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Box Office Breakdown: Mission: Impossible Wins with Softer Opening, Bears Little to No Chance Against “Barbenheimer”!

Even though Hollywood ground to a halt with the announcement of the first actors’ strike in 37 years, that doesn’t mean that movie theaters are closed and Tom Cruise‘s latest will just have to enjoy its first and only weekend in first place before it gets taken down, not one but two notches.

This Past Weekend

Knowing that the combo platter of Barbie and Oppenheimer would be taking over many if not most premium screens this coming Friday, Paramount opened Cruise’s latest, Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One, early on Wednesday with previews on Tuesday evening and fan showings on Monday. The studio also figured out a way how to game the system by spreading out the money from those previews across daily box office reported throughout the week.

Not that it had to, since as with 2018’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the critics were already on board, giving Cruise’s third franchise outing with director Christopher McQuarrie stellar reviews, making many think it would be the biggest installment of the franchise ever. In some ways, it was, but the idea of it getting a major bump from the success of last year’s Top Gun: Maverick proved to be unfounded.

Instead, it opened with a decent $15.5 million on Wednesday (which may or may not include Tuesday previews – it’s unclear), another $8.3 million on Thursday, and then an estimated $56.2 million in 4,327 theaters over the weekend. That’s almost $13,000 per theater to bring Dead Reckoning‘s first week box office to $80 million. That really isn’t bad, so why is the industry making it sound like such a disappointment?

Dead Reckoning did even better overseas where it grossed $155 million in 70 markets for a global opening of $235 million with $25 million of that coming from IMAX screens – $11 million domestic, $4 million from China, and $10 million from the rest of those markets.

Audiences generally liked it as much as critics, giving it an “A” CinemaScore, through audience polling, which is the exact same score received by Fallout five years ago. It will be interesting to see how Part 2 fares next year, but first, Part 1 has to get past two unstoppable juggernauts, as mentioned above and below.

Jim Caviezel in Sound of Freedom / Angel Studios

Another big box office story for the weekend was seeing how well Angel Studios‘ drama Sound of Freedom, starring Jim Caviezel, continues to do with its unconventional “pay it forward” ticketing. This weekend, it made $27 million, which was up 37 percent from its opening weekend with $8,269 per theater in 3,265 theaters. It has grossed $85.5 million, which is the best showing for an independent this year, and even last, since that’s more than Best Picture winner, Everything Everywhere All at Once, grossed domestically.

Sony‘s horror franchise sequel, Insidious: The Red Door, dropped to third place with an estimated $13 million (down 61 percent) with a total domestic gross of $58.1 million. Overseas, the Patrick Wilson-directed installment added another $21.5 million for a global total of $122.6 million.

Things just keep going from bad to worse for Harrison Ford‘s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, which dropped 56 percent to fourth place with $12 million and a total domestic gross of $145.4. Overseas, it has just surpassed $300 million, with another $17 million this weekend for $302.4 million globally.

Pixar Animation‘s Elemental got off to a bad start a month ago, opening with less than $30 million. Five weeks later, it’s still in the top five, taking fifth place with $8.7 million (down a mere 13 percent from last weekend), having grossed $125.3 million in North America. That certainly doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you realize that’s higher than Warner BrosThe Flash, which has dropped right out of the top 10 after making just $106.8 million (and currently in less than 800 theaters), it’s quite a coup for the Disney subsidiary. Globally, it has surpassed Indiana Jones with another $28.2 million internationally for $311.7 million.

An even bigger animated hit is Sony’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, which added another $6.1 million to its domestic take of $368.8 million, as the #1 movie of the summer and #2 for the year. It addend another $5.4 million overseas for an international total of $294.7 million and a global total of $663.5 million.

Seventh and eighth place went to Paramount’s Transformers: Rise of the Beasts with $3.4 million (down 33 percent) and the Jennifer Lawrence comedy No Hard Feelings with $3.3 million (down 39 percent), essentially swapping places. Transformers is behind every other movie in the franchise with $152.7 million, while No Hard Feelings is probably doing better than expected with $46.6 million domestic.

That success for No Hard Feelings just makes it sting even worse for Adele Lim‘s Joy Ride, which dropped 56 percent to ninth place with $2.6 million in its second weekend and $10.6 million total. It’s going to lose a lot of theaters this coming Friday, but will be discovered and loved on VOD, that much I’m sure.

Other than Sound of Freedom, the most successful indie release for the weekend was Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman‘s comedy Theater Camp, bought by Searchlight Studios out of Sundance for a reported $8 million and given a platform release into 6 theaters this weekend. It did pretty well with $270,000 or $45,000 average per theater, which is not a bad start for the studio’s planned expansion over the next couple weeks.

Thaddeus O’Sullivan‘s comedy The Miracle Club, starring Dame Maggie Smith, Kathy Bates, and Laura Linney, was released by Sony Pictures Classics into 678 theaters, fairly wide for the studio subsidiary, but it only grossed $679,976 or $1,002 per theater.

Crunchyroll released its latest anime feature, Psycho-Pass: Providence, into 419 theaters, but it tanked with just $210,000 or $501 per theater.

Weekend Box Office

Rank Entry Distributor Revenue Theater Count Total Revenue
1 Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One Paramount Pictures $54,688,347 4,327 $78,491,897
2 Sound of Freedom Angel Studios $27,280,179 3,265 $85,778,760
3 Insidious: The Red Door Sony Pictures $13,001,603 3,188 $58,087,157
4 Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Walt Disney $12,268,425 3,865 $145,628,290
5 Elemental Walt Disney $9,099,221 3,235 $125,688,508
6 Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Sony Pictures $6,052,660 2,577 $368,800,269
7 Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Paramount Pictures $3,441,343 2,041 $152,785,930
8 No Hard Feelings Sony Pictures $3,280,355 2,053 $46,570,526
9 Joy Ride Lionsgate $2,695,461 2,820 $10,737,458
10 The Little Mermaid Walt Disney $2,399,436 1,615 $293,965,993

Data provided by The Numbers, powered by OpusData.

Last Year

Thor: Love and Thunder and Minions: The Rise of Gru remained in first and second place with $46.6 million and $26.8 million, respectively, the Marvel Studios movie taking a 68 percent plunge but ending up with $233.9 million to Minions‘ $263.4 million.

Daisy Edgar-Jones in Where the Crawdads Sing / Sony

Opening in third place was the Sony drama, Where the Crawdads Sing, based on Delia Owens‘ novel, which took in an impressive $17.2 million in 3,650 theaters or $4,727 per theater.

Further down the top 10, in sixth place, was the latest Paramount animated movie, Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, which only made $6.3 million in 3,475 theaters for an average of $1,819 per theater.

Upcoming 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock without any of the dozen social media platforms, you already know about something that’s been dubbed “Barbenheimer,” and all that is the fact that two big anticipated movies are being released the same weekend, hopefully to have enough business by splitting up demos. This isn’t a new thing necessarily, because there have been a few summer face-offs over the years, but for whatever reason, the fans and social media has gotten behind this interesting duo as a potential double feature.

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in Barbie / Warner Bros.

The biggest of the weekend’s two new movies is based on the popular Mattel dolls introduced in the ’50s, although Barbie is just as much about the pairing of director Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird, Little Women) and Oscar nominated A-listers Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, as it is about toys.

The diverse – some might say “woke” – cast includes Simu Liu aka Shang-Chi, Kingsley Ben Adir, Hari Nef, Emma Mackey, John Cena, Issa Rae, Kate McKinnon, Michael Cera, and more, as some version of Barbie and Ken, as well as Will Ferrell as “Mattel CEO.”

There are actually a number of things going for it, beyond the cast, including the fact that almost every single girl and woman will have played with a Barbie at some time in their life, and that brand name value will get many women (and probably many gay men) into theater this weekend. It’s opening in over 4,100 of them, including some premium screens, though not necessarily IMAX.

The LEGO Movie opened with $69 million in Feb. 2014, and grossed $257.8 million domestically, and that seems like the absolute low end for a movie that has already sold out many of its opening weekend screenings. As we saw with The Super Mario Bros. Movie earlier this year, nostalgia can be king at the box office, and that movie is currently the year’s biggest movie with $573.9 million domestic after a $204 million opening week.

The only thing that might kill Barbie is if it ends up getting horrible reviews, which we won’t know about until Tuesday night, but even that being the case, Barbie is looking to open over $100 million this weekend, based on early ticket sales, maybe even as much as $115 million

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer / Universal

The other movie – so different from Barbie that I can’t imagine anyone enjoying both of them equally – is Oppenheimer, the new biopic by Christopher Nolan about atomic bomb pioneer J. Robert Oppenheimer, as played by Cillian Murphy. It’s quite a departure for Nolan after his science fiction-based films like Inception, Interstellar, and Tenet, but more in the vein of his WWII film, Dunkirk.

It also has his most stacked cast ever, with the likes of Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr, Emily Blunt, and Florence Pugh, amongst a cast that includes the likes of Alden Ehrenreich, Jason Clarke, Josh Hartnett, and many, many more, including Nolan returnees, Kenneth Branagh and Matthew Modine.

Nolan is coming off the major stumble that was Tenet, which was hobbled by being released early during the COVID pandemic when New York and L.A. theaters were shuttered. It only made $58.5 million domestic, but it did okay overseas with another $301.7 million.

Normally, a Christopher Nolan movie would be quite a boon for theaters, going by Dunkirk, which opened with $50.5 million in 2017 and grossed $190 million domestic and $322 million overseas. That’s a pretty good barometer for Oppenheimer, since it’s also a historical film with an ensemble cast, and that one opened against Girls Trip, another example of demographic splitting at the box office. Dunkirk did slightly better than Nolan’s outer space epic, Interstellar, but not nearly as well as Inception, which may have been helped by being released between Nolan’s Dark Knight movies.

It’s probably good to realize that Oppenheimer is three hours long, and the topic will probably be less of interest to younger men and any woman compared to, say, Barbie, and that might hinder it from even opening on par with Dunkirk. Even so, it is likely to be a big player come awards time, so expect it to be back in theaters by year’s end, however well it does this weekend.

Expect Oppenheimer to bring in somewhere between $40 and 50 million over the weekend, helped greatly by IMAX ticket prices, although we’ll have to see how critical and audience reactions fare for it, since that will affect anything resembling legs despite having a hold on IMAX screens for three weeks.

There’s also a Lionsgate horror movie called Cobweb, starring Lizzy Caplan, Antony Starr, and Cleopatra Coleman, but we don’t have any theater counts for it or know whether Lionsgate will report box office on it. I guess we’ll find out next weekend.


Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas

Edward Douglas has been writing about the box office for 21 years at places like ComingSoon.netThe Tracking Board, and many others, but mostly under the banner of “The Weekend Warrior.” He’s also a film critic with bylines at Film JournalThe New York Daily NewsDen of Geek, and more.

Box Office Breakdown will be posted each week by Monday morning. You can read other features by Edward Douglas over at Below the Line and Above the Line.

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