‘Barbarian’ Leads Anemic Box Office With $10 Million Opening

Another weekend in the box office dry spell has gone by, and while a newcomer has taken No. 1 with 20th Century/New Regency’s “Barbarian” opening to $10 million from 2,340 theaters, industry estimates have overall weekend grosses sinking to $43.8 million.

That would give this September weekend the second-lowest total of any weekend in 2022. The only weekend with a lower amount is the weekend of Jan. 28 with $34 million. It likely will be more than a month before the box office will get a serious rebound with the DC film “Black Adam” coming Oct. 21, though theaters are hoping that films like next weekend’s Sony release of “The Woman King,” and Universal’s “Bros” and “Halloween Ends” can help stem the tide before then.

For now, “Barbarian” leads the charts with an opening slightly above its high single-digit projections, thanks possibly in part to strong critics reviews and a 92% Rotten Tomatoes score. Audience reception has been a bit more mixed with a C+ CinemaScore and a 75% Rotten Tomatoes audience score, but it is possible that the film may have a bit more legs than the usual horror film.

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In second place on the charts is another film from a Disney subsidiary: Star Studios’ “Brahmastra Part 1: Shiva.” The Bollywood import has opened to $4.4 million in the U.S. from a targeted release of 810 theaters, ranking among the Top 5 highest openings for Hindi-language films in North America. The film also earned a combined $19.5 million from India and the UK, where Disney is also handling distribution through Star.

Sony’s “Bullet Train” is in third with $3.25 million in its sixth weekend for a total of $92.5 million domestic and $195 million worldwide, bringing the $90 million action comedy past the break-even point. Paramount/Skydance’s “Top Gun: Maverick” is in fourth after becoming the sixth film to gross over $700 million domestic last weekend, adding $3.1 million in its 16th weekend. Its totals now stand at $705 million domestic and $1.43 billion worldwide.

Sony/Screen Gems’ “The Invitation” completes the Top 5 with $2.6 million in its third weekend, giving it a domestic total of $18.8 million. Just behind it is the Kirk Cameron faith-based film “Lifemark,” which was released by Fathom Events this weekend at 1,560 locations and earned an estimated $2.2 million.