Field Workplace: ‘Bullet Prepare’ Opening Estimated at $30M

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

The Brad Pitt vehicle”Bullet Train” should take No. 1 on domestic charts. The film earned $12.6 million from 4,357 locations on Friday and has a $30 million debut. That’s a solid achievement for an original film with no franchise ties or multiverse shenanigans, but the film will have to keep chugging through August to recoup its $90 million production budget.

The film’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 something of a check-in on the kind of film audiences will mobilize to theaters for. The R-rated action film will be aimed at adult males – the most reliable demographic for consistent theater attendance since the easing of covid-19 lockdowns. But with a marketing campaign that features a colorful cast instead of some famous intellectual property, “Bullet Train” isn’t an obvious hit.

“Bullet Train” has received a lukewarm response from critics and has received a 41% approval rating from top critics on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. Amount chief film critic Peter Debruge mixed on the film, writing that it “tries [its] the best way to channel the likes of Tarantino and Ritchie, although the dialogue and mock British accents aren’t strong enough to warrant such comparisons.”

Audiences have been more receptive to “Bullet Train.” The filmed was rated “B+” by the analysis company Cinema Score, indicating solid approval among general moviegoers. With August’s slate looking fairly 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” stars Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum while Pitt played a supporting role, also opened to $30 million earlier this spring before eventually passing $100 million domestically, showing that the public will still be rolling for a crowd pleaser without franchise ties.

Directed by Pitt’s former stunt double David Leitch, who has since helmed actioners like “Atomic Blonde” and “Deadpool 2,” the film features the star as a hitman who accepts a simple assignment aboard a high-speed train in Japan. But he soon discovers that a host of assassins on board have their own conflicting missions.

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

“Easter Sunday” stars Koy as a struggling actor and father who attends his dysfunctional Filipino American family’s Easter celebration. The comedy has a modest $17 million price tag before marketing and distribution costs, so Universal will be hoping for solid word of mouth and a month without competing releases to give the film some tough legs.

Warner Bros. release “DC League of Super-Pets” looks set to take second place. The film earned $3.35 million on Friday, down 64% from its opening day last week. The animated feature has been something of an underachiever, especially for a film with DC Comics iconography (although it does follow the furry friends of the Justice League). With the film’s current domestic gross of $38 million, “Super-Pets” still has a ways to go to recoup its $90 million production budget.

It doesn’t help matters that “Super-Pets” is the continuation of the success of Universal’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” which has remained a big crowd hit since its Fourth of July weekend debut. The “Despicable Me” spinoff looks set to take fifth on the domestic charts this weekend, dropping 38% in its sixth weekend. The film’s domestic haul currently stands at an impressive $330 million.

Universal’s “Nope” looks to take the bronze, projecting an $8 million haul for its third weekend. Jordan Peele’s sci-fi thriller should surpass a $100 million domestic gross sometime within the next week — a remarkable feat for an original film sold primarily on its director’s name.

Disney’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” aims for fourth place, adding $2.2 million to its Friday offering. The Marvel Cinematic Universe entry currently sits 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 leave the domestic box office top five for the first time this weekend, although it’s in a tight race for fifth place with “The Rise of Gru.” Paramount’s runaway success projects another slim decline – down only 21% – in its eleventh weekend at the box office. With $657 million in the bank from North America, the Tom Cruise sequel is likely to surpass the $659 million gross of “Titanic” today to become the seventh-biggest film ever in domestic box office history.

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