‘A Haunting in Venice’ and ‘Nun II’ in Tight Race at Box Office

Two films filled with supernatural horror are in a tight race at the box office this weekend, as Disney/20th Century’s “A Haunting in Venice” and Warner Bros./New Line’s “The Nun II” are both estimated to earn $13-14 million at the box office this weekend.

Industry estimates currently have “A Haunting in Venice” getting the narrowest edge for No. 1 at $13.7 million from 3,305 theaters after earning a $5.5 million opening day. That’s a step above pre-release projections for Kenneth Branagh’s third Poirot film, which was expected to match the $12.8 million opening of last year’s predecessor “Death on the Nile.”

But that opening is also well short of the $28.6 million opening of the first Poirot film, “Murder on the Orient Express,” in 2017; and it leaves “Haunting” with a ways to go to turn a theatrical profit against its $60 million budget, though that is considerably less than the $90 million budget for “Death on the Nile.”

Along with the lower budget, “A Haunting in Venice” also has the best reviews from critics for any of the Branagh Poirot films with a 78% Rotten Tomatoes score to go with a B on CinemaScore. Disney will hope for the film to leg out among older audiences and perhaps find some footing as a spooky Halloween offering, though it will face competition on the latter front.

“The Nun II” is right behind in industry estimates with $13.6 million in its second weekend, giving it a 10-day total of around $55 million. While that’s only slightly more than what the first “Nun” made in just its opening weekend, the “Conjuring” horror film is still on its way to becoming a decent theatrical success against its reported $35 million budget.

Sunday estimates may offer a clearer look at who takes No. 1 this weekend, but it’s still a rather rough one for theaters as the box office is settling into a slower period that likely will last until the release of Taylor Swift’s concert film, which has already made over $65 million in presales.

That presale total is more than the estimated $63 million that the box office’s overall total is expected to reach this weekend. That’s the second lowest weekend total seen this year, standing only above the $52 million earned on the historically slow Super Bowl weekend.

But even on this slower weekend, the year’s biggest one-two punch of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” continue to pass milestones. “Barbie,” which Warner Bros. released on video on-demand this week, is still in the top five as it passes the $623 million unadjusted domestic total of Marvel’s “The Avengers” to take the No. 11 spot on the all-time charts.

“Oppenheimer,” meanwhile, will see its global total rise to $912 million. In doing so, it has passed “Bohemian Rhapsody” as the highest grossing biopic in box office history. The result also lifts Universal to $4 billion in global grosses, marking the third time since the pandemic that a studio has passed that mark.

In limited release, Sony’s meme stock film “Dumb Money” is having a solid run in eight theaters, as it is estimated to earn $198,000 for a per theater average of $24,806. The film has been well received with an 83% Rotten Tomatoes score and will expand next weekend before going wide on Sept. 29

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