Sony’s Bullet Train rolled into theaters with $12.6 million on Friday, after $4.6 million in Thursday previews. The studio is still anticipating a $30 million opening weekend, although the stylized action film could possibly come in under expectations by around $2 million. Directed by David Leitch and starring Brad Pitt as an assassin who faces off against a gauntlet of mercenaries on a bullet train in Japan, the film is playing in over 4,300 domestic locations.
Bullet Train scored a B+ CinemaScore from opening day audiences, which is the same grade that the public gave Kingsman: The Secret Service in 2014. That film then grossed over $400 million worldwide and spawned a franchise after debuting with around $36 million. It was produced on a budget of $90 million, which is about as much as Sony spent on Bullet Train, before prints and advertising.
The film is also coming in lower than the $40 million that Pitt’s last major box office play, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which pulled in its opening weekend back in pre-pandemic 2019. But that film also had the unified star power of Leonardo DiCaprio, Quentin Tarantino, and Margot Robbie on its side. Bullet Train has an exciting ensemble of its own, though; Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Joey King, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Shannon, Sandra Bullock and Bad Bunny co-star. The film’s debut is in line with the $30 million that The Lost City pulled in its opening weekend earlier this year. The film featured Pitt in a well-publicized extended cameo, and legged it to $100 million domestically.
Warner Bros’ DC League of Super-Pets will take the second spot after a $3.3 million Friday, marking a 64% drop from its opening weekend. The $90 million animated film’s current domestic total stands at less than $40 million, which isn’t great, considering the combined star power of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart behind the microphones. The film did, however, have to contend with the runaway holdover hit Minions: The Rise of Gru, which is looking to take the fifth spot this weekend, pushing its domestic total to a stellar $330 million.
Jordan Peele‘s Nope will take the third spot with an estimated $8 million weekend. The film will pass $100 million at the domestic box office sometime next week, marking the third hit in a row for Peele, arguably one of the strongest directorial brands working in the mainstream today. The fourth spot was claimed by Disney’s Thor: Love and Thunder, which added another $2.2 million to its domestic haul on Friday. The film will pass Thor: Ragnarok‘s $315 million lifetime haul this weekend.
The week’s other new release, Universal’s Easter Sunday debuted outside the top 10 with an estimated $5 million weekend after $2 million on Friday. The comedy film comes with a modest $17 million budget, but it’s still going to struggle to recover it in its theatrical run. Elsewhere, A24’s Bodies Bodies Bodies debuted in six locations in New York and Los Angeles, and is looking at the second-best per-theater average of the year (for those territories) behind the A24’s own Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Bullet Train is basically the last major tentpole of the summer movie season, which means that it has no incoming traffic in the next couple of weeks. You can watch our interview with Leitch here, and stay tuned to Collider for more updates.