20th Century Studios/Disney’s “A Haunting in Venice” appears to be outperforming expectations, pulling in $5.3 million on Friday, which includes preview showings, and is on track for a three-day weekend total of $14 million.
While this opening is slightly better than “Death on the Nile,” which debuted at $12.8 million, it doesn’t quite match the impressive start of 2017’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” which brought in $28.6 million. “A Haunting in Venice” is currently playing in 3,305 theaters.
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Interestingly, the film isn’t generating a significant amount of excitement on social media, according to RelishMix. The movie’s presence across platforms like Facebook, X, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok totals 79.1 million, which is 59% lower than the typical engagement for horror films and previous Kenneth Branagh Agatha Christie adaptations. The marketing campaign, as noted by RelishMix, is primarily targeting an audience aged 25 and older, relying on the 20th Studios social network with 44.8 million fans and cross-promotion on “Death on the Nile” pages instead of creating unique official pages for the film.
RelishMix also noted mixed but generally positive chatter online prior to the film’s release. Some fans are intrigued by the unique combination of horror and a Hercule Poirot murder mystery, while others are curious about Tina Fey’s casting, despite her concurrent role in Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building.” Kenneth Branagh’s consistent portrayal of Poirot and his transition into directing horror elicit mixed reactions, ranging from praise to skepticism. Amidst these discussions, some viewers reference dim cinematography and past disappointments with Agatha Christie adaptations.
A Haunting in Venice” has managed to outperform expectations, surpassing the projected second-weekend earnings of New Line’s “The Nun 2,” which is playing in 3,743 theaters and is expected to bring in approximately $4 million in its second weekend. The film is also on track for a total of $12.8 million in its second weekend, reflecting a typical -61% decline, which is common for horror movies. So far, “The Nun 2” has collected a total of $54.5 million over its ten days in theaters.
In the third position, we find Sony’s “The Equalizer 3” in its third weekend, playing in 3,528 theaters. The film earned $2.1 million on its third Friday and is expected to bring in $7.3 million over the weekend, marking a -39% decrease. The total earnings for “The Equalizer 3” now stand at $73.7 million.
In fourth place, Focus Features’ “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” is in its second weekend, playing in 3,678 theaters. The film earned $1.2 million on its second Friday and is expected to make $4 million over the weekend, reflecting a -60% decline. So far, it has accumulated $17.8 million over ten days.
Warner Bros.’ “Barbie” is in its ninth weekend, playing in 3,012 theaters. The film earned $915,000 on Friday and is expected to bring in $3.6 million over the weekend, with a -37% decline. “Barbie” has now reached a total of $625.8 million in earnings.
Kenneth Branagh’s “A Haunting in Venice,” produced by 20th Century Studios and in which he also stars, got off to a spooky start with $1.2 million in preview showings. The weekend forecast for this adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel “Hallowe’en” is looking promising at over $12 million. This figure is reminiscent of Branagh’s previous Agatha Christie adaptation, “Death on the Nile,” which earned $12.8 million in its first weekend last year.
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When looking at comparisons for “A Haunting in Venice,” which is expected to appeal to an older female audience, we can draw parallels with previous films like 2019’s “Doctor Sleep,” which brought in $1.4 million on its Thursday previews before a $14 million opening weekend. Similarly, the 2018 Jennifer Lawrence spy thriller “Red Sparrow” had $1.2 million in Thursday previews and opened to $17 million. Last year’s releases, “Ticket to Paradise” and “Death on the Nile,” both had $1.1 million in previews before their respective openings.
One notable factor working in favor of “A Haunting in Venice” is its positive critical reception. It currently holds a 77% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, surpassing the 61% rating for “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Death on the Nile,” which are part of Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot film series. However, “A Haunting in Venice” doesn’t boast the same star-studded cast as “Murder on the Orient Express.” Aside from Branagh, the prominent names in this film are Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh and Tina Fey from “30 Rock.
The upcoming weekend could see “A Haunting in Venice” emerge as the box office winner, but much depends on whether New Line’s “The Nun 2” experiences a significant decline of over 60%.
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“A Haunting in Venice” is set to screen in 3,305 theaters and has the added advantage of Imax and PLF ticket pricing, which can boost its revenue. Previews included Imax Wednesday fan screenings and early showtimes that began at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
It’s worth noting that both “Death on the Nile” and “Murder on the Orient Express” received B CinemaScores from audiences. So, the reception for Kenneth Branagh’s latest film will be closely watched. Notably, the third installment in the series, “A Haunting in Venice,” had a lower production cost, reportedly around $60 million before marketing expenses, compared to the $90 million budget for “Death on the Nile.”
The Nun 2″ concludes its first week of release in 3,728 theaters with a total of $41.7 million, including a Thursday gross of $1.7 million, which is a 15% decline from Wednesday.
In its second week, Sony’s “The Equalizer 3,” showing in 3,965 theaters, has amassed $16.6 million after a Thursday earning of $936,000, marking a 14% drop from Wednesday. The film’s cumulative earnings now stand at $66.4 million.
Meanwhile, Focus Features’ “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3,” which just completed its first week in 3,650 theaters, accumulated $13.8 million, including a Thursday take of $735,000, reflecting an 11% decline.
Warner Bros.’ “Barbie,” playing in 3,281 theaters and also available on PVOD and digital sellthrough, pulled in $7.5 million during its eighth week, with Thursday contributing $390,000, representing a 16% drop. The film has now surpassed “The Avengers” to become the 11th highest-grossing movie ever at the domestic box office, with total earnings of $622.1 million.
Lastly, Yash Raj’s “Jawan” earned $367,000 on Thursday, a 20% decline, bringing its first-week total to $8.3 million and a cumulative total of $9.7 million.