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Barbarian Ushers In The Spooky Season Scaring Up Solid Numbers Winning The Weekend Box Office

Barbarian woman looks through doorway to basement
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

We have reached the most beloved time of year for horror fans. Halloween is weeks away, and as the days grow shorter and the wind gets chillier, genre fans are very much put in the mood to get some scares from their entertainment. Thankfully there are a lot of thrilling and spooky movies set to come out very soon, and leading the parade is Zach Cregger's Barbarian – which has debuted at number one in its opening weekend.

Check out the full Top 10 for this past Friday-to-Sunday in the chart below, and join me after for analysis!

Barbarian Weekend Box Office September 9-11, 2022

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

TITLEWEEKEND GROSSDOMESTIC GROSSLWTHTRS
1. Barbarian*$10,000,000 $10,000,000 2,340
2. Brahmastra Part 1: Shiva*$4,400,000 $4,400,000 810
3. Bullet Train$3,250,000 $92,543,738 23,056
4. Top Gun: Maverick$3,170,000 $705,650,344 13,005
5. DC League Of Super Pets$2,835,000 $85,421,285 43,043
6. The Invitation$2,620,000 $18,845,563 53,117
7. Lifemark*$2,212,288 $2,212,288 1,531
8. Beast$1,800,000 $29,375,780 62,793
9. Minions: The Rise Of Gru$1,650,000 $362,331,415 72,274
10. Spider-Man: No Way Home – The More Fun Stuff Version$1,300,000 $813,348,862 33,215

Barbarian Makes Eight Figures On Its Way To The Top Spot

Coming into the weekend, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Barbarian was only expected to make $5-6 million during its debut, and while a number in that range would still have resulted in the film topping the box office, what we're seeing here is obviously a very nice surprise. There has been a scary lull in the industry within recent weeks, with an extremely slow August throwing cold water on what had previously been an incredibly hot blockbuster season, but a significant number of movie-goers made a point of going to see the horror feature that arrived in theaters this past Friday.

The estimated $10 million earned (via The Numbers) is obviously not a record-setter, as the present figure makes Barbarian's opening weekend the 30th biggest of 2022 thus far. But the movie didn't really need to get Marvel Cinematic Universe-esque results to be called a win. It doesn't appear that the budget of the movie has been reported yet, but its clearly not a film that cost hundreds of millions – and knowing that, it very well may be coming close to breaking even already. Along with it outpacing the aforementioned conservative estimates, it's a positive and surprising win for the box office world.

We can also hope that it further establishes precedent that ends up giving us more horror movies starring Bill Skarsgård released in the month of September, with Barbarian's success coming in the wake of Andy Muschietti's IT and IT Chapter Two.

Woman climbing up stairs in Barbarian

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

So what kind of legs will Barbarian end up showing? That's a complicated question because there are a number of competing factors in play that can influence how things proceed in the coming weeks. One reason to feel optimistic is the fact that we are drawing ever closer to Halloween 2022, which should only further feed the audiences' appetite for horror releases. Another win working in the film's favor is the critical response – which one imagines had an influence on its opening weekend numbers. Professional reviewers have shown a lot of love to Zach Cregger's creation, and on Rotten Tomatoes it is boasting an impressive 92 percent score.

While those factors make the outlook appear solid for Barbarian, there are some issues at play as well. One is genre competition, with upcoming horror movies distracting fans looking for different scares. Another is the word of mouth, which hasn't been as golden as the buzz from critics. The audience score is almost 20 points lower on Rotten Tomatoes, and CinemaScore grades from opening weekend audiences delivered a mediocre "C+" result.

At the very least we can probably expect Barbarian to stick around in the Top 10 for a few weeks – but that probably says less about Barbarian and more about the depressed market that is the box office at the moment.

In Limited Release, Brahmastra Part 1: Shiva Takes Second Place With A Strong Per Theater Average 

Along with the big opening weekends of some anime feature releases, one of the more exciting recent box office developments has been the success of imports from India. Back in March, S. S. Rajamouli's RRR was released in 1,200 theaters nationwide, and it opened in third place behind Aaron and Adam Nee's The Lost City (which was also debuting in theaters) and Matt Reeves' The Batman (which was in its fourth weekend). 

Ayan Mukherjee's Brahmastra Part 1: Shiva, distributed by Fox Star India, didn't get quite as big a release, as it's only playing in 810 locations around the country, but it definitely did find an audience – putting up a larger per theater average ($5,161) than any other title playing on the big screen right now.

By the end of its run, RRR ended up making $13.8 million domestically, but it doesn't appear that Brahmastra Part 1: Shiva will be reaching those heights – based on the fact that it still only made about half of what RRR did in its opening weekend. The silver lining is that it has already made $19.5 million outside the United States, bringing its current worldwide total to $23.9 million

Bullet Train Is Inching Closer To $100 Million At The Domestic Box Office

As noted earlier, August 2022 was a rough month at the box office, but one of the very few bright spots was David Leitch's Bullet Train. The action movie debuted in the first weekend of the final summer month and made $30 million. It fell out of the top spot following its second week, with Tetsuro Kodama's Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, Jessica M. Thompson's The Invitation, and Joseph Kosinki's Top Gun: Maverick each taking over for one weekend each – but now the Brad Pitt feature is getting very close to a milestone: $100 million at the domestic box office.

Bullet Train has already more than doubled its reported budget at the worldwide box office, having made $211.8 million thus far, but being one of only 12 other 2022 movies to reach nine figures in the United States and Canada alone would be a nice feather in its cap. The $3.3 million it made over the last three days has inched the film closer to the target – the domestic total presently at $92.5 million – so it should be able to cross the finish line before the end of September (provided Sony keeps it in enough theaters).

Next weekend should produce some interesting box office results, as there are a nmber of films hitting wide release – including Kevin Smith's comedy sequel Clerks III, Ti West's horror feature Pearl, Tom George's whodunit See How They Run, and Gina Prince-Bythewood's epic The Woman King. There is expectation that these titles will shake up the Top 10, so be sure to head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday to see the results.

For a further look ahead at all of the movies coming before the end of the year, check out our 2022 Movie Release Calendar.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.