‘The Invitation’ tops box office with $7 million in disastrously slow weekend

If three new movies debut in theaters, but no one goes to see them…

So Sony’s chilling thriller “The Invitation” managed to top the box office charts with a paltry $7 million from 3,114 North American theaters. His win comes with pretty weak bragging rights. It’s the lowest number one spot since May 2021, when COVID kept many people at home and “Spiral” grossed just $4.5 million.

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Now, it is not the pandemic that is preventing most of the public from going to the cinemas. It’s the lack of attractive options. Overall, the domestic box office brought in just $52.7 million over the weekend, according to Comscore — the worst collective result in months.

And the bad times are expected to continue at least until late September or early October, when “Don’t Worry Darling” (Sept. 23), “Halloween Ends” (Oct. 14) and the comic book adaptation “Black Adam” (Oct. 21 .) opens in theaters. It’s a disappointing finale to an otherwise strong summer at the movies, which saw several box office hits including “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” “Thor: Love and Thunder” and ” Elvis”.

Over the weekend, two other films – director George Miller’s fantasy Three Thousand Years of Longing and John Boyega’s heist drama Breaking – also opened in theaters with mediocre results, coming in at seventh and 13th place, respectively. respectively. .

“The Invitation” cost $10 million to produce, so it won’t need a ton of coins to turn a profit. But negative reviews and a pesky CinemaScore of “C” probably won’t help convince people to go to theaters. Directed by Jessica M. Thompson, “The Invitation” follows Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel of “Game of Thrones” fame) who is invited to her lost family’s home in the English countryside, where she discovers sinister secrets.

“Original horror films don’t do particularly well overseas, but in this case the primarily British cast should help,” David A. Gross, who runs film consultancy Franchise Entertainment Research, told The Invitation. .

Despite good reviews, “Three Thousand Years of Longing,” which co-stars Idris Elba as the Djinn and Tilda Swinton as the scholar who receives three wishes, closed in its debut with $2.87 million from 2,436 locations. It’s a tremendous result for a film playing in thousands of theaters across the country. Industry experts blame the weak turnout on minimal promotional efforts, as well as the decision to open to wide circulation. A platform release, in which an arthouse film plays in select theaters before expanding across the country, would allow “Three Thousand Years” to capitalize on positive word of mouth.

Given its $60 million production budget, MGM and United Artists Releasing’s “Three Thousand Years of Longing” is shaping up to be one of the biggest bombs of the year. If Miller, the acclaimed director behind the “Mad Max” series, finds his own genie to grant his wishes, the film is unlikely to come out of the red. MGM only owns the domestic rights to the film and did not produce it.

“This is a weak opening for an original adventure film. At a cost of around $60 million, ‘Three Thousand Years’ will finish in the red, even with good ancillary distribution,” predicts Gross. “Not all movies come together as planned – this one didn’t.”

It’s even bleaker for “Breaking,” a tense drama about a hostage situation, that didn’t crack the top 10 in its box office debut. In 13th place, Bleecker Street grossed $1.022 million from 902 theaters.

With no competition from newcomers, “Bullet Train,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” and “Beast” rounded out the top five on the domestic box office charts.

“Bullet Train” took second place with $5.6 million from 3,513 locations. After a month on the big screen, the Brad Pitt-starring caper has grossed $78 million to date. “Bullet Train” has also collected $95.4 million at the international box office, bringing its worldwide ticket sales to $173.4 million.

Universal’s survival thriller “Beast,” also starring Elba, earned the No. 3 spot with $4.9 million from 3,754 locations. The film has grossed $20 million in North America to date.

In fourth place, “Top Gun: Maverick” collected $4.75 million from 2,962 locations in its 14th weekend of release. It’s a testament to the staying power of the Tom Cruise blockbuster sequel (or is it a sign that nothing really plays in theaters) that “Maverick” is still selling tickets despite being available on home entertainment. With $691.2 million in North America, the action film is less than $9 million away from dethroning “Black Panther” ($700 million) as the fifth-highest-grossing film in domestic box office history.

“Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero,” which topped the box office last weekend, suffered a steep 78 percent drop to No. 5 with $4.45 million from 3,100 locations. Such a severe drop is not surprising, because anime films tend to play like horror in terms of ticket sales, with opening weekends ahead. So far, “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” has grossed $30 million in North America.

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