‘The Invitation’ Opening on Top as August Box Office Ends With a Whimper

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In a summer that’s often seen only one new wide release in a weekend, a whopping three new films hit theaters on Friday: Sony’s horror-thriller “The Invitation,” George Miller’s “Three Thousand Years of Longing” and bank heist movie “Breaking,” starring John Boyega. However, none of them seem to be making much of an impact, as the total box office projects a sum in the $50 million to $60 million range. That wouldn’t just be the worst weekend of the summer, but also the worst since February.

“The Invitation” is tracking ahead of the other two, as it looks to claim the weekend’s top spot with a meager $6 million to $7 million gross from 3,114 locations in its opening. Critics didn’t really care for the movie — it landed a 40% approval rating from review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes — and audiences were perhaps more unenthused. The film holds a “C” grade from research firm Cinema Score, indicating a rather snoozy reception from general consumers.

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Even so, “The Invitation” is the favorite to open atop a theatrical wasteland of summer season holdovers and August nonstarters. Luckily, Sony’s horror film was a modest bet, carrying a production of only $10 million.

Directed by Jessica M. Thompson and starring Nathalie Emmanuel and Thomas Doherty, “The Invitation” follows Evie (Emmanuel), an American woman visits her long-lost cousin in the English countryside, only to discover the family’s sinister secrets.

Moving down the chart, “Three Thousand Years of Longing” looks to land outside of the top five after earning $1.16 million from 2,346 locations on Friday. Things have looked glum for the United Artists Releasing film for a few months now, as general sentiment out of the Cannes Film Festival premiere of “Three Thousand Years” was that the film wouldn’t be commercial enough to recoup its hefty $60 million production budget.

Led by Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba, “Three Thousand Years of Longing” focuses on a scholar’s encounter with a djinn, who offers to grant her three wishes. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures is handling domestic distribution, in association with FilmNation Entertainment, Elevate Production Finance and Sunac.

Lastly, Bleeker Street release “Breaking” is likely to land outside of the top ten, projecting a minuscule $1 million weekend gross from 902 locations. The film is based on the true story of a Marine vet who holds people hostage in a bank as he’s on the brink of homelessness. In addition to Boyega, the film stars Michael K. Williams in the late actor’s final film role.

Sony’s “Bullet Train” looks to claim silver, projecting a 30% fall from last weekend for a $5.5 million gross. In four weekends of release, the Brad Pitt action vehicle has expanded its domestic gross to $78 million.

Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick” is putting up another slim drop, falling only 17% in its 14th weekend of release. It speaks to the longevity of the Tom Cruise sequel — and the dreariness of the current landscape — that the film could claim third place three months after its initial release. “Maverick” should push its North American gross to $691 million this weekend, inching closer to Marvel’s “Black Panther” ($700 million) to break into the all-time domestic box office top five.

Last weekend’s champion “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” is in a narrow battle for fourth. The Crunchyroll release took a sharp fall on Friday, tumbling 78% from its opening day with a $1.3 million gross. After stunning with a $21 million debut last weekend, it seems that most “Dragon Ball” fans who wanted to see “Super Hero” prioritized going to theaters, leading to a rather front-loaded performance. The anime film should push its domestic gross to $30 million through Sunday.

Universal’s “Beast” isn’t far behind “Super Hero,” projecting a $4.3 million gross in its sophomore outing. That would mark a 63% tumble for the Idris Elba thriller, which carries a $30 million production budget.

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