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‘Bullet Train’ overcomes mixed reviews to top U.S. box office

Aug. 7, 2022 Updated Sun., Aug. 7, 2022 at 8:22 p.m.

Bad Bunny, left, and Brad Pitt star in "Bullet Train."  (TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE)
Bad Bunny, left, and Brad Pitt star in "Bullet Train." (TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE)
By Amina Niasse Washington Post

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

The movie made $30.1 million across more than 4,300 domestic locations, according to an estimate from Comscore Inc. released Sunday. That’s in line with the $27 million to $36 million forecast from Box Office Pro and the $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 $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 $5.25 million in domestic tickets, Comscore estimated. Box Office Pro forecast it would make $4 million to $8 million.

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