NEW YORK – The Brad Pitt action film “Bullet Train” led all movies in ticket sales for a second straight weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday, while a quiet spell in theaters and incredible staying power allowed “Top Gun: Maverick” to rocket back into third place in its 12th week of release.
After launching the previous weekend with about $30 million at the box office, “Bullet Train” pulled in $13.4 million in its second go-around. David Leitch's assassin-crowded film, made for $90 million, has grossed $54.4 million in two weeks for Sony Pictures. Globally, “Bullet Train” has grossed $114.5 million.
Three new films went into wide release but none cracked the top five films. The slowdown — an expected but still acute late-summer downturn in big releases — gave plenty of airspace for the year's biggest movie, “Maverick,” to make another fly-by in theaters.
Nearly three months after opening in May, Paramount Pictures put the “Top Gun” sequel back on a number of large-format screens and increased its theater count from 2,760 to 3,181. It came away with $7.2 million, bringing its cumulative total to $673.8 million. Paramount's biggest smash ever, “Maverick” sits at seventh all-time in domestic box office, not accounting for inflation, right above “Titanic" and just below “Avengers: Infinity War."
The uncommonly long run for “Top Gun: Maverick” is even rarer at a time when studios have shrunk theatrical windows, typically sending movies to streaming services after about 45 days in theaters.
“Top Gun: Maverick” was very narrowly edged for second place by Warner Bros.' “DC League of Super-Pets.” Warner Bros. estimated Sunday that its animated movie took in $7.17 million in its third week of release, just a nose above the $7.15 million for “Maverick." Final figures Monday should break the near-tie.
But while “Top Gun: Maverick” has been a boon to theaters recovering from the pandemic, the thinly scheduled dog days of August — and potentially a chunk of September — will pose a test to the industry. This weekend, the biggest new film in nationwide theaters was A24's “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” a Gen Z horror comedy that expanded to 1,269 locations after last week's opening in limited release. It came in eighth with $3.3 million.
Lionsgate's “The Fall,” about two friends stranded atop a 2,000-foot radio tower, debuted with $2.5 million. Diane Keaton’s body-swap comedy “Mack & Rita" opened with just $1 million in ticket sales for Gravitas Ventures.
In overall sales it was the lowest ticket-selling weekend of the summer. With few new wide releases on tap — including two Idris Elba titles: the safari thriller “Beast” (Aug. 19) and George Miller's “Three Thousand Years of Longing” (Aug. 26) — moviegoing is likely to slow further in the coming weeks.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Bullet Train," $13.4 million.
2. “DC League of Super-Pets,” $7.2 million
3. “Top Gun: Maverick,” $7.2 million.
4. “Thor: Love and Thunder,” $5.3 million.
5. “Nope,” $5.3 million.
6. “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” $4.9 million.
7. “Where the Crawdads Sing,” $4 million.
8. “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” $3.3 million.
9. “Elvis,” $2.6 million.
10. “Fall,” $2.5 million.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP