‘The Nun II’ Edges Out ‘A Haunting in Venice’ by a Hair in Initial Estimates

Only Super Bowl weekend had a lower total gross in 2023, with around $63 million for this weekend. But even on a weekend when no film grossed over $15 million, it matters to studios who gets the bragging rights that come with taking the top spot.

Warner Bros. sent its estimate of $14.7 million for the second weekend of “The Nun II.” Disney had just before claimed $14.5 million for “A Haunting in Venice,” the latest Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot Agatha Christie film.

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This includes guesses for Sunday. The general consensus among rivals is that both figures are too high, but “The Nun II” is better positioned to prevail in a race that might even be closer than it seems. But we really won’t know until Sunday’s actual results are known.

If “The Nun II” did reach $14.7 million, it came with a slightly-better-than-usual drop of only 55 percent for a horror sequel (even more impressive considering its rock bottom C Cinemascore). Making that more plausible is a weekend with better than usual holds for most films, and minimal competition for the genre crowd.

"The Nun II"
“The Nun II”Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

The first “The Nun” in 2018, which opened much higher also in early September, dropped 66 percent its second weekend. But it faced three wide openers, including the remake of “The Predator” ($24 million first weekend) so it had a trickier situation.

“A Haunting in Venice” actually opened better than “Death on the Nile” last year ($12.9 million). That was Super Bowl 2022 weekend, like a mid-September one expected to be low end. “Haunting” received slightly better reviews, the same B Cinemascore, but had the disadvantage of not having the familiarity of either “Death on the Nile” or the earlier “Murder on the Orient Express” either as a print or cinematic standout. It was adapted from “Hallowe’en Party,” a 1969 Christie mystery previously adapted for TV.

It also was third in the Branagh series. All this makes the improvement on “Dean on the Nile” positive, even if the $60 million (before marketing costs) Fox production has some distance to go for profit to suggest continuation of the franchise. Fifty-one territories worldwide grossed just under $23 million.

Anthony Ramos stars in DUMB MONEY.
“Dumb Money”Claire Folger

Craig Gillespie’s “Dumb Money,” fresh off a positive Toronto International Film Festival premiere, but lagging other titles in critical support with a lukewarm 65 Metacritic score, launched the first of three weeks of new theaters with $217,000 in eight theaters in six cities ($27,000 per theater average). The retelling of the GameStop Wall Street story fell short of hopes (there has been chatter of awards competition) of comparable past titles.

To be fair, the four theater New York/Los Angeles PTA came to around $40,000. That’s not stellar, but is closer to what some recent more limited openers have done.

“Bottoms” (MGM), #11 this weekend and nearing $10 million in mid-level wide play, grossed $461,000 in 10 initial theaters three weeks ago, $46,000 PTA. The similar “The Big Short” opened to $706,000 in eight theaters in 2018, $88,000 PTA (at today’s ticket prices, closer to $100,000).

It adds more theaters this Friday before widest release on September 29. With Sony’s push, it likely goes beyond what “Bottoms” has done. With its ensemble cast (including Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, and Pete Davidson) it is not as niche-appeal as the MGM film. Sony is reported to have acquired domestic and some international rights for the film for $20 million.

Among all second week releases in the Top Ten, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” (Focus) held best, dropping 53 percent for third place at $4.7 million. Though not great, it came despite competition for older audiences with “A Haunting in Venice,” as well as Rosh Hoshana overlapping some of the weekend. Interational Indian hit “Jawan” (Yash Raj) fell 59 percent in sixth place.

Older holdovers fared better. Best were two films out on PVOD. “Barbie” (WB), #5, dropped 30 percent, while “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” (Paramount), #10, held even better with a 28 percent fall.

“The Equalizer 3” (Sony) fell 40 percent in third, $7.1 millon. “Oppenheimer” (Universal) was off 32 percent in ninth place.

No new platform release grossed over $10,000, with the Tom Wolfe documentary “Radical Wolfe” (Kino Lorber) faring best with $8,270 in one New York theater. “Amerikatsi” (Variance) expanded to 19 theaters and $92,000, with a PTA just under $5,000.

As mediocre as the results are, for now September remains a significant improvement (75 percent better) over last year so far. The weekend was about 20 percent ahead of last year (when “The Woman King” debuted). Year to date remains around 26 percent ahead of 2022.

The Top 10

1. The Nun II (WB) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$14,730,000 (-55%) in 3,743 (+15) theaters; PTA (per theater average): $3,395; Cumulative: $56,523,000

2. A Haunting in Venice (Disney) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 64; Est. budget: $60 million

$14,500,000 in 3,305 theaters; PTA: $4,387; Cumulative: $14,500,000

3. The Equalizer 3 (Sony) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$7,235,000 (-40%) in 3,528 (-437) theaters; PTA: $2,051; Cumulative: $73,680,000

4. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (Focus) Week 2; Last weekend #3

$4,700,000 (-53%) in 3,678 (+28) theaters; PTA: $1,278; Cumulative: $18,572,000

5. Barbie (Warner Bros.) Week 9; Last weekend #5

$3,965,000 (-30%) in 3,012 (-269) theaters; PTA: $1,316; Cumulative: $626,122,000

6. Jawan (Yash Raj) Week 2; Last weekend #4

$2,494,000 (-59%) in 800 (-13) theaters; PTA: $3,214; Cumulative: $12,194,000

7. Blue Beetle (Warner Bros.) Week 5; Last week #6

$2,475,000 (-35%) in 2,386 (-400) theaters; PTA: $1,037; Cumulative: $67,281,000

8. Gran Turismo (Sony) Week 4; Last weekend #7

$2,350,000 (-33%) in 2,202 (-563) theaters; PTA: $1,067; Cumulative: $39,423,000

9. Oppenheimer (Universal) Week 9; Last weekend #8

$2,100,000 (-32%) in 1,799 (-292) theaters; PTA: $1,167; Cumulative: $318,639,000

10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (Paramount) Week 7; Last weekend #9; also on PVOD

$2,000,000 (-28%) in 2,066 (-34) theaters; PTA: $968; Cumulative: $114,148,000

Other specialized titles

Films (limited, expansions of limited, as well as awards-oriented releases) are listed by week in release, starting with those opened this week; after the first three weeks, only films with grosses over $5,000 are listed. Metacritic scores and film festivals lists as listed.

Dumb Money (Sony) NEW – Metacritic: 65; Festivals include: Toronto 2023

$217,000 in 8 theaters; PTA: $27,080

The Inventor (Blue Fox) NEW – Metacritic: 68; Festivals include: Annecy Animation 2023

$201,061 in 700 theaters; PTA: $287

Camp Hideout (Roadside) NEW – Metacritic:; Festivals include:

$510,160 in 848 theaters; PTA: $602

Radical Wolfe (Kino Lorber) NEW – Metacritic: 68

$8,270 in 1 theater; PTA: $8,270

Rebel (Yellow Veil) NEW – Festivals include: Cannes 2022

$6,500 in 1 theater; PTA: $6,500

Canary (Oscilloscope) NEW

$8,350 in 3 theaters; PTA: $2,783

Amerikatsi (Variance) Week 2

$91,932 in 19 (+16) theaters; PTA: $4,839; Cumulative: $168,598

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Blue Fox) Week 2

$32,329 in 95 (-430) theaters; PTA: $340; Cumulative: $373,363

Bottoms (MGM) Week 4

$1,200,000 in 1,182 (-83) theaters; Cumulative: $9,870,000

Golda (Bleecker Street) Week 4

$111,931 in 196 (-135) theaters; Cumulative: $4,379,000

Fremont (Music Box) Week 4

$28,139 in 28 (+5) theaters; Cumulative: $174,773

Talk to Me (A24) Week 8; also on PVOD

$567,472 in 570 (-350) theaters; Cumulative: $46,923,000

Jules (Bleecker Street) Week 6

$10,464 in 23 (-31) theaters; Cumulative: $1,889,000

CatVideo Fest 2023 (Oscilloscope) Week 7

$30,870 in 20 (-47) theaters; Cumulative: $502,001

Theater Camp (Searchlight) Week 10; also on PVOD and streaming

$25,000 in 45 (-25) theaters; Cumulative: $3,960,000

The Miracle Club (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 10

$16,560 in 39 (-20) theaters; Cumulative: $2,317,000

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