LOS ANGELES (AP) – The horror film The Invitation needed just USD7 million to finish at the top of the weakest weekend of the summer at the North American box office, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
Directed and co-written by Jessica M Thompson and starring Game of Thrones actor Nathalie Emmanuel, The Invitation tells the story of a young woman who after her mother’s death discovers dark secrets at her family home in the English countryside.
It debuted on 3,141 screens for Sony and cost just USD10 million to make.
Sony also had the number two movie with the Brad Pitt vehicle Bullet Train, which brought in an estimated USD5.6 million from 3,513 screens in its fourth week, bringing its domestic total to USD78.2 million.
Universal’s Beast, starring Idris Elba, finished third with USD4.9 million in its second week, after making USD11.6 million and ranking second in its first.
Elba was also the star of the week’s other major debut, Three Thousand Years of Longing, the fantasy epic from Mad Max director George Miller, which brought in just USD2.9 million on 2,436 screens and finished a distant and disappointing seventh. The lagging results were no great surprise for this time of year.
“We’re in that what is often the typical August slowdown heading into Labour Day weekend,” said the senior media analyst for Comscore Paul Dergarabedian. “This was to be expected given the lineup of films this weekend.”
Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick remained in fourth in its 14th weekend in theatres with an additional USD4.8 million.
It has made over USD691 million in North America to date, making it the sixth-highest grossing domestic release of all time.
Last week’s number one Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero plunged to fifth in its second weekend with USD4.6 million after bringing in USD20.1 million in its debut.
The weekend overall saw about USD52.7 million in North American ticket sales – the slowest in months.
A strong summer has meant that the year-to-date box office is still up significantly from a tepid 2021, but a long drought lies ahead until another surge of expected big earners such as Halloween Ends and Black Adam, which will both be released in October.
Amid the quiet spell at the box office, movie tickets will be just USD3 in the vast majority of American theatres as part of a newly launched National Cinema Day on Saturday.
Major chains, including AMC and Regal Cinemas, are participating, as are all major film studios.