Taylor Swift Adds $31 Million, ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Opens to $23 Million at Box Office

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Paramount and Apple are hoping Martin Scorsese’s 206-minute epic has long legs at the box office

Taylor Swift speaks before playing "Champagne Problems" in "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" (Credit: AMC)
Taylor Swift speaks before playing "Champagne Problems" in "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" (AMC)

AMC/Variance’s “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” looks like it is heading towards a more frontloaded box office run, but is still doing much of the heavy lifting for the marketplace with a $31 million second weekend.

With $129.8 million grossed so far, the concert film is among the top 20 highest grossing films of 2023. While it is only screening between Thursday and Sunday, it should have enough momentum to pass the $145 million domestic run of “Fast X” and become the 16th film this year to clear $150 million in North America.

With a 66% drop from its $92.8 million opening weekend, it’s becoming clear that “Eras Tour” won’t achieve the most optimistic hopes theater owners had of finding an audience outside of Swift’s massive — and mostly young and female — fanbase.

But Swift’s gift of a $100 million-plus theatrical success is still a welcome one to exhibitors as the grossing potential of the rest of the year’s release slate remains highly questionable due to the lack of surefire franchise megahits and uncertainty surrounding the marketing of films like “The Marvels” and “Wonka” due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, which reached its 100th day on Saturday as studios and the actors guild plan to once again meet this week to discuss a deal.

One major movie that didn’t have its Oscar-winning stars to promote it was Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which was released in 3,628 theaters this weekend. Despite the absence of Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Lily Gladstone from the media circuit, as well as the film’s 206-minute run time, “Flower Moon” earned a respectable $23 million opening weekend.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” marks the beginning of a new distribution strategy for Apple Original Films, partnering with legacy studios to give films like Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” and Matthew Vaughn’s “Argylle” a full theatrical release, with the hope that it will increase interest in those titles when they get released on Apple TV+.

While those partners, including Paramount on “Flower Moon,” cover distribution, Apple is covering marketing and production costs, including the $200 million budget for Scorsese’s film.

With that in mind, it will be several months before the full results of Apple’s approach are revealed. Theatrically, Paramount and Apple are hoping that “Killers of the Flower Moon” can have long legs, especially considering that the film’s 206-minute length requires interested moviegoers to carve out more time to head out to theaters and likely kept a good chunk of the film’s core fanbase from seeing it on opening weekend.

But here’s some particularly good news for “Killers of the Flower Moon”: 44% of its opening weekend audience is under the age of 30.

Scorsese’s films are expected to have an older-skewing audience, and that balance may continue to skew towards older moviegoers in the coming weekends, but such a strong early result from younger crowds shows that a group of younger cinephiles may provide some box office support as well.

Another encouraging sign: “Killers of the Flower Moon” earned an A- on CinemaScore and a 4.5/5 score on PostTrak with a 72% overall recommend rating. For all of his acclaim from critics and film scholars, Scorsese’s films haven’t always struck a chord with audiences upon release. “Flower Moon” has earned the same CinemaScore grade as “Goodfellas” and “The Departed,” and a higher grade than Scorsese films like “Casino,” “The Aviator,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Beyond Swift and Scorsese, box office returns are very low…so low that a Disney re-release of Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” has cracked the top 5 with $4.1 million grossed from 1,650 theaters.

Other films in the top 5 include Universal/Blumhouse’s “The Exorcist: Believer,” which earned $5.6 million in its third weekend for a $54.2 million domestic total; and Paramount’s “Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie” with $4.3 million in its fourth weekend for a $55.9 million domestic total.

While the box office is currently lacking depth, this weekend marks the point that the 2023 domestic box office passed the $7.36 billion total earned through all of 2022. Currently, the domestic box office to date is 25% ahead of last year’s pace, though 18% behind 2019.

Next weekend will see the release of Universal/Blumhouse’s “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” a horror film based on the hit indie video game series that has the potential to outgross “The Exorcist: Believer” despite its day-and-date release on Peacock.

With a legion of young fans built since the start of the “FNAF” series in 2014, the film is expected to earn an opening weekend of at least $40 million with rival distributors telling TheWrap that they see significant upside with a potential opening weekend of $50 million or higher.

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