AP Film Writer
M. Night Shyamalan’s “Old” easily won a slower weekend at the North American box office, while the G.I. Joe pic “Snake Eyes” lived up to its name.
Although both fresh offerings from major studios, moviegoers turned out in modest numbers on a weekend where there was the notable distraction of the Olympics as well as rising concerns about the delta variant.
Universal on Sunday said that “Old” grossed an estimated $16.5 million. Paramount’s “Snake Eyes” origin story brought in an estimated $13.4 million in ticket sales.
While not wildly far apart in grosses, “Snake Eyes,” starring Henry Golding as the warrior- in-training, cost significantly more with a reported $88 mil- lion price tag, excluding advertising.
Meanwhile “Old,” starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Vicky Krieps as the heads of a family whose tropical vacation turns into a horror when they begin to rapidly age, was independently financed for around $18 million. Including international grosses, “Old,” which is based on the graphic novel “Sandcastle,” grossed $23 million worldwide in its first weekend.
“It’s an extraordinary debut,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s head of distribution. “M. Night Shyamalan is an amazing film- maker and one of the best in the industry.”
Orr said he also expects “Old” will continue to play well in the coming weeks.
Neither audiences nor critics reviewed the two new films especially well. “Old” has a 52% on Rotten Tomatoes and got a C+ CinemaScore, while “Snake Eyes” is currently at 42% on Rotten Tomatoes with a B- CinemaScore, which his- torically does not bode well for long-term potential.
Disney and Marvel’s “Black Widow” crept ahead to third place with $11.6 million, bringing its global total to $314.9 million, while last week’s No. 1 film “Space Jam: A New Legacy” grossed $9.6 million, down 69% from last weekend. Both are available to watch at home too: “Space Jam” is streaming on HBO Max, while Disney+ sub- scribers can rent “Black Widow” for $30.
“This is part of the natural ebb and flow of the box office as we are still on the road to recovery. “ said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. ”You’re going to have bigger weekends, and you’re going to have smaller weekends. It’s still an unusual marketplace.“
The entire North American box office weekend generated around $68 million in revenue, according to Comscore. It’s a far cry from just three weeks ago when “Black Widow” alone made $80 million.
But, Dergarabedian said, it’s also worth noting where the box office was a year ago when drive-ins were the only option and the weekend grosses totaled just $746,000.
“How much the industry has recovered over the course of one year is nothing short of astounding,” Dergarabedian said. “We’re in a really good spot and next weekend, when ‘Jungle Cruise’ opens, should be a solid weekend as well.”
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.