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‘Bullet Train’ Repeats No. 1, ‘Top Gun’ Returns to No. 2 as Box Office Nearly Halts

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 14 (Variety.com) — Is everyone on vacation?

This would be a plausible explanation behind the big box office downturn. Although three new films opened domestically, none could crack the top five on the domestic charts and only two – A24’s satirical slasher “Bodies Bodies” and Lionsgate’s dizzying thriller ” Fall” – managed to infiltrate the top 10.

It’s even more disastrous that Sony’s action-thriller “Bullet Train,” which took the No. 1 spot for the second consecutive weekend with $13.1 million from 4,357 North American sites, was the only film to bank at least $10 million in ticket sales. After two weeks on the big screen, the Brad Pitt-directed “Bullet Train” has grossed $54.4 million at the domestic box office. This weekend marks the first time since Feb. 11-13 – when ‘Death on the Nile’ opened to a low $12.3 million and Jennifer Lopez’s rom-com ‘Marry Me’ stumbled with yet another less – that a single film reached at least $10 million between Friday and Sunday.

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And the icy drip, drip, drip in ticket sales will only get worse as the box office heads into an almost desolate stretch with hardly any new offerings from major studios on the horizon. As movie theater owners brace for the downtrend, they bow to the altar of Harry Styles in hopes the pop idol will inspire audiences to return to theaters in droves for the film mind-blowing “Don’t Worry Darling” from director Olivia Wilde, which doesn’t open until September 23. Until then, exhibitors will have to make do with smaller thrillers and dramas like Idris Elba’s “Beast,” which hits theaters Aug. 19; “Three Thousand Years of Longing,” a fantasy romance with Tilda Swinton and Elba (again) on August 26; and the Viola Davis-directed historical epic “The Woman King” on September 16.

In eighth place, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” exceeded expectations with $3.2 million from 1,290 sites. After debuting last weekend in limited release, the film has grossed $3.5 million so far and plans to expand to over 2,000 theaters next weekend. But otherwise, audiences didn’t want much to do with “Fall” and Diane Keaton’s body-swapping comedy “Mack & Rita,” the other movie that debuted over the weekend.

“Fall” just landed in 10th place with $2.5 million from 1,548 theaters. The film, centering on two best friends who climb 2,000 feet to the top of an abandoned radio tower and find themselves stranded with no way out, was relatively low risk for Lionsgate as it cost just $3 million to produce and less. $4 million to promote. . It won’t take a lot of coins to make a profit, and home entertainment will come in handy in that mission.

Elsewhere, Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi classic “ET” – which debuted 40 years ago – brought in more money this weekend than Keaton’s “Mack and Rita.” The Gravitas Ventures release premiered at #13 with $1.03 million from 1,930 screens. Universal’s re-release of “ET” grossed $1.07 million on just 389 Imax screens.

As expected, “Mack and Rita” featured mostly older women, with 74% of ticket buyers identifying as female and 69% being over 30. They weren’t kind to the film, which nabbed a “D+” CinemaScore. The reviews were equally harsh, resulting in a grim score of 26% on Rotten Tomatoes.

With the dismal turnout for most other films, Paramount’s ever-powerful blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick” surged to second place in its 12th weekend of release. The action sequel added $7.1 million across 3,181 sites over the weekend, bringing its domestic total to $673.8 million. That means “Maverick” is about $5 million away from dethroning Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” as the sixth-highest-grossing movie in domestic box office history.

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