Box Office Breakdown: “The Invitation” seals up the top spot 

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It has been quite the interesting summer for the box office. 

“Top Gun: Maverick” is the new No. 6 film at the all-time domestic box office, courtesy of a historic box office run. Franchise fare has made money, but with ambivalent critical reception. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Thor: Love and Thunder” both received mixed critical and audience reception, though they still combined for $1.7 billion worldwide for Marvel Studios. “Jurassic World: Dominion” was very poorly received for a blockbuster, but is still creeping towards $1 billion worldwide. 

Animation was hit or miss, with “Minions: The Rise of Gru” grossing $868 million worldwide, but the larger budgeted “Lightyear” only mustering $225 million and “DC League of Super-Pets” inching towards $150 million.  

Combine that with films such as “Elvis,” “Nope” and “Bullet Train” gracing the screens, it has been a busy summer box office. 

For the first time since the pandemic began, we can officially say that the box office is back. No longer is it just superhero or franchise fare making money, but movies across all budgets and quadrants are grossing significant amounts. 

That being said, the box office has taken a bit of a dive in August, this weekend being an example of that unfortunate fall. 

The No. 1 film this week is the new horror release “The Invitation.” The $10 million budgeted film received poor critical reception but still opened to $7 million this weekend. Factoring in its “C” CinemaScore and the typical second weekend drop of horror films, there is a legitimate chance “The Invitation” is not in the top 5 next weekend. That being said, with only a $10 million budget, the film likely only needs to gross $41 million worldwide to profit, considering marketing expenses and theaters’ portion of revenues. Unless “The Invitation” breaks the norm of horror film box office runs, it is quite unlikely that it reaches that gross after its opening weekend. 

Second place at theaters this weekend was the Brad Pitt action-comedy “Bullet Train,” grossing $5.6 million. The film has disappointed some with its gross, only earning $78 million domestically up to date. However, it only dropped 30.2% this weekend, perhaps showing that “Bullet Train” might keep on chugging. With the September box office not having any major franchise films, the action-comedy might be able to put together an impressive next four weekends. With a reported $90 million budget, “Bullet Train” will need a solid month in September. 

Coming in third this weekend is Idris Elba’s action thriller “Beast.” The film grossed $4.9 million, adding to its total to clear $20 million domestically. With a $36 million budget, it is going to be quite difficult for the thriller to profit. “Beast” has received better critical reception than “Bullet Train” but so far does not have the gross to back it up. That makes one wonder, did Universal mistime its release putting it at the tail end of this action-filled summer? “The Woman King” is the only action film scheduled for September, perhaps “Beast” would’ve been better suited to release this weekend. As is with all box office ‘what if’ scenarios, we will never know the answer. 

In fourth and fifth this weekend are two very different films: “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.” The “Top Gun” sequel grossed another $4.75 million, pushing to $691 million domestically. In absolutely insane fashion, the film only dropped 19.7% in its 14th week of release. The film opened in May and will still be in the top 5 on Labor Day weekend. “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” fell 78.4% this week, grossing $4.56 million, clearing $30 million domestically. With this steep of a drop, it is unlikely the animated film will be in the top 5 next week. 

Next week there is only one new wide release, the Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown-led comedy “Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul.” The film is also being released concurrently on Peacock, thus I predict it will gross around $8 million next weekend. 

Next weekend will answer several of our box office questions. Is the fate of “The Invitation” really sealed? Does “Bullet Train” have more left in the tank? Will “Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul.” rouse audiences? 

As always, we shall see. 

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