Box Office Doldrums Continue as ‘Barbarian’ Debuts With $10 Million

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Barbarian,” a horror movie that may have audiences thinking twice about booking that next Airbnb, scared up a better-than-expected $10 million in its domestic debut.

Since the box office has been a wasteland for some weeks now, those ticket sales were enough to lead domestic charts, despite barely reaching double digits. This weekend’s other new nationwide release, “Brahmastra Part One: Shiva,” opened in second place with $4.4 million from 810 North American theaters. Both films are backed by Disney.

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Though “Barbarian” landed a tepid “C+” CinemaScore, the twisty thriller is benefitting from word-of-mouth, given the film’s zany and flat-out terrifying turns. Variety’s Peter Debruge gave “Barbarian” high praise, calling it a “new horror classic,” one that gets “downright demented as it goes along.” If “Barbarian,” which stars Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård and Justin Long, keeps people talking, the movie is likely to keep filling seats during a creaky September at the box office.

For an original, low-budget horror story, David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research, refers to the debut as “a good opening.”

“The weekend figure is somewhat above average and reviews are sensational,” he said. “These are relatively inexpensive and profitable movies that are enjoyed best on a big screen.”

For “Brahmāstra,” the first in a three-part Bollywood film franchise, landing in second place isn’t too shabby since it’s only playing in 810 theaters, far fewer venues than most movies currently in wide release.

“Brahmāstra: Part One” takes place in modern-day India and follows Shiva — a young man on the brink of an epic love, with a girl named Isha. But their world is turned upside down when Shiva learns that he has a mysterious connection to a secret society called Brahmānsh.

In Variety’s review, Courtney Howard called the movie “special and innovative,” as well as a “wildly entertaining jump start to a planned trilogy – touted as Bollywood’s first original cinematic universe, the ‘Astraverse.'”

Sony’s “Bullet Train” landed in third place with $3.2 million from 3,056 North American theaters, bringing its domestic tally to $92.5 million.

At No. 4, Paramount’s enduring blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick” nabbed $3.17 million in its 16th week on the big screen. For those keeping score at home, Tom Cruise’s blockbuster sequel has remained in the top five on domestic box office charts for 15 weeks of the past 16 weeks. So far, “Top Gun 2” has grossed an astounding $705.6 million in North America and $747.8 million overseas.

“The Invitation” took the fifth slot with $2.6 from 3,117 venues. After three weeks of release, Sony’s creepy thriller has generated $18 million.

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