‘Nope’ Opens to #1 But Falls Short of Opening Box-Office Expectations

San Diego Comic-Con this weekend reminded exhibitors of good times ahead with “Black Adam” (Warner Bros.) in October and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Disney) in November.

It’s an apt moment for the distraction. With “Nope” opening to $44 million, this weekend’s  box office total of $124 million might be the best we see until “Black Adam.”

“Nope” is found money for theaters. As a non-franchise film (though Peele, like Quentin Tarantino, qualifies as an auteur franchise), it is among six original entries in this week’s top 10. That’s a rarity any time of the year, much less normally sequel-heavy July.

Its initial take is a bit lower than the projected $50 million. We’ll need to see the final weekend total, but as of now it is $10,000 behind “Uncharted” as the best non-franchise debut take for any film since Peele’s own “Us” in early 2019.

Comparison with the $71 million opening gross  for “Us” is one of three figures that mutes the celebration of a strong result. Another is the film’s reported $68 million budget before marketing, which means this won’t be the huge moneymaker for Universal as “Us” and “Get Out” (each grossed $255 million worldwide). The third is that the film’s initial trajectory isn’t positive. Saturday was down 29 percent from the Thursday/Friday opening. That compares to “Us,” down a normal 12 percent for a horror release. “Get Out” actually improved 17 percent its second day.

A sub-$50 million opening makes “Nope”eligible under Universal’s agreement with theaters to go PVOD after its third weekend. That early date will likely reap significant additional earnings.

At $124 million, this is the lowest total weekend gross in seven weeks. The same weekend of 2019 was the best of that year, with “The Lion King” opening to $191 million for a total of $261 million.

That puts this year’s result at 45 percent, the lowest since April. Still, the four-week rolling comparison, coming off three terrific weeks, remains at 100 percent. With a week left in the month, July has amassed $960 million. That guarantees this will become the first $1 billion+ month in three years and July will be about 90 percent of the corresponding 2019.

Elevating the weekend were several films with continued strong appeal. At the low end of holds, “Thor: Love and Thunder” (Disney) took second place with $22 million. Its $276 million is about $70 million less than “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” was at after its third weekend, with its 53 percent drop continuing to lag behind many Marvel hits.

Once again, “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount) held best. In its ninth weekend, still at #5 with another $10 million, it fell only 19 percent. Another $60 million will get it to $700 million domestic, far more than double the most optimistic pre-release predictions.

“Where the Crawdads Sing”

Michele K. Short

The second weekend of “Where the Crawdads Sing” (Sony) was off 40 percent, a decent-enough result for the best-seller adaptation. Its modest budget of $24 million means it likely will make money and as another non-franchise entry, that’s good news.

“Paws of Fury: The Legend of Frank” (Paramount) had a similar second-stanza hold (-39 percent), but its weak start means it will not see much beyond $20 million. Not helping its cause is the continued strength of “Minions: The Rise of Gru” (Universal), at #3 in its fourth weekend and nearing $300 million.

“Elvis” (Warner Bros.) also had a great hold, down only 21 percent. In one of this summer’s surprises, its $118 million places it just ahead of the withering “Lightyear” (Pixar).

The second weekend of the limited “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris,” with a slight rise in theaters, dropped 31 percent in 10th place. Two other specialized titles expanded, both with sub-$500 per theater averages. “Marcel the Shell with His Shoes On” (A24) took in $257,000 in 590 theaters, $2.8 million so far. “Fire of Love” (Neon) did under $37,000 in 90 locations.


The Top 10

1. Nope (Universal) – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 76; Est. budget: $68 million

$44,000,000 in 3,785 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $11,625; Cumulative: $44,000,000

2. Thor: Love and Thunder (Disney) Week 3; Last weekend #1

$22,100,000 (-53%) in 4,370 (-5) theaters; PTA: $5,057; Cumulative: $276,221,000

3. Minions: The Rise of Gru (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend #2

$17,710,000 (-34%) in 3,816 (-298) in 4,111 (-316) theaters; PTA: $4,641; Cumulative: $297,857,000

4. Where the Crawdads Sing (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #3

$10,330,000 (-40%) in 3,650 (no change) theaters; PTA: $2,830; Cumulative: $38,330,000

5. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount) Week 9; Last weekend #4

$10,000,000 (-19%) in 3,160 (-132) theaters; PTA: $3,165; Cumulative: $635,566,000

6. Elvis (Warner Bros.) Week 5; Last weekend #5

$6,300,000 (-21%) in 3,105 (-200) theaters; PTA: $2,029; Cumulative: $118,376,000

7. Paws of Fury: The Legend of Frank (Paramount) Week 2; Last weekend #6

$3,875,000 (-39%) in 3,481 (+6) theaters; PTA: $1,113; Cumulative: $13,758,000

8. The Black Phone (Universal) Week 5; Last weekend #7; also on PVOD

$3,450,000 (-36%) in 2,005 (-222) theaters; PTA: $1,679; Cumulative: $78,555,000

9. Jurassic World: Dominion (Universal) Week 7; Last weekend #8; also on PVOD

$2,960,000 (-43%) in 2,165 (-482) theaters; PTA: $1,367; Cumulative: $366,512,000

10. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (Focus) Week 2; Last weekend #9

$1,350,000 (-31%) in 1,001 (+21) theaters; PTA: $1,349; Cumulative: $4,650,000


“Fire of Love”


Additional specialized/limited/independent releases

My Donkey, My Lover & I (Music Box) NEW – Metacritic: 72; Festivals include: Rendezvous with French Cinema 2021

$30,000 in 51 theaters; PTA: $588

The Killer (Wide Lens) Week 2   56

$4,270 in 24 (34) theaters; PTA: $178; Cumulative: $123,137

Fire of Love (Neon) Week 3

$131,174 in 97 (+83) theaters; Cumulative: $281,198

Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4

$64,101 in 64 (+39) theaters; Cumulative: $226,268

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (A24) Week 5

$257,200 in 590 theaters (+437); Cumulative: $2,874,000

Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) Week 18; also on PVOD

$92,940 in 121 (-49) theaters; Cumulative: $68,118,000

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