Nope took the top spot at the box office this weekend and is another win for original IP with moviegoers, but it did debut below tracking, which means its weekend gross indicates a more mixed reaction from Jordan Peele’s fanbase.
Nope grossed $44 million over the weekend, which is below my $65 million prediction but still a solid opening for an original sci-fi/horror film at the box office. For original IP, Nope came in higher than 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ($41 million), and any horror film opening above the $40 million mark is also a win for any studio. Universal Pictures is also scoring with horror films during the COVID-era as this is their fifth release that has seen solid openings after The Black Phone, Halloween Kills, Candyman, and The Forever Purge.
Now let’s talk about potential cracks. Nope scored a “B” CinemaScore from opening day audiences which isn’t bad for horror, but it also indicates more mixed word of mouth. Peele’s last film, Us, received a similar score, while Get Out remains king with an “A-” score. The audience score on Rotten Tomatoes is 71%, which shows that Nope is a bit more polarizing. I saw the film and loved it, but I could tell from the reactions in my packed theater that half the crowd was either confused by what they watched or just flat out didn’t like it. Jordan Peele took chances with Nope, and it’s something I respect, but I think this movie might be too slightly out of the box for some. Also, with a $68 million budget, it’s tough to tell if Nope will be as profitable as his prior two releases, which had budgets of $4.5 million and $20 million, respectively. The good news is, other than Bullet Train, the rest of the summer slate is pretty slim, so there isn’t much competition. Nope could still leg it out to over $100 million stateside, even with a pretty hefty drop next weekend. Also, international figures won’t come into play until the film begins its offshore rollout in mid-August.
Dropping to second place and pretty much in line with my predictions is Thor: Love and Thunder, which grossed $22.1 million. That’s a drop of 53%, which was expected given the mixed reaction to the film. Marvel had other reasons to celebrate this weekend: their presentation in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con did not disappoint, so they can ignore some of these numbers for Thor: Love and Thunder. The film should still clear $300 million stateside, and globally it’s performing quite well, with a total of $598.2 million worldwide. Its domestic total stands at $276.2 million.
Minions: The Rise of Gru continues to be the top choice, with kids and families in third place with a gross of $17.7 million. That’s a drop of 34% as the Minions sequel is benefitting from really being the only game in town regarding choices for kids at the multiplex. Minions: The Rise of Gru has grossed $297.8 million at the domestic box office.
Where The Crawdads Sing holds well in fourth place with a gross of $10.3 million. That’s a decline of 40%, which is good since the film has a more niche fanbase thanks to the book’s popularity. The female demographic has come out in support of the film, and that’s what it needed to pull off being a moderate success. The real-life drama involving the novel’s author doesn’t seem to affect the box office. To date, Where The Crawdads Sing has grossed $38.3 million at the domestic box office.
Rounding out the top five is another remarkable hold for Top Gun: Maverick, which only dipped 19% to $10 million. There isn’t more that can be said about this film’s run. It’s defying all expectations, and it has been a joy to watch it perform so incredibly after nine weeks of release. To date, Top Gun: Maverick has grossed $635.5 million at the domestic box office and has cleared $1.2 billion worldwide.
What are YOUR thoughts on this weekend’s box office results?