Jennifer Lopez's Valentine's Day Weekend Box Office Hopes Get Dashed As Death On The Nile Defeats Marry Me

Hollywood loves to take advantage of a big holiday, and Valentine's Day is annually a golden example. The industry is fully aware that many couples like to go see movies about love to celebrate the February event, and thus there are always a nice selection of new titles made available for the special weekend. This year, the big new title hitting theaters was Kat Corio's Marry Me, featuring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson in a blossoming relationship... but it doesn't seem an overabundance of love was circulating through the ventilation systems of cinemas nationwide.

Rather than Marry Me taking the box office crown, instead it is Kenneth Branagh's Death On The Nile which has earned the title of "#1 Movie In America," and you can see the full Top 10 below. Scope it out, and join me after for analysis!

Death On The Nile Weekend Box Office February 11-13, 2022

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)
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1. Death On The Nile*$12,800,000 $12,800,000 Row 0 - Cell 3 3,604
2. Jackass Forever$8,050,298 $37,420,000 13,446
3. Marry Me*$8,000,000 $8,000,000 Row 2 - Cell 3 3,600
4. Spider-Man: No Way Home$7,150,000 $759,000,817 33,227
5. Blacklight*$3,600,000 $3,600,000 Row 4 - Cell 3 3,266
6. Sing 2$2,950,000 $143,388,555 51,910
7. Moonfall$2,850,000 $15,153,549 21,797
8. Scream$2,835,368 $73,177,000 41,470
9. Licorice Pizza$922,501 $13,991,311 101,710
10. The King’s Man$433,000 $36,747,611 6786

Death On The Nile Wins The Weekend, But It's Not Exactly An Overwhelming Victory

Being the only film that brought in eight figures this past weekend, Death On The Nile handedly won the box office this weekend... but it's not precisely all great news. The new mystery movie may have a nice new item to add to TV spots that air between now and next Friday, but it's hard to imagine that the folks at Disney/20th Century Studios are overwhelmingly happy with the results.

The Kenneth Branagh film – which features an ensemble cast including Gal Gadot, Annette Bening, Letitia Wright, Russell Brand, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, and more – made about as much money as it was expected to make going into the weekend (Deadline's estimates saying "mid teens"), but that $12.8 million is rather small when you take into consideration the costs behind the movie.

According to The Numbers, Death On The Nile was made with a reported production budget of $90 million, and not only is that a high number, it also doesn't factor in marketing and publicity costs – which were certainly inflated due to multiple delays thanks to the pandemic (the film was planned to debut in October 2020, and it moved to September 2021 before getting pushed again last year to February 2022).

Death on the Nile cast shot with Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, and Kenneth Branagh

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

A $12.8 million opening weekend doesn't look great when you compare it to the amount of money it took to make Kenneth Branagh's film to life and bring to theaters – and right now it doesn't appear that the numbers from markets abroad are doing too much to help. Thus far it's made $20.7 million outside the United States and Canada, which brings its worldwide total to $33.5 million. Death On The Nile has a long road (or river, if you prefer) to travel before it can be called successful.

Certainly not doing anything to make the numbers look better is comparing them to the performance of Kenneth Branagh's Murder On The Orient Express back in 2017. That film not only made more than twice as much in its domestic debut ($28.7 million), but it went on to gross $351.8 million globally before it was done playing on the big screen. 

Is it possible that Death On The Nile could make 10 times as much money as it has presently earned before its time in theaters is up? Given everything we've seen in 2022 thus far, I can't say I'm particularly optimistic. With new video game and superhero blockbusters making their way to theaters in the next couple weeks, I don't foresee it going on some epic and crazy run in the next few months  

Marry Me Settles For Second Place On Valentine's Day Weekend

So with Death On The Nile not being a particularly massive draw at the box office, why was it so easily able to defeat Marry Me, which had to settle for third place behind Jeff Tremaine's Jackass Forever? There are multiple factors potentially in play, with one of them being the fact that the actual Valentine's Day holiday isn't until tomorrow. Another is the fact that the film isn't a theatrical exclusive – it's also presently streaming on Peacock.

After following the results of the various 2021 films that were distributed as hybrid releases, it seems very easy to imagine that Marry Me's success on the big screen was hindered by its availability in households around the country. Of course, this also means that we don't actually know how popular the Jennifer Lopez rom-com really is, as Peacock (like all streamers) doesn't publicly share subscriber or traffic numbers after individual new releases. 

It should also be noted that while Marry Me didn't have any direct wide release competition in theaters this weekend, Netflix, Amazon and Paramount+ all had their own romantic movies to try and draw in Valentine's Day crowds (namely Emily Ting's Tall Girl 2, Jason Orley's I Want You Back, and Arie Posin's The In Between). For the same reason mentioned earlier, we don't know how any of those new titles actually performed in the last three days, but one has to wonder if they potentially stole attention away from Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson.

Liam Neeson's New Thriller Blacklight Squeaks Into The Top 5

Also part of the wave of new releases hitting theaters this past weekend was Mark Williams' Blacklight starring Liam Neeson, though the movie didn't exactly put up much of a fight against its much more high profile competition. Over a decade after Pierre Morel's Taken, films based around Neeson with a gun on a revenge mission don't have the same kind of draw that they once did, and that's evidenced here.

It's been reported that Blacklight had a budget in the $40 million range, so a fifth place start that only saw the film make $3.6 million doesn't precisely put the thriller in a positive position.

Spider-Man: No Way Home Falls Just Short Of Passing Avatar On The All-Time Domestic Chart

To close out with some much more positive news, Jon Watts' Spider-Man: No Way Home is edging ever closer to jumping the rankings again on the all-time domestic box office chart. In last week's column I noted that the Marvel blockbuster was just about $12 million away from passing James Cameron's Avatar and taking over third place in the record books. It wasn't able to make that much money in the last seven days, but now just $1.51 million away from history.

As one Tom Holland-led blockbuster continues to shock Hollywood, another one is set to arrive in theaters this weekend, as Reuben Fleisher's Uncharted is expected to start dominating the box office this Friday. How well will it perform, and what kind of competition will be provided by Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin's Dog? Be sure to come back to CinemaBlend next Sunday to find out. 

To discover all of the films set to hit theaters in the rest of the year, head on over to 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.