The Invitation’ earns $7 million at the box office in a disastrously slow weekend.
If three new films are released in theatres but no one goes to see them…
That’s how Sony’s creepy thriller “The Invitation” topped box office charts with a meagre $7 million from 3,114 North American theatres. Its victory comes with some pretty shaky bragging rights; it’s the lowest first-place finish since May 2021, when COVID kept a lot of people at home and “Spiral” only grossed $4.5 million.
Most people aren’t going to the movies anymore because of the pandemic. It’s a lack of appealing alternatives. According to Comscore, the domestic box office generated only $52.7 million over the weekend, the lowest total in months.
And the bad luck is expected to last until at least late September or early October, when “Don’t Worry, Darling” (September 23), “Halloween Ends” (October 14), and the comic book adaptation “Black Adam” (October 21) hit theatres. It’s a letdown after an otherwise successful summer at the box office, which included “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” “Thor: Love and Thunder,” and “Elvis.”
Over the weekend, two other films — director George Miller’s R-rated fantasy “Three Thousand Years of Longing” and the John Boyega-led heist drama “Breaking” — debuted in theatres to mediocre reviews, finishing seventh and thirteenth, respectively.
“The Invitation” cost $10 million to produce, so making a profit will not be difficult. However, negative reviews and its pesky “C” CinemaScore are unlikely to persuade people to see it in theatres. “The Invitation,” directed by Jessica M. Thompson, follows Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel of “Game of Thrones”) as she is invited to her long-lost family’s home in the English countryside, where she uncovers sinister secrets.
“Original horror movies do not play particularly well overseas, but in this case the primarily British cast should help,” says David A. Gross, founder of the film consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research.
Despite receiving positive reviews, “Three Thousand Years of Longing,” which co-stars Idris Elba as a Djinn and Tilda Swinton as a scholar who receives three wishes, bombed in its opening weekend, grossing $2.87 million from 2,436 locations. It’s a dismal outcome for a film that is playing in thousands of theatres across the country. According to industry experts, the low turnout is due to insufficient promotional efforts as well as the decision to open in wide release. A platform release would have allowed “Three Thousand Years” to benefit from positive word-of-mouth.
MGM and United Artists Releasing’s “Three Thousand Years of Longing” is shaping up to be one of the year’s biggest bombs, despite its $60 million production budget. Unless Miller, the acclaimed director behind the “Mad Max” series, finds his own genie to grant wishes, the film is unlikely to recover. MGM owns only the domestic rights to the film and did not make it.
“This is a poor start for an original adventure film.” “‘Three Thousand Years,’ at a cost of around $60 million, will finish in the red, even with good ancillary distribution,” Gross predicts. “Not every movie comes together as planned — this one did not.”
It’s even worse for “Breaking,” a tense drama about a hostage situation that didn’t even crack the top ten in its opening weekend. The Bleecker Street film took 13th place with $1.022 million from 902 theatres.
Holdovers “Bullet Train,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero,” and “Beast” populated the top five on domestic box office charts in the absence of newcomers.
“Bullet Train” came in second, earning $5.6 million from 3,513 locations. The Brad Pitt-led caper has earned $78 million in its first month on the big screen. “Bullet Train” has also grossed $95.4 million at the international box office, bringing the total worldwide ticket sales to a healthy $173.4 million.
Universal’s survival thriller “Beast,” starring Idris Elba, took third place with $4.9 million from 3,754 theatres. To date, the film has grossed $20 million in North America.
“Top Gun: Maverick” came in fourth place with $4.75 million from 2,962 locations in its 14th weekend of release. It’s a testament to Tom Cruise’s blockbuster sequel’s endurance (or a sign that nothing is playing in theatres) that “Maverick” is still selling tickets, despite being available on home entertainment. With $691.2 million in North America, the action film is just $9 million shy of overtaking “Black Panther” ($700 million) as the fifth-highest grossing film in domestic box office history.
“Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero,” which had topped the box office the previous weekend, fell 78% to No. 5 with $4.45 million from 3,100 locations. A drop of this magnitude is unsurprising given that anime films tend to perform similarly to horror films in terms of ticket sales, with front-loaded opening weekends. “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” has so far grossed $30 million in North America.