Kenneth Branaghs Death on the Nile led Super Bowl weekend at the domestic box office with a muted $12.8 million, while older moviegoers, particularly older women, continued to be hesitant to enter theaters.
Super Bowl weekend is always a challenge for Hollywood studios. This year, the ongoing pandemic exacerbated the situation.
Universal opted to forego a theatrical release exclusive and launch its Valentine’s Day offering Marry mestarring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson, in theaters and on sister streaming service Peacock simultaneously.
Marry mewhich opened with an estimated $8 million at the box office, came in at No. 1. 3 after being ousted by holdover donkey forever ($8.1 million).
Both films started on the low end of already dampened expectations, just as each was growing significantly older.
By those who watch 20th Century / Disney’s Death on the Nile77 percent of ticket buyers were over 25, with 47 percent over 35 and 28 percent over 45.
Branagh both directed and starred in the Agatha Christie adaptation, which continues his success Murder on the Orient Express.
The film’s cast includes embattled actor Armie Hammer Branagh, Gal Gadot, Tom Bateman and Letitia Wright. (Branagh is also in the news this week for his film, Belfastwho is up for a string of top Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.)
Overseas, Death on the Nile debuted at $20.7 million for a $34 million worldwide launch.
Marry me – featuring original songs by Lopez and global Latin music sensation Maluma – stars Lopez as musical superstar Kat Valdez and Wilson as Charlie Gilbert, a nerdy math teacher. The two are total strangers who agree to wed in a story of modern romance set in the age of social media.
Older women have been fueling the film, which is hoping for a nice boost on Valentine’s Day, which falls on Monday this year. Overall, 70 percent of ticket buyers were female, while 48 percent of the audience were over 25 and 27 percent over 45. During the pandemic, older women have been the most reluctant to resume their cinema habits.
Marry me Opened internationally for a worldwide launch from $16.5 million to $8.5 million.
Spider-Man: No Way Home stayed up the chart at No. 4 with $7.2 million for domestic sales of $759 million and worldwide profits of $1.8 billion (the superhero image from Sony and Marvel is now the No. 6 film of all time on the global charts, not adjusted for inflation).
Liam Neeson’s new action photo black light opened in fifth place with just $3.6 million.
Overseas, Sony opened up video game adaptation Unexplored in the first 15 markets. The film, which opens domestically next week, grossed a promising $21.5 million. Unexplored Directed by Ruben Fleischer with Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg. Hopes are high for the film as its target audience – younger males – has returned to the multiplex in full force.
At the specialty checkout, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Liquorice Pizza expanded nationally for top Oscar nominations, including best picture. The film grossed $923,000 for a domestic gross of $13.4 million.