“I think I can, I think I can… be the best box office movie ever,” says Sony’s original action flick that might.
The Brad Pitt “Bullet Train” vehicle is expected to take No. 1 on national charts. As of Friday, the film has grossed $12.6 million from 4,357 locations and is predicting a $30 million debut. That’s a solid performance for an original movie with no franchise ties or multiverse shenanigans, but the movie will have to keep pushing forward through August to recoup its $90 million production budget.
The film’s all-star cast should help with that. Besides Pitt, the set also includes names like Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Joey King, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon and Benito A. Martínez Ocasio, aka Latin music superstar Bad Bunny.
“Bullet Train” is seen as something of a record of the type of film that audiences will rally for in theaters. The R-rated action flick will be geared toward adult males — the most reliable demographic in terms of consistent theater attendance since the easing of COVID-19 lockdowns. However, with a marketing campaign that touts a colorful cast of characters instead of any known intellectual property, “Bullet Train” isn’t a surefire hit.
“Bullet Train” garnered a lukewarm response from critics, earning a 41% approval rating from top critics on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. Variety Chief film critic Peter Debruge was mixed on the film, writing that it “tries [its] bravest to channel the likes of Tarantino and Ritchie, even if the dialogue and fake British accents aren’t strong enough to merit such comparisons.
Audiences were more receptive to “Bullet Train.” The film earned a “B+” rating thanks to research firm Cinema Score, indicating strong approval among general moviegoers. With the August slate looking fairly light on high-level releases, “Bullet Train” should be able to enjoy a quiet theatrical landscape in the weeks ahead. Paramount’s “The Lost City,” which starred “Bullet Train” players Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum while featuring Pitt in a supporting role, also opened to $30 million earlier this spring before closing. ultimately surpassing $100 million domestically, showing that audiences will still ride for crowd pleaser without franchise ties.
Directed by former Pitt stunt double David Leitch, who has since helmed the likes of ‘Atomic Blonde’ and ‘Deadpool 2,’ the film casts the star as a hitman who accepts a simple mission aboard a bullet train in Japan. However, he soon discovers that a group of killers on board have their own conflicting missions.
Meanwhile, Universal’s “Easter Sunday,” the weekend’s other new wide release, didn’t make much of an impression on its debut, grossing $2 million on Friday. The studio is projecting a muted $5 million debut from 3,175 locations for comedian Jo Koy’s comedy, which would put the film at number eight on the national charts.
“Easter Sunday” stars Koy as a struggling actor and father attending his dysfunctional Filipino American family’s Easter Sunday celebration. The comedy carries a modest price tag of $17 million before marketing and distribution costs, so Universal will be crossing its fingers for solid word-of-mouth and a month without competing releases to give the film passable legs.
The release of Warner Bros. “DC League of Super-Pets” seems to take second place. The film grossed $3.35 million on Friday, marking a 64% drop from its opening last week. The animated feature underperformed somewhat, especially for a movie featuring DC Comics iconography (even if it follows the Justice League’s furry friends). With the film’s current domestic gross standing at $38 million, “Super-Pets” still has some way to go to recoup a $90 million production budget.
The continued success of Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” which has remained a big hit with audiences since its July 4th weekend debut, isn’t helping matters for “Super-Pets.” The “Despicable Me” spin-off looks set to take fifth place on the domestic charts this weekend, dropping a slim 38% in its sixth weekend. The film’s domestic haul currently stands at $330 million.
Universal’s “Nope” is looking to take bronze, projecting an $8 million haul in its third weekend. Jordan Peele’s sci-fi thriller is set to surpass $100 million domestic gross over the next week – a remarkable achievement for an original film mostly sold in its director’s name.
Disney’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” is aiming for fourth place, adding $2.2 million to its loot on Friday. The Marvel Cinematic Universe entry is currently the sixth-biggest domestic release of the year, pushing its domestic gross to over $315 million this weekend.
Finally, it looks like ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ may finally break out of the top five at the domestic box office for the first time this weekend, though it’s in a tight race for fifth place with ‘The Rise of Gru’. “. Paramount’s runaway success predicts another slim drop – just a 21% drop – in its eleventh weekend at the box office. With $657 million in the bank in North America, the Tom Cruise sequel will likely surpass “Titanic”‘s $659 million gross today to become the seventh-highest-grossing film in domestic box office history.
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