What’s old is new again.
Two decades after his initial blockbuster streak, M. Night Shyamalan once again tops the box office during a hot summer weekend. His latest horror-thriller Old — about a strange beach where time passes so quickly that a person’s life unfolds in roughly one day — toppled bigger budget offerings to finish #1 with a $16.5 million debut.
In classic M. Night fashion, the upset was a major twist. Space Jam: A New Legacy and new entry Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins had both been projected to top Old based on pre-release tracking. Instead, the first two dramatically underperformed while the latter exceeded middling estimates.
Snake Eyes, an $88 million dollar action movie meant to re-energize the G.I. Joe film universe, only managed second place with $13.3 million, essentially dashing reboot hopes for the franchise. By contrast, Shyamalan’s Old cost a mere $18 million to produce, guaranteeing it should enjoy a healthy profit even during a resurgent pandemic.
Space Jam 2, which had been projected to drop 40% to 50% and possibly stay at #1 with an $18 million take, actually plunged 69% from its previous #1 spot of $31 million to land at fourth place with $9.5 million. That’s a blindside for Warner Bros and would seem to confirm that Space Jam 2‘s availability on streamer HBO Max is cutting deep into its box office potential.
Gaining ground, however, was Marvel’s Black Widow. After suffering a steep fall between its first and second weekend, the MCU solo adventure leveled off and showed legs in its third weekend. Scarlett Johansson‘s Marvel swan song finished ahead of Space Jam 2 in third place with a respectable $11.6 million, bringing its domestic tally to $154 million.
Though that total is low by pre-pandemic standards (and further hurt by being available on streamer Disney Plus for a $30 fee), Black Widow could still end up being the biggest moneymaker since the pandemic began. That honor is currently held by F9: The Fast Saga, which stands at $163.4 million domestic.
Globally, F9 is now the first movie to cross the $600 million mark worldwide since the pandemic hit. Black Widow is second at only half that ($322 million); however, the big difference between the two is that China has allowed F9 to play widely there while it has still inexplicably refused to allow a release for Black Widow. The bulk of F9‘s international receipts have come directly from its China platform.
Old‘s hold on the box office should age quickly. Next weekend will see the launch of Disney’s Jungle Cruise along with highly-anticipated indie titles Stillwater (starring Matt Damon) and the dark Arthurian legend The Green Knight.