This weekend’s new releases are meeting their pre-release projections, with Sony/Columbia’s action comedy “Bullet Train” earning $12.6 million from 4,357 locations on opening day — including $4.6 million from previews — and is now estimated for a $30 million box office opening.
Prior to release, trackers had projected a $26-33 million launch driven by a predominantly male audience for the R-rated film starring Brad Pitt. While critics have been mixed with a 55% Rotten Tomatoes score, audience reception has been better with a B+ on CinemaScore, 4/5 on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 81%.
But “Bullet Train” faces a difficult road to profitability with its reported $90 million budget, and a lack of serious competition for the rest of August may not be enough to allow the film to leg out past the break-even point unless it gets support from the international box office.
This is already happening with last week’s No. 1 film, Warner Bros.’ “DC League of Super-Pets,” which has fallen 53% from its $23 million opening for an estimated second weekend of $10-11 million. While that is a $44.6 million estimated 10-day total consistent with the pace of the DreamWorks spring animated release “The Bad Guys,” “Super-Pets” is not getting as much support from overseas grosses and is inching closer to flop status.
Farther down the charts, Universal/DreamWorks’ “Easter Sunday” has opened in the No. 8 slot with $2 million grossed on opening day from 3,175 theaters for an estimated $5 million opening that sits on the low end of $5-7 million projections.
Starring Jo Koy in a story about a Filipino American comedian taking his son to an Easter family reunion, the comedy has had similar reception to “Bullet Train” with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 47% critics and 71% audience to go with a B+ on CinemaScore. Also like “Bullet Train,” “Easter Sunday” will have to leg out in the slow-performing late August period to turn a profit, though it has a much lower bar to clear with a $17 million budget.