While the film landed the No. 1 spot, it netted significantly smaller box office numbers than Black Widow, which earlier this month set a pandemic era record with an $87 million opening. The big difference, though, is Old was only available in theaters, while Black Widow benefitted from $60 million of its week 1 takings via Disney+ with premiere access. Old also wasn't part of a massive comic book franchise.
"Horror movies have been sort of the go-to genre, really, even throughout the entire pandemic," Comscore Senior Media Analyst Paul Dergarabedian told EW on Sunday, noting Shyamalan's last two films with Universal — Split and Glass, both also debuted at No. 1.
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, another only-in-theaters release, took second with $13.35 million.
Universal Pictures; Paramount Pictures Gael Garcia Bernal and Alex Wolff in 'Old'; Henry Golding in 'Snake Eyes'
Both films saw mixed reviews from critics (a 52 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes for Shyamalan's film on Sunday afternoon, and 42 percent for Snake Eyes). They were also released during the Olympics, and as parts of the U.S. experienced an uptick in COVID-19 cases, with mask mandates back in effect in cities like Los Angeles.
"Right now, the external forces on the entire marketplace, in terms of any brick and mortar business, are being brought to bear," Dergarabedian told EW. "I think there was a lot more optimism and consumer confidence just a few weeks ago.
"I think we have to look at this as a marketplace that is still evolving — and not so much from the movie release perspective because these movies have been pretty much set on these release dates for a while… but to just show how unpredictable this marketplace is," Dergarabedian continued. "The way that audiences feel about attending any outside the home activity right now is changing every day."
Scarlett Johansson's presumed Marvel swan song as Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow, took the third spot over the weekend with $11.6 million, while last week's No. 1, Space Jam: A New Legacy, fell to fourth, bringing in just $9.5 million. F9 switched into a lower gear, parking at No. 5 with around $4.7 million in takings.
Rounding out the top 10 were Escape Room: Tournament of Champions ($3.4 million), Boss Baby: The Family Business ($2.7 million), The Forever Purge ($2.3 million), A Quiet Place Part II ($1.25 million), and Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain ($830K).