As vaccines continue to circulate and seating capacities ease in many areas of the country, the domestic box office is beginning to creep toward its fullest potential (or at least as close as it can come, given that nearly 40% of North American theaters remain shuttered) ahead of the summer blockbuster season that officially kicks off later this month. As expected, Spiral: From the Book of Saw led the crop of new releases with an estimated $8.73M from 2,811 theaters (including $1M from IMAX screens), making it the sixth installment in the long-running Saw series to debut in the top spot.
The sequel’s debut is the largest for a horror film since last year’s The Invisible Man, which opened to $28.21M in February 2020 just a month or so before the pandemic shuttered theaters. And yet, in addition to falling below expectations leading into the weekend, Spiral also boasts the lowest-ever debut for a Saw installment by a long shot, with the previous low being Saw VI’s $14.12M in October 2009.
It almost goes without saying that making a direct comparison with previous entries in the Saw series is unfair given the current state of the domestic theatrical marketplace. Still, even the most conservative estimates pegged the film’s opening at around $10M, marking its debut numbers as a slight disappointment regardless. This is particularly true given that, unlike the previous films, Spiral boasts actual star power in the form of Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, who, along with the new installment’s ripped-from-the-headlines themes of police brutality, injected a note of freshness that the series had been missing for some time. As is the case with most horror sequels, Spiral was frontloaded, dropping 19% from Friday to Saturday and 36% Saturday to Sunday.
For all the efforts to spin the franchise in a unique direction, critics were nonetheless largely indifferent to the film, which currently has a 39% average of Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences, always more hospitable to the franchise, awarded the sequel a much better 76% on the review aggregator and a B- Cinemascore. Fifty-six percent of the opening weekend audience was male and 57% was 25 and older.
Last weekend’s top earner, United Artists’ Wrath of Man, fell 55% in its sophomore frame to an estimated $3.74M in second place, bringing the total for the Guy Ritchie-Jason Statham action film to $14.6M after ten days of release.
Third place went to Warner Bros.’ Those Who Wish Me Dead, the new Angelina Jolie thriller that is also currently streaming on HBO Max. Unfortunately, Jolie’s star power couldn’t overcome a tepid theatrical marketing campaign, leading to a quiet $2.8 million debut from a very wide 3,188 locations. )Top markets for the film were Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Dallas and San Francisco.) The Cinemascore for the film came in at a “B,” while a mixed critical reception puts it at a middling 64% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Demon Slayer dropped two spots to No. 4 in its fourth weekend of release, bringing in an estimated $1.85M for a total of $42.03M to date for the Funimation title.
Raya and the Last Dragon rounded out the top five with an estimated $1.72M, marking another strong hold for the Disney animated release (it dropped just 10% from last weekend). The film’s total now stands at $46.12M after 11 weeks in theaters.
Sixth and seventh place went to two Warner Bros.’ holdovers, Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat, which took in an estimated $1.46M and $1.32M in their seventh and third weekends, respectively. Totals stand at $95.01M for Godzilla vs. Kong and $39.91M for Mortal Kombat.
Roadside Attractions scored an eighth-place debut for its romantic comedy Finding You, which took in an estimated $954k from 1,312 locations. The Irish-set title scored mixed reviews with critics; it currently sits with a 65% average of Rotten Tomatoes.
Focus Features’ Profile, a terrorism-themed thriller about an undercover British journalist being lured by a Jihadi recruiter, opened to a mild $670k from 2,033 theaters in ninth place, giving it a per-screen average of just $330. Taking place entirely over a computer screen, the film failed to draw anything close to the audience of similar semi-recent fare like Searching and Unfriended, even taking into account pandemic-era restrictions and closures. The biggest markets for the film were Los Angeles (12.2% of the opening weekend box office) and New York (5.8%), followed by Phoenix (3.4%), Dallas and San Francisco (both 3.3%).
In its second weekend, the Billy Crystal-Tiffany Haddish dramedy Here Today finished in tenth place with an estimated $530k, giving it a total of $1.91M through Sunday.
Lastly, Paramount’s re-release of Top Gun for the film’s 35th anniversary took in a so-so $200k from 153 locations in its debut.
Spiral: From the Book of Saw took in an estimated $3.3M from 16 international markets including Mexico, Russia/CIS, Australia and Korea, where it opened at No. 1.
Those Who Wish Me Dead grossed an estimated $2.8M from 33 markets, bringing the international total for the film to $4.3M. The top market was Australia, where the Angelina Jolie thriller opened at No. 1 with $981k.
|Title||Estimated weekend||% change||Locations||Location change||Average||Total||Weekend||Distributor|
|Wrath of Man||$3,740,000||-55%||3,007||132||$1,244||$14,600,233||2||United Artists|
|Those Who Wish Me Dead||$2,800,000||3,188||$878||$2,800,000||1||Warner Bros.|
|Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train||$1,850,000||-39%||1,930||-158||$959||$42,020,000||4||FUNimation|
|Raya and the Last Dragon||$1,718,000||-11%||2,285||-30||$752||$46,123,814||11||Walt Disney|
|Godzilla vs. Kong||$1,460,000||-27%||2,484||-269||$588||$95,011,000||7||Warner Bros.|
|Mortal Kombat||$1,320,000||-45%||2,465||-508||$535||$39,906,000||4||Warner Bros.|
|Finding You||$954,000||1,312||$727||$954,000||1||Roadside Attractions|
|Here Today||$530,000||-49%||1,200||$442||$1,908,822||2||Sony Pictures|
|The Unholy||$365,000||-49%||859||-531||$425||$14,777,017||7||Sony Pictures|
|Tom and Jerry||$320,000||-27%||1,657||-174||$193||$45,187,000||12||Warner Bros.|
|The Croods: A New Age||$160,000||-11%||1,097||-103||$146||$58,008,510||25||Universal|
|Four Good Days||$73,000||-68%||326||-163||$224||$775,723||3||Vertical|
|The Girl Who Believes in Miracles||$61,250||-57%||417||-191||$147||$3,049,675||7||Atlas Distribution|
|The Djinn||$41,250||41||$1,006||$41,250||1||IFC Midnight|
|Together Together||$33,791||-77%||165||-284||$205||$1,361,380||4||Bleecker Street|
|The Killing of Two Lovers||$24,500||34||$721||$24,500||1||Neon|
|Walking with Herb||$16,974||-76%||236||-271||$72||$120,226||3||Aloha Releasing|
|The War with Grandpa||$13,684||-58%||70||-38||$195||$21,242,722||32||101 Studios|