Brad Pitt’s ‘Bullet Train’ hits the rails with a projected $30 million opening

“I think I can, I think I can… be the best movie at the box office,” says Sony’s original action movie that could.

the Brad Pitt vehicle “Bullet train” should take No. 1 on the national charts. The film earned $12.6 million from 4,357 locations on Friday and projects a $30 million debut. It’s a solid performance for an original movie with no franchise tie-ins or multiversal shenanigans, but the movie will have to keep going until August to make back its $90 million production budget.

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The movie’s all-star cast should help with that. Along with Pitt, the ensemble also includes names like Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Joey King, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, and Benito A. Martínez Ocasio, aka Latin music superstar Bad Bunny.

“Bullet Train” is seen as a kind of record of the kind of movie that audiences will flock to theaters for. The R-rated action flick will skew toward adult men, the most reliable demographic in terms of consistent movie attendance since COVID-19 lockdowns eased. However, with a marketing campaign touting a colorful cast of characters rather than any known intellectual property, “Bullet Train” isn’t a surefire hit.

“Bullet Train” garnered a lukewarm response from critics, earning a 41% approval rating from top critics on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge blended into the film, writing that he is “trying [its] All the better to channel the likes of Tarantino and Ritchie, even if the dialogue and fake British accents aren’t strong enough to earn such comparisons.”

The public has been more receptive to “Bullet Train”. The filming earned a “B+” grade through research firm Cinema Score, indicating strong approval among moviegoers in general. With the August slate looking pretty light on high-profile releases, “Bullet Train” should be able to take advantage of a quiet theatrical landscape in the coming weeks. Paramount’s “The Lost City,” which starred “Bullet Train” supporting cast Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum while featuring Pitt in a supporting role, also opened at $30 million earlier this spring before eventually crossing the $100 million mark. nationally, proving that audiences will continue to roll out for a crowd pleaser without franchise ties.

Directed by Pitt’s former stunt double David Leitch, who has since helmed action films like “Atomic Blonde” and “Deadpool 2,” the film casts the star as a hit man who accepts a simple mission on board. of a high-speed train in Japan. However, he soon discovers that a crop of assassins on board have their own conflicting tasks.

Meanwhile, Universal’s “Easter Sunday,” the weekend’s other big release, isn’t making much of an impression on its debut, grossing $2 million on Friday. The studio is projecting a $5 million silent debut at 3,175 locations for the comedy from comedian Jo Koy, which would put the film in eighth place on the national charts.

“Easter Sunday” stars Koy as a struggling actor and father who attends his dysfunctional Filipino-American family’s Easter Sunday celebration. The comedy is priced modestly at $17 million before marketing and distribution costs, so Universal will be crossing its fingers for solid word of mouth and a month without competitive releases to give the film some decent legs.

Warner Bros. release “DC League of Super-Pets” appears to take second place. The film earned $3.35 million on Friday, a 64% drop from its opening last week. The animated feature has underperformed somewhat, especially for a film that features DC Comics iconography (even if it follows the Justice League’s furry friends). With the film’s current domestic gross of $38 million, “Super-Pets” still has some way to go to recoup a $90 million production budget.

The continued success of Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” which has remained a huge hit with audiences since its debut over the July 4 weekend, doesn’t help matters for “Super-Pets.” . The “Despicable Me” spinoff appears to be sitting in fifth place on the national charts this weekend, dropping a slim 38% in its sixth weekend. The film’s domestic box office currently stands at an impressive $330 million.

Universal’s “Nope” is looking to take the bronze, projecting to gross $8 million for its third weekend. Jordan Peele’s sci-fi thriller should break the $100 million domestic gross sometime next week, a remarkable achievement for an original film that sold primarily under its director’s name.

Disney’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” is aiming for fourth place, adding $2.2 million to its haul on Friday. The Marvel Cinematic Universe entry currently stands as the sixth-biggest domestic release of the year, pushing its domestic gross past $315 million this weekend.

Finally, it looks like “Top Gun: Maverick” may finally break out of the top five at the domestic box office for the first time this weekend, though it’s in a tight race for fifth place with “The Rise of Gru.” Paramount’s runaway hit is projecting another small drop, down just 21%, in its 11th weekend at the box office. With $657 million in the North American bank, the Tom Cruise sequel is likely to top “Titanic’s” $659 million gross today to become the seventh-biggest movie in domestic box office history.

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