‘Bullet Train’ overcomes mixed reviews to top US box office

“BULLET TRAIN,” a Sony Corp thriller starring Brad Pitt, overcame little competition to top the North American box office this weekend.

The movie made US$30.1 million across more than 4,300 domestic locations, according to an estimate from Comscore Inc released on Sunday. That’s in line with the US$27 million to US$36 million forecast from Box Office Pro and the US$30 million estimate from Sony.

Combined ticket sales from the top 10 movies, which make up the bulk of the weekend market, continued to slide, declining about 6.4% to $87.9 million from a week earlier. Adam Aron, chief executive officer of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc, said in an earnings call Thursday that business will be slow until October due to a “dearth of big new movie titles” in August and September.

“Bullet Train” follows Ladybug, an assassin played by Pitt, as he carries out a mission on a high-speed train. The movie has received mixed reviews, with a 53% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie cost US$90 million to make, according to Sony.

Men ages 18 to 45 likely gave ticket sales a boost, according to Box Office Pro’s chief analyst Shawn Robbins. Studios have had a relatively easy time luring male audiences back to theaters after pandemic-related closures with films including “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Top Gun: Maverick.” Movies aimed at kids have had a more mixed sales record during the past two years, while older women have mostly skipped releases marketed toward them.

“Easter Sunday,” a Universal Pictures comedy that was the only other new movie to open in wide release this weekend, sold US$5.25 million in domestic tickets, Comscore estimated. Box Office Pro forecast it would make US$4 million to US$8 million.  – Bloomberg