Open Road and Briarcliff’s Memory, their fourth Liam Neeson-starring actioner since September of 2020, was the lone new wide release of the weekend. Hollywood is again being gunshy about regular theatrical releases and especially so with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opening this week. Regardless, the brutal, R-rated thriller about an Alzheimers-stricken hitman and a child trafficking ring, earned $3.1 million in its opening weekend. It will likely close out with over/under $10 million, or about on par with Honest Thief ($14.1 million from a $4.1 million debut), The Marksman ($15.5 million from a $3.5 million MLK weekend debut) and Blacklight ($9.6 million/$3.5 million).
Yes, this Martin Campbell-directed adaptation of Je Geeraerts’ novel De Zaak Alzheimer, which was previously made into Belgian’s The Alzheimer Case in 2003, is Neeson’s best actioner since the pre-Covid days. Guy Pearce is terrific as an honest cop chasing the rich and the powerful, the film is refreshingly “big” (lots of characters, copious locations, the stuff we used to take for granted) for a small-scale studio programmer, and the film ends up a skewed hybrid of Campbell’s Edge of Darkness (which was a remake of his own groundbreaking BBC miniseries) and The Foreigner (which offered up an against-type Jackie Chan vigilante thriller clashing with Pierce Brosnan’s IRA political drama).
However, Blacklight was barely a movie. When your previous genre flick is the worst such movie you’ve ever made, finally getting your groove back only counts for so much, especially when (unlike in September of 2020 and January of 2021) there’s a lot more theatrical product to choose from. Open Road and friends seemingly can make money from these films earning over/under $12 million domestic, or what the (bigger and generally superior) likes of Run All Night, A Walk Among the Tombstones and The Commuter used to earn in their opening weekends, but Memory is good enough to be Neeson’s last if he wants to go out on a high(er) note.
Meanwhile, since there was only one opener, the continued success of Everything, Everywhere All at Once gets the spotlight for now. The Daniels’ critically-acclaimed and quite buzzy multiverse action-comedy earned another $5.542 million in weekend six, a jump of 2%. That brings its cume to $35.5 million, giving it a 5.8x multiplier from its wide-expansion $6.2 million third-weekend gross. Even a normal rate of descent, on par at this juncture with Crazy Rich Asians, The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, will give the film a $45 million domestic finish, just above Hereditary ($44 million) and just behind Lady Bird ($49 million) and Uncut Gems ($50 million) on the A24 all-timer list.
Yes, it added a bunch of IMAX screens this go-around, and those theaters played to capacity in the top markets, but this is still an almost unprecedented hold. Legs like this weeks into wide release outside of the award season or the Christmas season, well, I’m thinking you have to go back to M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense (albeit with much bigger grosses, a $293 million finish from a $26 million opening) for a comparison. Nia Vardalos’ My Big Fat Greek Wedding was its own miracle, but that rom-com didn’t expand to 500 theaters until weekend 14 and 1,000 theaters until weekend eighteen. Nonetheless, these are Greatest Showman-level holds.
If the Michelle Yeoh/Ke Huy Quan/Stephanie Hsu/James Hong flick holds closer from this point to Sixth Sense and Greatest Showman ($174 million from a $13.5 million Wed-Sun debut), then it’ll end its domestic run with $65-$70 million, and that’s not counting any Oscar season reissues that might give it a second win. Anything over $52 million A) makes it A24’s biggest domestic earner ever and B) puts it above House of Gucci as bigger than any of last year’s Oscar season releases save for Dune ($108 million). That’s all assuming it doesn’t dive next weekend sans IMAX screens against the MCU mega-movie. But so far, the film has been all about defying gravity.