta Gerwig was involved in the IMAX push, saying that if you liked BARBIE on a standard cinema screen before, you’d like it even more now in IMAX.
WHERE ARE WE AS OF 9/21
After 37 weeks, the 2023 year-to-date totals are 127% of the amount earned at this point in 2022, and 86% compared with 2019.