Moviegoing slowed to its lowest point since Super Bowl weekend seven months ago, with the only new wide release movie A HAUNTING IN VENICE unable to attract audiences outside of its core interest group.
While next weekend is not likely to bring much relief with EXPEND4BLES as the only significant new release, we should see a bump in two weeks with SAW X, THE CREATOR, DUMB MONEY and PAW PATROL: THE MIGHTY MOVIE.
This weekend’s total box office for all movies was $62.5M, a bit higher than the same weekend one year ago which produced only $51M, led by $19.1M for THE WOMAN KING in its opening.
THE NUN II eked out a surprising first-place finish for the second weekend in a row with $14.7M and a respectable drop of only 55% from its opening. This is a much better second weekend hold in comparison with the second weekend of the original THE NUN, which dropped 66% in its second weekend. THE NUN II has grossed $56.5M through its first ten days, which is 67% of THE NUN’s ten-day gross of $84.1M. It bodes well for this picture that it was able to hold off A HAUNTING IN VENICE, which had also been marketed to appeal to horror audiences.
A HAUNTING IN VENICE came in a disappointing second place with a gross of $14.5M. This is Kenneth Branagh’s third film adaptation of an Agatha Christie mystery, with Branagh also starring once again as detective Hercule Poirot. Branagh’s two earlier movies based on Christie stories were MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (11/10/2017) and DEATH ON THE NILE (2/11/2022), which did well enough to justify a third turn at the wheel.
Kenneth Branagh’s Film Adaptations of Agatha Christie Novels
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (11/10/2017)
* RT Critics 61%, RT Audience 54%
* Opening Weekend Domestic $28.7M, Total Domestic $102.8M, Total Worldwide $352.8M
* Production Budget $55M, Box Office Gross to Budget Ratio 6.4
DEATH ON THE NILE (2/11/2022)
* RT Critics 61%, RT Audience 82%
* Opening Weekend Domestic $12.9M, Total Domestic $45.6M, Total Worldwide $137.3M
* Production Budget $90M, Box Office Gross to Budget Ratio 1.5
A HAUNTING IN VENICE (9/15/2023)
* RT Critics 78%, RT Audience 76%
* Opening Weekend Domestic $14.5M
* Production Budget $60M
A HAUNTING IN VENICE’s performance may not track that of Branagh’s two earlier films, after 20th Century Studios chose to market it as a supernatural, horror film and downplay its provenance an Agatha Christie whodunit story. MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS and DEATH ON THE NILE were based on two of Christie’s most popular novels, and her name was used prominently in their promotion. A HAUNTING IN VENICE derives from a less popular work, Christie’s 1969 novel ‘Hallowe’en Party’, and its creators decided to give the movie a name change from the novel. While Christie has a built-in audience, the box office gross for DEATH ON THE NILE was only 39% that of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, promoting a new marketing approach with the third film. VENICE’s opening weekend of $14.5M was slightly higher than the $12.9M earned by NILE and much lower than the $28.7M earned by ORIENT EXPRESS. One could argue that this decision cost them a first-place finish in its opening, but it could wind up being a smart choice. Even though it will have competition for the horror audience, it may benefit from being seen as relevant for the next six weeks until Halloween.
THE EQUALIZER 3 finished in third place with $7.2M and a drop of 40%. Its seventeen-day total stands at $73.7M, which is 92% of THE EQUALIZER and 93% of THE EQUALIZER 2 at this same point. This franchise has demonstrated remarkable consistency through three films, and the producers must be imploring Denzel Washington to reconsider his decision to retire from playing the ex-CIA action hero Robert McCall.
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 3 dropped from third to fourth in its second weekend, taking in $4.7M, a decline of 53%. After ten days, the comic sequel has earned $18.6M in domestic ticket sales, which is a mere 50% of the earnings from MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 after its second weekend. GREEK WEDDING 3 has also sputtered in international markets, where it has earned only $5M to-date. This points to a disappointing loss on the project, with Focus Features spending $20M on production. It seems unlikely that creator Nia Vardalos will be given the chance to make a fourth movie in the series.
BARBIE finished in fifth place for the second weekend in a row, adding $4.0M to its record-setting 2023 domestic total which now stands at $626.1M. BARBIE refuses to accept that the summer has ended, as her beach party continues. The movie has been in the top five for all nine weeks since it opened, despite having to complete with twelve wide release titles over that period.
|Rank||Title (Distributor)||Week||# Theatres||Weekend $||Per Theatre Average $||Total $|
|1||The Nun II (Warner Bros.)||2||3,743||$14,730,000||$3,935||$47,333,336|
|2||A Haunting in Venice (20th Century Studios)||1||3,305||$14,500,000||$4,387||$14,500,000|
|3||The Equalizer 3 (Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE))||3||3,528||$7,235,000||$2,051||$53,842,186|
|4||My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (Focus Features)||2||3,678||$4,700,000||$1,278||$14,728,675|
|5||Barbie (Warner Bros.)||9||3,012||$3,965,000||$1,316||$397,891,848|
After reports of internal tensions among the studios, there are now rumors of developing conflicts between Hollywood’s writers and showrunners, the management and creative forces responsible for television series.
While most showrunners are WGA members, they also have responsibility for workers outside of the writers’ union, including production workers under the umbrella of the IATSE. Reports have emerged that some showrunners are frustrated that WGA negotiators have not met with the AMPTP since mid-August, believing that this hardline stance against the AMPTP comes at the expense of the IATSE production workers, who have also been sidelined from their work while the WGA has been on strike.
This pressure may have influenced the WGA to agree to a new round of talks with the AMPTP beginning next week. Our fingers are crossed that the dialog will allow the parties to move closer to a deal that will allow the industry to get back to work.
See also: Marquee Writers Push for Negotiations, but Their Clout May Not Matter (New York Times)
Disney’s Bob Iger raised eyebrows when he said in a July interview with CNBC that the linear TV business model was “broken” and that his company’s cable channels “might not be core” to their business model.
Many saw this comment as tantamount to putting out a big, flashing “for sale” sign on Disney’s cable channels which include ABC, FX, National Geographic, and others.
The first serious offer for those assets came this week from Byron Allen, a media mogul whose Allen Media Group has already acquired a number of broadcast and regional TV stations including The Weather Channel. In recent years, Allen has been on the lookout for opportunities to expand his network, coming close to acquiring the BET channel from Paramount before talks fell apart at the last minute.
Allen is said to have offered Disney $10 billion to acquire ABC, FX, National Geographic, and eight local TV stations. Nextstar, the largest TV station operator in the U.S., is rumored to be another potential suitor for ABC and Disney’s regional channels, though no formal offer has yet been made.
With this level of interest, it now seems likely that Disney will have the opportunity to sell off its legacy cable networks, bringing significant change to the cable television landscape in the coming years.
Momentum for the concert film of Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour continues to build, with advanced ticket sales for its limited screenings that begin on 10/13 already exceeding $65 million.
This number is already higher than blockbusters such as Marvel’s DR. STRANGE AND THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS and DC’s THE BATMAN. Both of these films wound up being box office hits, and if the grosses for Swift’s concert film rise to even half those levels it will become the highest-grossing concert film of all time.
Earnings for the ERAS movie should be front-loaded, with an unusual schedule of weekend-only screenings. Most analysts predict a $100 million opening weekend, followed by additional showtimes on three additional weekends.
If it works, which it seems likely that it will, recorded concerts from other major acts such as Beyonce, Bad Bunny, and Adele may follow. The fact that tickets to their live performances cost hundreds of dollars or more, makes the movie ticket version which may cost $20 seem like an insider’s bargain.
See also: ‘Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour’ Concert Movie Now Seeing $65 Million+ In Presales; $100M Box Office Opening Within Reason (Deadline) and Talking Heads Concert Film ‘Stop Making Sense’ Becomes Imax’s Highest-Grossing Live Event (Variety)