“I think I can, I think I can…be the top movie at the box office,” says Sony’s original action film that could.
The Brad Pitt vehicle “Bullet Train” should take number 1 on the domestic charts. The film grossed $12.6 million from 4,357 locations as of Friday and is forecast to open at $30 million. It’s a solid performance for an original film with no franchise ties or Multiverse shenanigans, but the film will need to keep chugging through August to recoup its $90 million production budget.
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The film’s all-star cast should help with that. In addition to Pitt, the ensemble also includes names such as 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 viewed as a kind of re-examination of the kind of film that audiences are being mobilized to see in theaters. The R-rated action film will focus on 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 advertises a colorful cast of characters instead of well-known intellectual property, “Bullet Train” is not a sure-fire success.
“Bullet Train” received a moderate response from critics, earning an approval rating of 41% from top critics on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. diversity Chief film critic Peter Debruge was mixed with the film, writing that it “tries [its] most daringly channeling the likes of Tarantino and Ritchie, although the dialogue and mock British accents aren’t anywhere near strong enough to merit such comparisons.”
Audiences were more receptive to “Bullet Train”. The film received a B+ rating from research firm Cinema Score, indicating solid approval among general moviegoers. With the August slate looking pretty light on high-profile releases, Bullet Train should be able to benefit from a quiet theatrical landscape in the coming weeks. Paramount’s The Lost City, which starred Bullet Train players Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum while starring Pitt in a supporting role, also launched this spring for $30 million before finally selling the domestic Surpassed $100 million, showing audiences will still roll out for a crowd pleaser with no franchise ties.
Directed by Pitt’s former stunt double David Leitch, who has since helmed action films like Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2, the film stars the star as a hitman who takes on a simple mission aboard a bullet train in Japan. However, he soon discovers that a group of hitmen on board have conflicting duties.
Meanwhile, Universal’s other major new release of the weekend, Easter Sunday, 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 that would take the film to number eight on the domestic charts.
“Easter Sunday” follows Koy as a struggling actor and father who attends his broken Filipino American family’s Easter Sunday celebration. The comedy is priced at a modest $17 million before marketing and distribution costs, so Universal is crossing its fingers for solid word of mouth and a month with no competing releases to give the film some decent legs.
Warner Bros. release “DC League of Super-Pets” seems to take second place. The film earned $3.35 million on Friday, down 64% from its opening day last week. The animated feature was a bit underperforming, especially for a film with DC Comics iconography (though it does follow the Justice League’s furry friends). With the film’s current gross of $38 million, “Super-Pets” still has a long way to go to recoup a $90 million production budget.
Not helping Super-Pets is the continued success of Universal’s Minions: The Rise of Gru, which has remained a huge hit with audiences since its debut on July 4th weekend. The Despicable Me spin-off is expected to top the domestic charts at number five this weekend, down just under 38% in its sixth weekend. The film’s domestic gross is currently an impressive $330 million.
Universal’s “Nope” is aiming for bronze and is forecasting an $8 million profit in its third weekend. Jordan Peele’s sci-fi thriller should surpass $100 million in domestic gross sometime within the next week — a remarkable feat for an original film that sells primarily under its director’s name.
Disney’s Thor: Love and Thunder is targeting fourth place, adding $2.2 million to its haul on Friday. The Marvel Cinematic Universe entry is currently the sixth-biggest domestic release of the year, taking its domestic gross to over $315 million this weekend.
Finally, it appears that Top Gun: Maverick could exit the top five at the domestic box office for the first time this weekend, though The Rise of Gru is a close race for fifth place. Paramount’s runaway success is forecasting another slight drop – down just 21% – in its 11th weekend at the box office. With $657 million in the bank from North America, Tom Cruise’s sequel is likely to surpass the $659 million grossing of Titanic today and become the seventh-biggest film of all time in domestic box office history.
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