The Expend4bles are indeed that, It (just about) Lives Inside, and Other Box Office News.
The doldrums of September continue unabated as, incredibly, The Nun II has become only the fourth film this year to top the charts for three weeks on the trot, following in the illustrious steps of Avatar: The Way of Water, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and Barbie. All equally dominating cultural phenoms not in the least suffering from imposter syndrome due to an absence of legit contenders to the throne, I’m sure you’ll agree.
In fact, not only is The Nun II the only movie in the Conjuring Extended Universe to achieve the three-peat, it’s the only entry in the franchise to spend longer than a week atop the chart. See, it’s a totemic landmark in horror cinema which shall be remembered and referenced for decades to come! It’s earning these franchise firsts entirely on merit and not at all because its sole competition has been the third entry in a cursed Poirot series, and a decade-late four-quel to an action franchise which has never been particularly good and (this time) wasn’t advertised! You go, Glen Nun–co!
READ MORE: The Psycho Collection – Blu-ray Review
Speaking of the geriatric brigade, did you know they finally got around to making another Expendables movie? Yeah, that cross-generational R-rated action star team-up series which was never as fun and goofy, intentional or otherwise, as its logline suggested. Last time out, in 2014, the series suffered two fatal blows of having leaked in full online well in advance of actual release and cutting the bollocks off to chase a PG-13 rating, posting a severely underwhelming worldwide total as a result.
But, as one of its many stars may have said in a significantly more entertaining movie than any Expendables has been, death cannot stop this series and so it has at last returned for Expend4bles… only to be pancaked by an errant truck on the way back to the battlefield, Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow style. The $8.3 million opening bow, a franchise-worst by some margin, is already insulting enough but the real kicker is, as mentioned, losing to the third weekend of The Nun II by $100,000. If you’re sporting a nine-figure budget yet unable to take down a fast-falling horror movie in its third weekend, then it’s time to hang up your boots, is all I’m saying.
READ MORE: She Shoots Straight (1990) – Blu-ray Review
Elsewhere: give it up for perpetual second banana in the American Indie Cinema Studio sweepstakes, Neon, everybody! They’ve just had their best opening weekend ever thanks to supernatural horror flick – genuine question: is there any other kind being made at the moment, aside from Saw X? – It Lives Inside which rode the one gap in the release schedule not already filled by a horror movie to $2.63 million and seventh place. As Bruce Nash at The Numbers points out, that’s a statistic which doesn’t take into account Parasite and I, Tonya posting better weekends outside of their openings and, as Callie Petch at Set The Tape points out, it’s also a number which A24 is able to make in its sleep by now.
But, still, well done, team! Bronze stars for all involved! Dumb Money officially goes nationwide next weekend but, following on from last week’s Limited opening and my snark, may have the potential to be a genuine hit since its middle-ground expansion this week to 616 screens saw it crack the Top 10 and boast the best PTA of any film playing on more than 1 screen ($4,058). Lastly, the second-greatest concert film of all-time do not @ me, Stop Making Sense, has received a lush 40th anniversary restoration and accompanying premium format re-release to the tune of a very solid $800,637 from 264 screens (a PTA of $3,032).
Welcome to the Full List, pal! Hasta la Full List-a, baby! You’re the disease, I’m the Full List! Have a good Full List… what’s left of it! If he Full Lists, he Full Lists! No, Wendy, don’t shut me off! I’ve got a dozen more of these and one of them’s gotta be good, I swe-
US Box Office Results: Friday 22nd September 2023 – Sunday 24th September 2023
1] The Nun II
$8,400,000 / $69,222,000
Thank fuck a couple of actual interesting-sounding films are out next week. I’m stuck here actively praying for Taylor Swift to get here and wreck shit already just so that I have something to talk about.
$8,300,000 / NEW
Dog sitting until the weekend, hence why I haven’t given this a shot yet. Kelechi Ehenulo thought it was absolute shite, and not in a good way! This is not how I wanted the Jason Statham renaissance to go down.
$6,300,000 / $25,352,729
A 55% drop domestically, and the International numbers aren’t doing enough to drag this thing far enough into profitability to justify making more. Have y’all watched Poker Face yet? You should watch Poker Face if you haven’t, it’s got 100% less Kenneth Branagh.
$4,725,000 / $81,261,243
If you’d prefer to watch an action movie which remembers to occasionally provide you with some pulse-pounding and technically-sound action, instead of boring the tits off you and furnishing the CG department with a budget that can only buy one explosion JPEG, then Eureka Entertainment’s ongoing efforts to restore every single release from the 80s/90s Hong Kong action boom has reached She Shoots Straight. Dave Bond checked out the “relatively slight actioner that will appeal chiefly to fans of Far East actioners”.
$3,200,000 / $630,450,087
On the topic of art which validates the kind of existential despair experienced by women and teenage girls, Lorde’s magnificent, Nevermind-level nuke on all of pop music Pure Heroine turns 10 this week! As Set The Tape’s resident teenage girl – stuck unwillingly in the body of a 28-year-old man (and I’m non-binary so I can make this joke) – I went way too long and way too comprehensive on a foundational text for modern pop music and people my age.
6] My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3
$3,000,000 / $23,803,230
I did not end up going to see this last week, like I had originally written. Very shortly after filing, I made the “fuck it” decision to dump £600 down a hole (to start with!) and commit to doing London Film Festival after all, which meant I had to go into emergency money-saving mode and no planned cinema trip for this or Blue Beetle. Maybe it’ll stick around by the time I get back from London! Likely not!
7] It Lives Inside
$2,630,000 / NEW
No, but for real about my earlier query regarding the glut of supernatural horrors nowadays. I’m being kinda facetious with it, but it really does feel like ghost/demon/adjacent spook’ems are the only kind which get a major release right now. Evil Dead Rise, Insidious 5, The Nun II, The Boogeyman, The Pope’s Exorcist, Haunted Mansion, this, Five Nights at Freddy’s (which is going to make bank btw)… Smarter folk with stronger constitutions than I could probably figure out an editorial pitch about why this has come to be.
8] Dumb Money
$2,500,000 / $2,809,875
Everybody please spare a thought for Chris Haigh, who is currently stuck in a hell partly of their own creation by having to crank out near-daily book reviews cos the press copies all turned up at once. Mind, if they’re all as excellent as YA heist thriller Thieves’ Gambit, maybe they don’t care so much about their predicament? You know what people say about doing something you love and working…
9] Blue Beetle
$1,810,000 / $69,823,000
Instead of this and Greek Wedding, I did manage to squeeze in a viewing of Celine Song’s rapturously received romance drama Past Lives, which our own Rob Jones utterly adored. I thought it was… alright. It’s fine. My thing about vibes cinema is that it helps when you have some demonstrated depth and character to go along with the vibes; I can’t cry at a mere concept! Well, not anymore, thankfully, otherwise I’d be having a full Stereotypical Barbie breakdown every time the thoughts of death intrude with clockwork regularity.
$1,630,000 / $321,212,945
Every chance this could prove brutally out of date between filing and press time, since the vote to ratify is on Tuesday and the rank-and-file members could choose to reject, but massive congratulations to the Writers Guild of America for successfully negotiating a (direct quote by their heads) “exceptional” deal from the studios! We’ll get to parse the exact details of concessions gained against the studios in the coming days and weeks, but for now it’s evidence that pressurised strikes work and that’s a good thing for all unions and the average Joes/Janes which make up their numbers! Now for the Screen Actors Guild to get what they’re owed.
Dropped out: Gran Turismo, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem