In somewhat of an upset, Sony’s horror sequel INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR finished at the top of the box office with $32.7M in its opening weekend. THE RED DOOR is the fifth installment in a franchise that began in 2010, with the four previous movies grossing more than one-half billion dollars globally.
Chapter five takes place ten years after the end of the last movie, INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY. Dalton, the teenage son in the Lambert family, is preparing to head off to college but is haunted by a malevolent presence from the past.
THE RED DOOR’s opening weekend exceeded the high-water mark for the series set by INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY with $29.6M in 2018. It has a clear road ahead as the only significant horror title in theatres. It is also the first meaningful R-rated movie since JOHN WICK 4 opened on March 24th. Critics are not very impressed, giving it a 47% score on Rotten Tomatoes and audiences are only slightly more pleased with a 72% rating.
Nonetheless, THE RED DOOR sold nearly as much on its first day ($15.2M) as its entire production budget ($16M). After winning the weekend, THE RED DOOR is certain to be a wildly profitable movie for Sony, who took a risk by releasing it in a short window between blockbusters. Pre-production has already begun on a sixth film in the series, THREAD: AN INSIDIOUS TALE starring Mandy Moore and Kumail Nanjiani.
INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY dropped to second with a gross of $26.5M, a troubling decline of 56% from last week’s opening. This is the largest week-two drop for an INDIANA JONES movie in history, slightly higher than the 55% drop from INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL in 2008.
After ten days, DIAL OF DESTINY has grossed $121M in North America and $200M worldwide. While these numbers may seem OK at first glance, they do not yet match the estimated $275M that Disney spent on production. THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL is the highest-grossing film in the INDIANA JONES franchise, having earned $202M domestic over its first ten days. DIAL OF DESTINY in its first ten days has produced only 60% of that amount, before factoring in inflation over the past 15 years.
DIAL OF DESTINY seems destined to become another example of a pricey 2023 sequel that produced disappointing results. In the weeks ahead, it will have to contend with the stiff competition with MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – DEAD RECKONING PART ONE opening on Wednesday 7/12 followed by BARBIE and OPPENHEIMER on 7/21. Next week, we expect to be able to forecast the final tally for Indy’s last ride.
SOUND OF FREEDOM appeared from nowhere to take third place with a total of $18.2M in ticket sales. It was created by the small independent distributor Angel Studios which specializes in faith-based titles. Earlier this year, Angel had surprising success with HIS ONLY SON and a theatrical packaging of episodes from their buzz-worthy streaming series THE CHOSEN. They have used innovative approaches to raise money to produce content by crowd-sourcing from their avid fan base, and have promoted their releases through direct outreach to churches.
These efforts have created a groundswell of interest in SOUND OF FREEDOM, with advanced ticket sales rivaling the entire amount spent on production. Even though the movie’s $14.5M budget makes it Angel’s most expensive production to date, it had sold $10M in tickets before its July 4th opening.
The movie focuses on the darkest of topics, child trafficking. After a federal agent rescues a young boy from traffickers, he learns that the boy’s sister is still a captive and he quits his job to dedicate himself to saving her. The film has been expertly cast with Jim Caviezel (THE PASSION OF CHRIST) in the lead and Mira Sorvino and Bill Camp playing supporting roles.
It has solid support from reviewers with an 83% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes and a perfect 100% score from audiences. After underwhelming results for many of the “big” pictures this year, the success of SOUND OF FREEDOM is like rain in the desert for theatre owners. It has already grossed $40.2M over its first six days, with great potential ahead.
It has generated passionate interest from its core demographic, which could sustain it over time and counteract any possible negative effect due to its hard-hitting subject matter. Angel Studios claims that 50,000 of its followers have invested $100M for the production of more titles. THE SHIFT is Angel’s next big feature, a science fiction thriller targeted for release in December.
Even with three new wide releases this weekend, ELEMENTAL’s $9.6M was good enough for fourth place, only one spot and 21% lower than last weekend. This is another solid result for the Pixar movie, with a 24-day total of $109M domestic. It seems likely that ELEMENTAL will inch past LIGHTYEAR which earned $118M domestic and $226M worldwide in 2022. While ELEMENTAL may still lose money, it has recovered somewhat from a very disappointing opening four weeks ago.
SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE is still swinging, with a return to the top five this weekend by adding another $8.0M and dropping only 33%. After six weeks, it has amassed $357.6M domestically and $620M worldwide and sits comfortably as the second-highest-grossing picture of the year, trailing only THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE. which stunned me by earning $573.7M domestically and $1.341B worldwide.
All movies playing in theatres this weekend earned $127.8M domestic, compared with $238.3M on the same week last summer when THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER led all films with $144.2M in its debut.
WHERE ARE WE AS OF 7/6
The first 26 weeks of 2023 have produced 116% of the box office total at this same point in 2022, but only 80% compared with 2019.