‘The Invitation’ To Lead Over ‘Three Thousand Years of Longing’ & ‘Breaking’ In One Of The Year’s Softest Weekends
After a 19% increase in the box office last weekend, which was the first upswing after five weeks of decline, the numbers will drop again this weekend which will likely be the lowest grossing of the past six months. It’s likely that no film will pass $10 million, a statistic we haven’t seen since May 2021, but unfortunately may see a few more times over the next month and a half. There are three new wide releases this weekend, all with potential, but none are likely to draw a huge audience as the box office drought continues.

Sony’s vampire film The Invitation will be the biggest of the new releases and could beat out the holdovers to hit number one, and it also has the largest launch with 3,000 theaters. Nathalie Emmanuel stars as a young American woman who discovers a long-lost relative in England through a DNA test. He invites her to an extravagant wedding in the British country, but what begins as an exciting and romantic experience soon turns into a horrifying nightmare. Jessica M. Thompson, who wrote and directed the acclaimed indie The Light of the Moon, directs from a script she co-wrote with Blair Butler. No reviews are in as of yet. Don’t expect a hit here, but the film should do okay relative to its $10 million budget.

The same cannot be said for the other high profile release of the weekend. Three Thousand Years of Longing is the latest from director George Miller and his first film since Mad Max: Fury Road, but despite the hype from Miller’s fans, there will be few takers for the $60 million budgeted film which is getting a North American release from United Artists. Opening in 2,436 theaters, the Istanbul-set film stars Tilda Swinton as an academic who meets a Djinn (played by Idris Elba), and the film spans millennia as the Djinn weaves tales of empires past. The film premiered at Cannes and received a six-minute standing ovation, but reviews since then have been mixed and it currently stands at 66% on Rotten Tomatoes. Considering the out-there film isn’t a typical crowd-pleasing fantasy adventure and has a more niche appeal, the middling reception could hurt the box-office prospects. It may not even make the top five, but it could see stronger numbers overseas.

Also opening semi-wide is the John Boyega-starring Breaking, debuting in 902 theaters via Bleecker Street. The film tells the true story of Brian Brown-Easley, a veteran from the Marine Corps who hit hard times and robbed a bank out of desperation, and he used the robbery as an opportunity to create awareness towards the difficulties of veterans in America. It’s been well-received (78% on Rotten Tomatoes) since it played in competition at Sundance (then under its original title 892), with comparisons made to Dog Day Afternoon. Breaking is one of the final roles for late actor Michael K. Williams.

Last week’s big winner Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero will likely be the biggest of the holdovers, and it’s a good bet for second place overall though may take the top spot again. Anime films tend to be front-loaded, so expect a steep dive from its $20.1 million opening. April 2021’s Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train, which opened within a spitting distance of Super Hero, dropped 69.5% in its second weekend, and Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie, which opened to $14.8 million this March, fell 69.1% in weekend two. Super Hero’s 2018 predecessor Dragon Ball Super: Broly also saw a similar sophomore fall, dropping 69.4%, though that film had a Wednesday opening ahead of a long MLK weekend. If Super Hero falls in a similar fashion as those films, then it would gross around $6 million this weekend.

Though it is unlikely, Beast could top that if it holds well following its $11.6 million opening. A 48% hold would give the film a second weekend of $6 million, which would make it a tight race between the holdovers. Horror films are also accustomed to second weekend nosedives, but it is far from a rule, and our comp Crawl (which opened to $12 million in July 2019) fell 49.2% in its second weekend.

Getting a limited release day-and-date with streaming is Funny Pages from A24. Owen Kline writes and directs this darkly humorous coming of age story about an aspiring comic artist in New Jersey, giving off '90s vibes as it portrays a lost world of geekdom. The film played at Cannes and has received mostly positive reviews (81% on Rotten Tomatoes).