(Updated below to include mention of two additional releases this weekend.)
The post-Labor Day frame officially kicks off moviegoing’s fall season with school back in session across the country, but unlike past years, there isn’t a major release to help anchor the market.
Audiences had been spoiled in pre- and mid-pandemic years of late with the likes of It, The Nun, It: Chapter Two, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings opening around this point on the calendar since 2017 (and even Tenet in 2020, with obvious restrictions in play at the time). This summer’s delay of Salem’s Lot (now undated for sometime in 2023), however, left an empty spot for the frame that is now filled by 20th Century Studios’ Barbarian.
That looks like the front-runner for the weekend with an estimated 2,200 location count and a PLF presence in Dolby and other auditoriums. Reviews were just becoming available at the time of this writing, sitting at 94 percent from 17 Rotten Tomatoes critics, so it remains to be seen if the hunger for new content and appeal to horror fans ready for Halloween season will drive the film this weekend.
Unfortunately, marketing hasn’t been as prevalent for Barbarian as it was for those aforementioned genre films of yore. In fact, that’s become a common theme for Disney when handling 20th Century Studios titles over the past year-plus (other than rare exceptions like Free Guy and West Side Story).
Tracking and pre-sales are comparable to Sony’s The Invitation, which pulled a $6.8 million debut two weeks ago without premium screen space.
On the specialty release front, Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva will open in an estimated 750 domestic locations this weekend with hopes of following in the footsteps of this year’s earlier Indian hit import, RRR, which opened to $9.5 million at 1,200 theaters.
Pre-sales aren’t nearly on the level of that film at the moment, though, but there could be some upside for surprise this weekend given the limited nature of tracking samples.
Meanwhile, a couple of other films will debut nationwide: The Avenue’s Medieval and Fathom Events’ Lifemark. Both are excluded from forecasts at this time, though the latter could be a dark horse candidate to crack the top ten with the grassroots marketing of faith-based audiences, the Kendrick Brothers, and Kirk Cameron behind it.
Lifemark will be running for seven days with a projected release at more than 1,600 locations this weekend. Medieval looks to crack 1,300 sites.
Holdover-wise, forecasts are more volatile than usual due to the success of last weekend’s National Cinema Day. As that Saturday drew an attendance north of 8 million ticket buyers, box office results were skewed throughout the weekend.
It stands to reason that many will sit this weekend out with not much new, widely appealing content opening. That’s coupled with the traditional history of late summer holdovers beginning to lose steam post-Labor Day as football season hits high gear.
Weekend Range: $6 – 11 million
Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva
Weekend Range: $3 – 6 million
Weekend Forecast & Location Count Projections
Current projection ranges call for a 26 to 35 percent decline from last weekend’s $42.4 million top ten aggregate.
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, September 11||Location Count Projection (as of Wed)||3-Day % Change from Last Wknd|
|Barbarian||20th Century Studios (Disney)||$8,000,000||$8,000,000||~2,200||NEW|
|Top Gun: Maverick||Paramount Pictures||$4,000,000||$706,900,000||-33%|
|Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva||Star Studios||$3,600,000||$3,600,000||~750||NEW|
|Bullet Train||Sony Pictures||$3,300,000||$92,900,000||-43%|
|DC League of Super-Pets||Warner Bros. Pictures||$2,900,000||$86,000,000||-42%|
|Spider-Man: No Way Home (Re-Issue)||Sony Pictures & Marvel Studios||$2,100,000||$9,500,000||-61%|
|The Invitation||Sony Pictures||$2,000,000||$18,300,000||-59%|
|Minions: The Rise of Gru||Universal & Illumination Animation||$1,900,000||$362,800,000||-46%|
|Where the Crawdads Sing||Sony 3000 Pictures||$1,200,000||$87,500,000||-41%|
*All forecasts are subject to revision before the first confirmation of Thursday previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.
Theater counts are updated as confirmed by studios. The above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.