Death On The Nile's Box Office Debut Won't Pay For Enough Champagne To Fill The Nile

In unsurprising news, Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel "Death on the Nile" isn't doing so hot at the box office. The film seemed cursed to fail — complicated by sexual abuse allegations against star Armie Hammer, that cringe-worthy "Imagine" viral video by star Gal Gadot, reports of anti-vaccination misinformation from star Letitia Wright, and a two-year delay in release due to the pandemic. Fans who might have been interested in a sequel to Branagh's "Murder on the Orient Express" have mostly appeared to lose interest due to the sheer amount of time that's passed between the films, along with all of the aforementioned bad press. 

Sure, it's Super Bowl weekend and people aren't clamoring to head to the cineplex, but the opening weekend box office for "Death of the Nile" isn't going so great. Attempts to lure older audiences back into theaters don't seem to be working, although dangling the mediocre "Murder" and the middling rom-com "Marry Me" in front of folks facing potential illness just to see them isn't going to be all that enticing. Neither film seems like it requires the cinematic experience to really appreciate it, and folks will most likely check them out in much higher numbers from the safety and comfort of their couches once they hit rental or streaming.

According to Variety, "Death on the Nile" took in $5.1 million domestically on Friday, only about half as much as "Murder on the Orient Express" did on its opening day back in 2017. It's on track to finish the weekend at $12.8 million, with "Marry Me" trailing it with an estimated $8 million debut. "Death on the Nile" may eventually make back its reported $90 million production budget (bear in mind that this doesn't include marketing or distribution costs), but the global box office is going to have to seriously make up for the lack of interest in the U.S.

A Ship That's Been Sinking For Awhile

Even if "Death on the Nile" were some kind of masterpiece (and it isn't), people just aren't going to throw themselves at the mercy of fellow movie-goers to watch a bunch of problematic performers re-enact a story that's more than 80 years old. Hammer stars as the romantic lead, and any moments where he's trying to be sexy or charming are just going to feel gross in the wake of his sexual assault allegations. Wright's anti-vaccine and anti-transgender rhetoric is also deeply frustrating, alienating many of her fans who had originally found her through "Black Panther." 

Disney and 20th Century Studios released "Death on the Nile" with what felt like almost no promotional roll-out, so maybe some people who might otherwise have gone to see it just don't know it's even in theaters. Whatever a person's individual reasoning for avoiding this film might be, the reasons behind "Death on the Nile" totally tanking are no real mystery.