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Box Office Breakdown: Meg 2 Takes Out Oppenheimer, Which Settles for Third Place Over Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

After two weeks of “Barbenheimer” dominance, a movie came along that took a chomp out of one side of that double-headed monster, knocking Oppenheimer out of second place. It wasn’t the movie most expected to achieve that deed either.

This Past Weekend

There was no stopping Greta Gerwig‘s Barbie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling – both of whom should expect a bigger payday for the next movies they sign onto post-strike – as it took in another $53 million this weekend, down 43 percent from last weekend. It flew past the $400 million mark on Friday, but with its weekend take, it’s now sitting at $459.4 million domestic, putting it ahead of “Avengers: The Age of Ultron” to put it into the all-time top 25 for domestic grosses. (It also has surpassed Christopher Nolan‘s “Dark Knight Rises,” and is on its way to surpass “The Dark Knight” to become Warners’ highest domestic grosser ever.)

Barbie also became the second movie of 2023 to pass the billion dollar mark globally, and it’s the first movie directed solely by a woman to achieve that landmark. This weekend, it made $74 million overseas to bring its international total to $572.1 million and global gross to $1.03 billion. It’s unlikely to lose the top spot this coming weekend (see below), but then we’ll have to see how it fares against two stronger movies on Aug. 18.

Oppenheimer lost its second place showing to Warners’ other new movie, Meg 2: The Trench, starring Jason Statham and Chinese superstar Wu Jing and directed by Ben Wheatley (Rebecca, High-Rise), which took in $12 million on Friday (including $3.2 million from previews) for an estimated opening weekend of $30 million. Film critics loathed the movie, only allowing it to achieve a 29 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences weren’t that much more thrilled, going by the movie’s “B-” on audience polling site, CinemaScore. Meg 2: The Trench did even better overseas, helped by a $53.3 million opening in China for an international opening of $112 million and global opening of $142 million.

Nolan’s hit biopic had to settle for third place with an estimated $28.7 million, down 39 percent in its third weekend, but with $228.6 million domestic – better than the Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody – as well as better than most of Nolan’s movies going back to 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. Overseas, it’s also doing better than expected with another $52.8 million for an international total of $324.4 million and $552.9 million globally, which is better than Nolan’s Dunkirk.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem image via Paramount

Paramount PicturesTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem opened earlier in the week on Wednesday, with previews on Tuesday and before. It went into the week with hugely-favorable reviews, which allowed it to bring in $10.2 million on Wednesday (including previews) and another $4.9 million on Thursday. Because of its earlier opening, it didn’t do as well over the weekend, having to settle for fourth place with an estimated $28 million for a five-day opening of $43 million. Audiences agreed with critics, giving Mutant Mayhem an “A” CinemaScore, which is a good sign for potential legs.

Disney’s Haunted Mansion took a 63 percent plunge in its second weekend, dropping to fifth place with just under $6 million and $42 million after two weekends, another huge summer miss for the Mouse House.

Angel StudiosSound of Freedom took its biggest hit since opening, dropping 45 percent to sixth place with an estimated $7 million to bring its domestic total to $163.5 million, which would be decent for a studio release but is absolutely bonkers for an independent film that had to work its way up to over 3,000 theaters. It’s booked to start opening overseas next week.

Tom Cruise‘s penultimate Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One dropped to seventh place with $6.5 million, down 39 percent in its fourth weekend for a total of $151 million, which is only better than the third movie, Mission: Impossible III, in 2006. It has a chance of surpassing the original 1996 Mission: Impossible, although its $181 million gross would be much higher accounting for ticket inflation.

It was followed closely by the Philippou Brothers‘ horror film, Talk to Me, which made $6.3 million (down 40 percent) to take eighth place with $22.1 million grossed so far, which should be a feather in the cap for A24, who has generally done well with “elevated horror.”

Searchlight Studios continues to take the slow roll expansion route with its Sundance-purchased comedy, Theater Camp, but this might be backfiring, as it has not been able to get into the top 10 even once (similar to A24‘s Past Lives). This weekend, it $570,000 in 555 theaters to bring its domestic gross to $2.4 million.

UPDATE: A couple of smaller studios released box office estimates after this was already posted, including Sony Pictures Classics reporting that Randall Park‘s Shortcomings made $316,403 in 404 theaters, which was better than Roadside Attractions‘ release of Bill Pohlad‘s Dreamin’ Wild, starring Casey Affleck and Walton Goggins, which tanked with just $129,360 in 402 theaters or $321 average per location.

Weekend Box Office

Rank Entry Distributor Revenue Theater Count Total Revenue
1 Barbie Warner Bros. $53,008,647 4,178 $459,390,060
2 Meg 2: The Trench Warner Bros. $30,002,735 3,503 $30,002,735
3 Oppenheimer Universal $29,121,040 3,612 $228,989,660
4 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem Paramount Pictures $28,007,544 3,513 $43,081,012
5 Haunted Mansion Walt Disney $9,213,064 3,740 $42,262,872
6 Sound of Freedom Angel Studios $7,570,422 2,975 $164,011,020
7 Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One Paramount Pictures $6,610,512 2,422 $151,163,282
8 Talk To Me A24 $6,272,000 2,370 $22,135,000
9 Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Walt Disney $1,593,458 1,190 $170,712,517
10 Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani Viacom18 Motion Pictures $1,500,000 270 $3,200,000

Data provided by The Numbers, powered by OpusData


Last Year

Brian Tyree Henry (L) and Brad Pitt in Bullet Train / Sony Pictures

Last August began with the release of the Brad Pitt action-thriller, Bullet Train, directed by David Leitch (“Deadpool 2”), featuring a (literally) killer supporting ensemble cast, including Michael Shannon, Joey King, Brian Tyree Henry, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bad Bunny, and (in a cameo) Sandra Bullock. Despite its odd premise, Sony released it ultra-wide into 4,357 theaters, where it opened with $30 million or $6,892, not huge but a great start to kick off what is often the worst month of the summer.

Warner Bros’ DC League of Super-Pets dropped to second place with $11 million (down 52 percent), followed by Jordan Peele‘s Nope with $8.5 million (down 54 percent) and Thor: Love and Thunder with $7.7 million (down 42 percent). Thor had grossed $316 million by that point but was trailing behind Universal’s Minions: The Rise of Gru with $334 million domestic. Both of them were just a drop in the bucket to the $662.5 million grossed domestically by Top Gun: Maverick, which finally fell out of the top five after over two months in theaters.

The only other new movie was Jo Koy‘s comedy, Easter Sunday, which tanked with just $5.5 million in 3,175 theaters, averaging $1,716 per theater, which would become an inadvertently bad omen to come for Billy Eichner‘s Bros, which would be released in September.

Upcoming 

Javier Botet in The Last Voyage of the Demeter / Universal Pictures

If things weren’t already looking grim for the “Dog Days of Summer” along comes the Dracula spin-off horror movie, The Last Voyage of the Demeter, directed by André Øvredal (Trollhunter, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark), and starring Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton), David Dasmalchian, Liam Cunningham and Aisling Franciosi from Game of Thrones, Woody Norman (C’mon C’mon), as well as creature performer Javier Botet playing Dracula. It expands on a specific chapter of Bram Stoker‘s book, in which Dracula travels from Romania to England on the Demeter, stowed away in the cargo hold in a box filled with his native soil. But he has to sate his thirst, which he does by sneaking out at night and feeding on the crew of the ship.

There are many problems with this new view on Universal’s popular monster, who first scared audiences in 1931 (though not before Max Schreck took on Stoker’s vampire in Nosferatu in 2022). This is not even Universal’s first attempt to bring Drac back, because the horror-comedy Renfield, starring ATL “whipping boy” Nicholas Hoult as the title character and Nicolas Cage as Dracula, bombed with an $8 million opening back in April, ending up with just $26.7 million worldwide. (Ouch.)

Maybe that movie isn’t a good benchmark for the popularity of Dracula, but his name isn’t in the title of The Last Voyage of the Demeter either, and that is gothic horror, which seems like it might be a tougher sell at least to American audiences. (I can see the movie doing very well in Europe and other overseas markets.) Øvredal has found quite a fanbase among horror and genre fans, so that might help the movie more than any of its cast (none of them doing press due to the SAG-Aftra strike, obviously.)

In other words, it’s not looking good for Demeter to find an audience, at least not in the United States, and it’s just going to be the latest movie to fall to the “Barbenheimer” phenom, especially if it’s not being released very wide, and this isn’t, compared to most Universal wide releases. It’s estimated to be going out into 2,500 theaters, which may be all it can get with so many stronger releases still playing well.

Because of this, I expect this to end up in the $8 to 10 million range, which would allow it to open in fourth or fifth place, at best, depending how big a tumble Meg 2 takes in its second weekend.

Sir Ben Kingsley (L) and friend in Jules / Bleecker Street

The other movie that might be getting a more moderate wide release is Oscar-nominated filmmaker Marc Turtletaub‘s Jules, starring Sir Ben Kingsley, Harriet Sansom Harris, Jane Curtin (yes, from Saturday Night Live), and alien they name (what else?) Jules. Being released by Bleecker Street into an unknown number of theaters, but it could be moderately wide. Early reviews have been surprisingly positive, which I say, because I’ve seen this movie, and it might be the worst thing I’ve seen all year. But hey, I’ve seen commercials on TV for it, and ads in movie theaters, so Bleecker Street must feel confident about it. Will that be enough to get it into the top 10? Maybe or maybe not.

Theater Camp may or may not be going wider this weekend. I honestly have no idea anymore.


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.

Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.
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