BOX OFFICE: “Barbarian” wins, but with half what it would have opened with pre-Pandemic

The post summer hangover at the box office continues, with numbers further deflated by the hole COVID punched into the movie-going habits of millions.

Horror used to be the most reliable, if never the biggest audience at the cineplex. Endless “Saw,” “Halloween” and “Insidious” sequels could always count on an $18-24 million opening, with occasional breakouts like “A Quiet Place” becoming blockbusters.

COVID has flattened that turnout. Even a terrific film like “Barbarian,” a real creeper, with horror in its DNA and a few minor names in its cast, should have managed $15-20. It did not. A $10 million opening is about half what it might have pulled in.

Will that audience find it next week? Maybe. Maybe not. Horror fankids tend to chomp at the bit and bite off their tickets opening weekend.

“The Black Phone,” just as good, had Ethan Hawke and a King family horror franchise tie-in and opened at pretty much what it would have earned pre-COVID — just under $24.

Indian imports have done unusually well in the American marketplace post-COVID. An audience returning to theaters quicker than other segments of the culture? Disney released “Brahmastra Part I: Shiva” on 810 theaters and it ended up earning about $4.4 million. Nothing great, but considering how poorly everything else is performing.

Bullet Train” added another $3.2 million. It’s at $92, and should reach the $100 million mark.

Waiting on other figures to come in via Exhibitor Relations, and this will be updated as they do.

“Top Gun: Maverick,” finally slid off steeply enough to drop into the $3 million range ($3.1), $705 million four months into its North American run.

“Medieval” opened wide but not well, an $810 weekend take for this Avenue release starring Ben Foster, Michael Caine and Sophie Lowe.

Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul” deserved better. It added another $225k, $2.4 million taken in this far.

The hostage drama “Breaking” was a bust, dropping to $225k its third weekend.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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