‘Barbie’ Rules Box Office Again With $53 Million, Taking Down ‘Meg 2’ and ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’

 Barbie” towered over the box office for the third consecutive weekend, taking down newcomers “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” and “Meg 2: The Trench.”

Greta Gerwig’s fantasy comedy added a remarkable $53 million in its third weekend of release, a decline of just 43% from its prior frame. “Barbie” has generated $459 million in North America and surpassed the $1 billion mark globally after just 17 days in theaters. It’s the first film directed solely by a woman to cross the coveted milestone.

Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” too, stayed strong in its third outing with $28.7 million, dropping only 39% from last weekend and bringing domestic ticket sales to $228 million. The R-rated historical drama has grossed $552 million at the worldwide box office, becoming the director’s sixth film to cross the $500 million mark. “Oppenheimer,” which has remained a force in Imax, landed in third place on domestic box office charts behind the sequel to “The Meg” and ahead of “Mutant Mayhem.”

Overall, it’s a rare weekend in which four movies earned at least $28 million between Friday and Sunday. As a result, the box office is 98% ahead of the same weekend in 2022 and 19% above the same weekend in 2019.

“A rare quadruple threat of $25 million-plus performers is driving another terrific weekend for theaters,” says Paul Dergarabedian, a senior Comscore analyst.

“Meg 2: The Trench” opened in second place with $30 million from 3,503 North American theaters. It’s a decent start, albeit a significant drop from the original 2018 film, which opened at $45 million and became a surprise smash with $530.5 million globally.

The follow-up film about scientists who take on giant prehistoric sharks cost $130 million, so Warner Bros. is banking on another strong turnout at the international box office to offset its price tag. China Media Capital co-financed the film.

The good news is that despite terrible reviews and mediocre audience scores, “Meg 2: The Trench” has collected $112 million overseas for a mighty global start of $142 million.

“The drop from the first film’s start shows the series is wearing thin,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “But foreign is where ‘The Meg’ makes its money, and the overseas openings are strong.”

In fourth place, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” pulled in a solid $28 million from 3,858 venues over the weekend and $43 million over its first five days of release. The PG film will continue to benefit in the coming weeks from its “A” CinemaScore and 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. It cost $70 million, which is less than recent animated offerings such as Pixar’s $200 million-budgeted “Elemental” and Sony’s $100 million-budgeted “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”

“We are thrilled,” says Chris Aronson, Paramount’s president of domestic distribution. “Getting to $43 million in five days in August is fantastic. It’s an all-audience film, not just a family film.”

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the creative team behind “Superbad,” wrote and produced “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” which follows Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo as they set out to conquer the streets of New York City after spending years sheltered from the human world. Before the film was released, Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon announced the development of a sequel, as well as a two-season Paramount+ series that will serve as a “bridge” between the big-screen adventures. 

“Turning to animation […] opens up creative possibilities and broadens the appeal demographically,” Gross says.

Disney’s “Haunted Mansion” remake dropped to No. 5 with $9 million from 3,740 theaters, a 63% dip from its debut. The spooky film, which was curiously released in July, has grossed $42 million in North America and $59 million globally to date. It’s shaping up to be a theatrical misfire for Disney, which spent $150 million to produce the film and tens of millions on promotional efforts.

Elsewhere, A24’s low-budget thriller “Talk to Me” added a healthy $6.27 million from 2,370 screens in its sophomore outing. With $22.1 million at the domestic box office, the film already stands as A24’s highest-grossing release of the year.

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