‘One Piece’ To Challenge ‘Black Adam’ In Quiet Weekend
Next weekend will give a much needed jolt to the box office when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens and likely pushes the overall box office above $200 million for the first time since July. This weekend, it’s unlikely to even cross $60 million. With nothing significant opening, expect a drop from last weekend’s soft $67.7 million total, which itself was down 40% from the $114 million cume the weekend before when Black Adam was able to rescue us from the box office slump, if only for one weekend.

The most notable new release this weekend is the anime One Piece Film: Red from Crunchyroll. This is the 15th feature film in the multimedia franchise that began as a manga in 1999, and it has already broken records at the Japanese box office since opening in August. With $118 million, it is the year’s top grossing film in the Land of the Rising Sun, and it is the country’s ninth highest grossing film of all time. None of the previous One Piece films have broken out yet in North America, with the latest film One Piece: Stampede giving the series its best showing when it grossed a modest $1.3 million in 2019. The domestic anime market has grown significantly in recent years, though, and Crunchyroll/FUNimation titles from 2021-2022 such as Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie, and Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train have all opened in the range of around $20 million (and in Dragon Ball’s case, it more than doubled the previous best opening in the series). One Piece may not open so high, but it’s a good contender for one of the first two slots at the box office this weekend.

Black Adam will occupy the other top spot in its third weekend, hopefully leveling out a bit after its 59% fall last weekend. With a gross of $115 million through Tuesday, it is running roughly equal to Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw’s cume at the same point in its release. That film finished $174 million, and Black Adam could follow suit (though unfortunately it won’t come close to Hobbs & Shaw’s huge $585 million international cume). Still, we might not see as strong of legs given that H&S was the last big film of the summer while Black Adam’s grosses could take a knock when it faces off with the massive MCU film coming next weekend. A good hold this weekend would be nice to ease a potentially large drop in the next frame. Either way, though, the roughly $200 million budgeted DCEU film could struggle to recover its costs theatrically, with the international cume of $139 and worldwide cume of $255 million being somewhat underwhelming after two weeks, especially with major competition on the way.

Ticket to Paradise should come in third place. This prime piece of mainstream adult counterprogramming will likely continue to hold well in its third weekend (after a 40% drop in its second weekend), and it has no fierce competition in the weeks ahead to lure away its audience. The $36.2 million cume through Tuesday is just slightly behind the 12 day cume of The Woman King ($38.3 million), and we’ll see if it can keep tracking along with that film which dropped 38% in its third weekend with $6.8 million. Ticket to Paradise looks likely to meet its $60 million budget domestically and it is already well past that point abroad ($87.2 million), so this is in good shape to be profitable.

The specialty box office is also seeing some significant expansions. Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, which has gotten some of the year’s best reviews (97% on Rotten Tomatoes) in addition to awards buzz, is going to around 800 screens in its third weekend. The Searchlight film which stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson was launched in four theaters two weekends ago, and it earned the year’s second best theater average for a limited release with $46k (behind only Everything Everywhere All at Once), though its expansion to 53 theaters last weekend saw the average fall to $9k. Don’t expect this to be a breakout hit a la McDonagh’s 2017 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which grossed $54.5 million in its domestic run, but it could perform better than the also exceptionally well reviewed, awards buzzy Tár, which had a similarly strong limited start but grossed a more down to earth $1 million last weekend when it expanded to 1,087 screens. Also expanding this weekend is Focus’ James Gray directed Armageddon Time, which had a softer $11k average when it opened in six theaters last weekend.