“I think I can do it, I think I can… be the best movie at the box office,” says Sony’s original action movie that could.
The Brad Pitt vehicle “Bullet Train” should become No. 1 on the domestic charts. The film made $12.6 million at 4,357 locations Friday and is expected to debut at $30 million. It’s a solid feat for an original film with no franchise ties or multiverse shenanigans, but the film will have to lug it through August to recoup its $90 million production budget.
More from Variety
The star cast of the film 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 seen as a sort of check-in for the kind of movie that will mobilize audiences to the theaters. The R-rated action movie will shift to adult males — the most reliable demographic in terms of consistent theater attendance since the COVID-19 lockdowns were eased. However, with a marketing campaign touting a colorful cast of characters rather than any known intellectual property, “Bullet Train” isn’t a surefire hit.
“Bullet Train” has received a lukewarm response from critics, with a 41% approval rating from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes, a review-collecting website. Variety lead film critic Peter Debruge was mixed on the film, writing that it “trys” [its] damned to channel the likes of Tarantino and Ritchie, even though the dialogue and the mock British accents aren’t nearly strong enough to make such comparisons.”
The public is more receptive to ‘Bullet Train’. The filmed was given a “B+” rating by 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 take advantage of a calm theatrical landscape in the coming weeks. Paramount’s “The Lost City,” starring “Bullet Train” bit players Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum while Pitt played in a supporting role, also opened for $30 million earlier this spring before eventually surpassing $100 million domestically. , showing that audiences will still roll out for a crowdpleaser with no franchise ties.
Directed by Pitt’s former stunt double David Leitch, who has since helmed campaigners such as ‘Atomic Blonde’ and ‘Deadpool 2’, the star stars as a hit man who takes on a simple mission aboard a high-speed train in Japan. However, he soon discovers that several of the assassins on board have conflicting assignments.
Meanwhile, Universal’s “Easter Sunday,” the weekend’s other new wide-ranging release, doesn’t impress much in 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 take the film to number eight on the domestic charts.
In “Easter Sunday,” Koy plays a struggling actor and father who attends his dysfunctional Filipino-American family’s Easter Sunday celebrations. The comedy has a modest price tag of $17 million excluding marketing and distribution costs, so Universal will keep their fingers crossed for solid word of mouth and a month of no competitive releases to give the film some reasonable legs.
Warner Bros. release “DC League of Super-Pets” seems to come second. The film made $3.35 million on Friday, a 64% drop from its opening day last week. The animated film underperformed somewhat, especially for a DC Comics iconography film (even if it follows the Justice League’s furry friends). With the film’s current domestic gross at $38 million, “Super-Pets” still has a ways 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 big hit with audiences since its Fourth of July weekend debut. The spin-off “Despicable Me” looks set to take fifth on the domestic charts this weekend, dropping 38% on its sixth weekend. The film’s domestic draw currently stands at an impressive $330 million.
Universal’s “Nope” looks set to take bronze, forecasting $8 million in revenue for its third weekend. Jordan Peele’s sci-fi thriller should hit more than $100 million domestic gross sometime within the next week — a remarkable feat for an original film sold primarily in the director’s name.
Disney’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” looks to fourth, adding $2.2 million to its crop on Friday. The Marvel Cinematic Universe entry currently ranks as the sixth largest domestic release of the year, bringing its domestic gross to over $315 million this weekend.
Finally, it looks like “Top Gun: Maverick” could leave the top five of the domestic box office for the first time this weekend, though it’s in a close race for fifth place with “The Rise of Gru.” Paramount’s resounding success portends another small drop—down just 21%—in its eleventh weekend at the box office. With $657 million in the bank from North America, the Tom Cruise sequel is likely to surpass “Titanic”‘s $659 million gross today to become the seventh biggest film ever in domestic box office history.
Best of variety
Sign up for the Variety newsletter. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news.
Click here to read the full article.