Barbarian, Of All Movies, Brings Disney Back Atop The Box Office With $10 Million

It was another downright dreary weekend at the box office as the top 10 films on the domestic charts made just over $33 million combined. But there is a light in the darkness as "Barbarian," which hails from Disney's 20th Century Studios, managed to overperform and win the day, majorly topping (admittedly modest) expectations. To add some intrigue to the whole thing, "Brahmastra Part One: Shiva," an Indian import distributed by Disney domestically, managed to take the number two spot for the weekend.

So, Disney is back on the charts, while Sony's "Bullet Train" crossed a major milestone. Not all bad, even if it's still mostly bad. Let's dig into the numbers, shall we?

Barbarian and Brahmastra Part One: Shiva get Disney on the board

"Barbarian," which entered the weekend riding a wave of critical praise, took the top spot with $10 million, according to Box Office Mojo. Heading into the weekend, despite the praise, it was charting for a debut between $5 and $6 million. That means the intrigue crafted by Disney's marketing campaign, which kept the movie's many secrets intact, as well as buzz from critics helped to push this one far higher than expected. Beyond that, we are still left with little by way of big movies or major competition, so this became a win by default in some ways. It's also, oddly enough, Disney's first number one on the charts since "Thor: Love and Thunder" hit theaters in July. That is kind of remarkable given Disney's sheer dominance in the pre-pandemic era.

Meanwhile, "Brahmastra Part One: Shiva" also arrived in North America through Disney and earned $4.4 million, good enough for the number two spot. That's certainly not enough to save the box office from being a wasteland of small potatoes that can't put enough meat in seats, but it is encouraging in its own way. Much like we saw with "RRR" earlier this year, American audiences will turn up for these Indian imports. Giving theaters more types of movies that can bring in crowds is always a good thing. And it's encouraging in its own way that Disney is the one bringing this one to the U.S.

The big question will be what kind of holdover potential "Barbarian" has. With the likes of "The Woman King" and "Pearl" opening wide this weekend, it's tough to say. Will this get word-of-mouth buzz, propelling it to a good hold? Or is it doomed to fall off a cliff in week two? Time will tell but, for the moment, it's a nice win for original horror.

Bullet Train crosses $200 million worldwide

Rounding out the top three this weekend was Sony's ensemble action flick "Bullet Train." In its sixth weekend, the film earned $3.2 million, putting its domestic haul at $92.5 million. Coupled with the $119.3 million it has earned internationally, director David Leitch's latest has brought in a total of $211.8 million worldwide. That is a very good sign for original films not connected to franchises. Coupled with "Barbarian" taking the crown, one could look at this as an encouraging weekend, with a few caveats.

For one, this is the second-smallest weekend overall at the box office in 2022. Labor Day weekend was terrible and the preceding week was also awful. No big releases are coming until "Halloween Ends" and "Black Adam" in October, meaning small wins like this for the time being. But that isn't really enough for movie theaters to sustain themselves on. Case in point, Regal's owner Cineworld is in the middle of a bankruptcy case. It's not a great situation, to say the least of it. Especially because "Halloween Ends" is going to Peacock the same day it hits theaters, which may end up taking some ticket sales off the table.

More specifically, as it relates to "Bullet Train," the movie carries a huge $90 million budget. That is absolutely going to prevent it from being profitable during its theatrical run. Over time, between VOD and other revenue streams, it might get into the green. But one can hope that Sony sees the market for originals and doesn't abandon them, but looks to make them with slightly smaller budgets in the future as to not wind up in a situation like this again.

And the rest...

Fathom Events released "Lifemark" on more than 1,500 screens over the weekend, landing at number seven on the charts with $2.2 million. Expect that to all but disappear from the charts entirely in a matter of days. A drop in the bucket. The only other new, wide release was "Medieval" from Avenue Pictures. With Ben Foster and Michael Caine leading the way, the film made an abysmal $810,000 on just over 1,300 screens. So yeah, not a great weekend for other new releases, to say the very least of it.

"Top Gun: Maverick" finally slowed down a bit, taking in $3.1 million in its 16th weekend, with "DC League of Super-Pets" coming in just behind it at $2.83 million to round out the top five. "Maverick" now has $1.453 million to its name, meaning it passed "Frozen II" ($1.45 million) to become the 11th highest-grossing movie in history. Truly incredible stuff.

"The Invitation," which topped the charts two weeks ago, landed at number six with $2.6 million and is fading fast. But it has quietly made $25 million worldwide against a $10 million budget. Perhaps a modest hit for Sony, in the end. Meanwhile, Universal's "Beast" fell more than 55% as it was made available on VOD this weekend, earning $1.8 million at number eight. At $52 million worldwide against a $36 million budget, this one is firmly (and tragically) a commercial disappointment.

Rounding out the top ten were "Minions: The Rise of Gru" with $1.65 million ($904 million global total) and the re-release of "Spider-Man: No Way Home" $1.3 million. Meanwhile, "Jurassic World Dominion" sits at $997.4 million, looking for just $2.6 million more to join the $1 billion club. We'll see if it can get there with the last gasps of breath it has.