LOS ANGELES (AFP): “Death on the Nile” cruised to the top of the North American box office in its opening weekend, showing the continuing lure of a good old-fashioned Agatha Christie murder mystery, according to industry data Sunday.
The movie from 20th Century — the third based on Christie’s 1937 novel of the same name — took in an estimated $12.8 million for the Friday-to-Sunday period, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported.
“This is a fair opening, with a couple of asterisks,” said David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research. The asterisks: Sunday’s widely watched football Super Bowl always depresses filmgoing, and coronavirus-hit Hollywood is still battling its way back from the Omicron surge.
“Death on the Nile” stars and was directed by Kenneth Branagh as perspicacious Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, a role he also played in his “Murder on the Orient Express.”
Branagh is having a good year: His “Belfast” garnered best-film and best-director Oscar nominations.
The success of “Death” left last weekend’s box office leader, “Jackass Forever,” slipping to second place, at $8.1 million. Paramount’s irreverent comedy features spoofs, gross-outs and painful stunts dreamed up by Johnny Knoxville and his merry pranksters.
In third spot, opening strategically before Valentine’s Day on Monday, was Universal’s rom-com “Marry Me,” at $8 million.
It stars Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson as two strangers — she a superstar, he a nerdy divorced math teacher — who spontaneously agree to marry each other and then… (fill in appropriate Hollywood ending).
Sony blockbuster “Spider-Man: No Way Home” took fourth spot, at $7.2 million. The Sony/Marvel film has been in the top five domestically since its release nine weeks ago; its international take has now passed $1 billion.
And in fifth spot was another new release, “Blacklight” from Focus Features. The quirky Liam Neeson crime thriller, which has suffered poor reviews, took in $3.6 million.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
“Sing 2” ($3 million)
“Moonfall” ($2.9 million)
“Scream” ($2.8 million)
“Licorice Pizza” ($923,000)
“The King’s Man” ($433,000)
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