"Death on The Nile" tops quiet weekend box office

Hollywood's Super Bowl weekend was largely a failure. Kenneth Branagh's delayed Agatha Christie Whodunit, "Death on the Nile," received a muted debut. Jennifer Lopez's romantic comedy "Marry Me" got a modest reception. Oscar nominees saw modest box-office gains.

"Death on The Nile" tops quiet weekend box office

According to studio estimates, Sunday's movie "Death on the Nile," Branagh’s sequel to 2017 hit "Murder on the Orient Express", topped all films with $12.8million in ticket sales. Before it was acquired by the Walt Disney Co. by 20th Century Fox, "Death on the Nile," which was produced under 20th Century Fox, had been delayed due to the pandemic that decimated one of its stars, Armie Hamer.

Hammer was placed under investigation by Los Angeles police for a sexual assault last March. Hammer denied the allegation.

Disney decided to release "Death on the Nile" without Hammer after considering several options, including reshooting portions of the film without Hammer. However, it did so with less fanfare on a weekend when the film industry is more inclined to give way to football. The film is $90 million and stars Gal Gadot, Emma McKay, Branagh and Branagh. Branagh plays the role of detective Hercule Poirot. "Murder on the Orient Express" was launched in 2017 with $28.7million and grossed $352.8 million worldwide, despite a budget of $55 million. International receipts from "Death On the Nile" topped $20.7 million.

 

The biggest appeal Hollywood made to moviegoers this weekend was not in the theaters, but in TV ads. Two years after the pandemic, a strong-hitting line-up of blockbusters was set to release trailers during the Super Bowl broadcast to try and entice moviegoers to return to the theaters. Hollywood was mostly silent last year as many theaters were closed and very few movies were being released. The day began with the first trailer for Jordan Peele's "Nope". It was released on Sunday.

"Marry Me", which opened to $8 million, was simultaneously streamed on Peacock. Universal Pictures' release of "Marry Me" was released on Monday. It stars Lopez as a pop singer who discovers her fiance is cheating and marries an outsider (Owen Wilson) at one her concerts. The streaming platform has become the primary home of rom-coms in recent years. Netflix has been a major player in this genre, with a steady stream of new content. Amazon Prime Video launched its own "I Want You back" on Friday with Charlie Day, Jenny Slate and Jenny Slate.

Last week's top film "Jackass Forever" was able to edge it out for second place due to its mediocre performance. Paramount Pictures' estimated $8.1 million profit for Johnny Knoxville's sequel to "Marry Me" dropped by 65% over last weekend. It has grossed $37.4million in total.

A Liam Neeson thriller, which was once a reliable ticket-seller at box office, also failed to perform. Briarcliff Entertainment's Blacklight, a film that stars the 69-year old Neeson as a shadowy agent for the government, was poorly received and opened with $3.6million.

On Tuesday's Academy Awards nominations, few films were expected to be successful in theaters. Most Oscar nominees, including the field led by Netflix with 24 nominations, were available in the home for weeks, if perhaps months. However, a few films were able to get a boost at the box office after receiving nominations, even though the "Oscar bump", as it was once known, is almost dead.

Paul Thomas Anderson's "Licorice Pizza" won three awards, including best picture. It was released in 1,977 theaters, and had its largest week of release. It sold $922,500 worth of tickets, making it a total of $14 million.

Branagh's second film, "Belfast", was released in September. It played in 928 theaters and added $285,000 to the $7.9 million in gross. Other contenders for best picture -- "Nightmare Alley," $85,000, and "West Side Story," $235,000 -- had minor blips.

Some international candidates may have seen the biggest gains. Ryusuke Hamaguchi's "Drive My Car," nominated for four Oscars, including best picture, saw an 92% increase in its $192,000 gross from 127 theaters. Joachim Trier's "The Worst Person in the World," which was nominated to win best original screenplay and best foreign film, grossed $255,395 from 49 screens in its second week.

The film, "Uncharted", starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, is expected to be the next big box-office hit. Its release overseas saw $21.5 million in 15 countries.

According to Comscore, Friday through Sunday ticket sales were estimated at U.S. theaters and Canadian theatres. Monday will see the release of final domestic figures.

1. "Death on The Nile," $12.8 Million

2. "Jackass Forever," $8.1 million.

3. "Marry Me," $8 million.

4. "Spider-Man: There's No Way Home," $7.2 Million

5. "Blacklight," $3.6 million.

6. "Sing 2," $3 million.

7. "Moonfall," $2.9 million.

8. "Scream," $2.8 million.

9. "Licorice Pizza," $922,500.

10. "The King's Man," $433,000.


 

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