‘Bullet Train’ repeats No. 1, ‘Top Gun’ returns to No. 2 as box office nearly grinds to a halt

Although there were three new films released nationwide, none of them managed to break into the top five of the domestic charts, with only two A24 satirical slasher “Bodies Bodies Bodies” and Lionsgate’s dizzying thriller “Fall” managing to break into the top 10.

Even more frighteningly, Sony’s action thriller “Bullet Train,” which took the top spot for the second straight weekend with $13.1 million from 4,357 North American locations, was the only film to gross at least $10 million at the box office. After two weeks on the big screen, “Bullet Train” with Brad Pitt collected $54.4 million at the box office. This weekend, Death on the Nile opened with a weak $12.3 million for the first time since Feb. 11-13, while Jennifer Lopez’s romantic comedy Marry Me stumbled with even less than the only film to reach the $10 million minimum from Friday to Sunday.

And the glacial drip, drip, drip of ticket sales is only going to get worse as the box office approaches a near-deserted lot and there are hardly any new offers from the major studios on the horizon. As cinema owners brace for a recession, they are bowing at the altar of Harry Styles in the hope that the pop heartthrob will inspire audiences to return to cinemas in droves to see director Olivia Wilde’s thrilling film ‘Don’t Worry Darling’, which has not opened to September 23. Until then, exhibitors will have to make do with smaller thrillers and dramas, such as Idris Elba’s “Beast,” out Aug. 19; Three Thousand Years of Longing, a fantasy romance with Tilda Swinton and Elba (again) on August 26; and Viola Davis’ historical epic The Woman King on September 16.

In eighth place, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” beat expectations with $3.2 million from 1,290 locations. After opening last weekend in limited release, the film has grossed $3.5 million to date and plans to open in 2,000+ theaters next weekend. But otherwise, audiences wanted nothing to do with “The Fall” and Diane Keaton’s body-swapping comedy “Mac & Rita,” the second film to debut over the weekend.

“Fall” barely finished at No. 10 with $2.5 million from 1,548 venues. The film, which centers on two best friends who climb 2,000 feet to the top of an abandoned radio tower and become stranded with no way down, was a relatively low risk for Lionsgate as it cost just $3 million to produce and less than $4 million to promote . . It doesn’t take a lot of coins to make a profit and home entertainment will help in this mission.

Elsewhere, Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi classic “Inshalt,” which debuted 40 years ago, took in more money over the weekend than Keaton’s “Mac & Rita.” The Gravitas Ventures production premiered in 13th place with $1.03 million from 1,930 screens. Universal’s “ET” remake earned $1.07 million from just 389 Imax screens.

As expected, Mack and Rita featured mostly older women, with 74% of ticket buyers identifying as female and 69% as over 30. They weren’t kind to the film, which received a CinemaScore grade of “D+.” Reviews were equally harsh, leading to a dismal 26% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

With a terrible turnout for most other films, Paramount’s perennially powerful blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick” jumped to second place in its 12th weekend at the box office. The action sequel added $7.1 million from 3,181 venues 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 film in domestic box office history.

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