Box Office: ‘Barbarian’ Crashes the Gate With $10M Opening

The well-reviewed horror film came in far ahead of expectations.

The new horror movie Barbarian overperformed at the domestic box office, where it won the weekend with $10 million in ticket sales from 2,340 theaters.

That puts the well-reviewed film far ahead of an expected $5 million to $6 million opening. Still, the post-Labor Day weekend was more quiet than usual. Not to mention, most of the movie industry is focused on the fall film festivals. Toronto is underway in earnest, with Steven Spielberg’s The Fablemans sparking instant Oscar buzz when making its world premiere at the Canadian fest before hitting theaters in November. Another high-profile Toronto entry, Sony’s The Woman King, debuts next weekend at the box office.

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From 20th Century Studios and New Regency, Barbarian did big business in Imax and premium large format screens, which contributed 29 percent of the gross.

The majority of the audience was between the ages of 18 and 34. Ticket buyers gave the movie a C+ CinemaScore, though reviewers liked it much better, with Barbarian currently resting at a 92 percent critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Overseas, Barbarian debuted this weekend in smaller Latin American territories before launching in Mexico, Argentina and Colombia the following weekend.

The film, full of twists and turns, follows a young woman (Georgina Campbell) arriving late at night to a rental home in a rundown Detroit neighborhood only to find it occupied by another renter, played by Bill Skarsgård. Barbarian marks Zach Cregger’s solo feature debut.

Skarsgård, of course, played the demonic clown Pennywise in the two Stephen King It films, which also launched post-Labor Day. It helped usher in a new era in terms of high-profile films going out in early September, which had otherwise been a quiet time.

September 2022 is notably quiet in terms of event titles in a setback for the summer box office recovery. The dearth of studio tentpoles is due to supply chain issues resulting from the pandemic.

Overall, revenue for the weekend is expected to come in at around $39 million, down 35.3 percent from 2021 and more than 70 percent from 2019 when It Chapter Two opened.

Among the weekend’s other new offerings, Fox Star Studios’ Bollywood pic Bramastra Part 1: Shiva placed No. 2 with $4.4 million from 810 theaters after earning $2 million on Friday. The film received the widest Imax domestic release ever for a Bollywood movie. Star Studios came under the Disney fold when Disney bought 20th Century.

Fathom decided to use the quiet post-Labor Day weekend to open the Kirk Cameron faith-based movie Lifemark, which is eyeing a 7th place finish with an estimated $2.2 million from 1,560 locations.

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And Variance launched Medieval, a 2022 English-language Czech historical drama directed by Petr Jákl in 1,311 runs. The movie is projected to come in No. 15 with under $1 million.

Back in the top 10, Sony’s Bullet Train placed No. 3 in its seventh weekend with $3.25 million for a domestic total of $92.5 million.

Now in its 16th weekend, Top Gun: Maverick wasn’t far behind, earning another $3.17 million for a domestic total of $705.7 million and $1.45 million globally.