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The Invitation Wins The Weekend Box Office And Closes Out Summer 2022 On A Down Note

Nathalie Emmanuel in The Invitation
(Image credit: Sony)

The end of August is notoriously not a friendly part of the calendar for Hollywood. Between end-of-summer vacations and the arrival of a new school year, going out to the local multiplex isn't a big priority for most would-be movie-goers. Studios have adjusted to this by wide releasing titles that don't have much going for them in the way of big box office expectations, and, in 2022, Jessica M. Thompson's The Invitation and George Miller's Three Thousand Years Of Longing fit the bill. Thus, it is not surprising in the slightest that no feature released in theaters this weekend – new arrival or not – made over $10 million.

Check out the full Top 10 in the chart below, and join me after for analysis!

The Invitation Weekend Box Office banner CinemaBlend

(Image credit: Sony)

TITLEWEEKEND GROSSDOMESTIC GROSSLWTHTRS
1. The Invitation*$7,000,000 $7,000,000 3,114
2. Bullet Train$5,600,000 $78,206,593 33,513
3. Beast$4,900,000 $20,090,985 23,754
4. Top Gun: Maverick$4,750,143 $691,213,000 42,962
5. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero$4,565,668 $30,761,982 12,979
6. DC League Of Super Pets$4,225,000 $74,088,809 53,284
7. Three Thousand Years Of Longing*$2,876,000 $2,876,000 2,436
8. Minions: The Rise Of Gru$2,740,000 $354,780,635 72,494
9. Thor: Love And Thunder$2,700,000 $336,570,158 62,450
10. Where The Crawdads Sing$2,325,000 $81,888,348 92,216

The Invitation Only Needed To Make $7 Million To Top The Box Office This Weekend

I have frequently used this column in recent months to express a great deal of enthusiasm about summer 2022 at the box office. After 2020's releases were cancelled and 2021 was marred by studios embracing hybrid strategies that sent films to theaters and streamers simultaneously, this year was wholly different – and a wonderful return to a semblance of normal with a pair of huge Marvel Studios blockbusters and the remarkable success of Joseph Kosinski's Top Gun: Maverick

This in mind, it's most definitely a bummer to see the summer peter out in this fashion, even with aforementioned low expectations.

Starring Fast & Furious/Game of Thrones star Nathalie Emmanuel, Thomas Doherty, Stephanie Corneliussen, and Sean Pertwee, The Invitation didn't exactly garner a whole lot of buzz going into its opening weekend, with reviews for the film held until day of release, and the lack of hype shows in the box office results. The PG-13 Dracula horror movie now sports a 26 percent score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Nathalie Emmanuel dancing in The Invitation

(Image credit: Sony)

The estimated $7 million made by The Invitation (via The Numbers) is the least amount of money that any film has needed to win the weekend box office in 2022 thus far. That low bar was previously set by Kenneth Branagh's Death On The Nile in February when the Murder On The Orient Express sequel only needed $12.9 million to outgross its opening weekend competition. Should the early numbers hold firm, the horror film's domestic opening weekend earnings rank 35th overall since January, as it didn't make as much as Tom Gormican's The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent back in April ($7.13), but it did outgross the single-weekend screenings of BTS Permission to Dance on Stage Seoul in March ($6.8 million).

Hopefully this isn't a portent of what's to come from upcoming horror movies at the box office as we get into Halloween spirit. The film world got some exceptionally disappointing news last week when it was announced that David Gordon Green's Halloween Ends will be debuting simultaneously in theaters and on Peacock, and some of the biggest genre titles of the fall season – like David Bruckner's Hellraiser and Anne Fletcher's Hocus Pocus 2 – will only be available streaming. That's probably going to put some unfair pressure on movies like Zach Cregger's Barbarian and Parker Finn's Smile.

Three Thousand Years Of Longing Lands In Seventh Place After Its First Three Days In Theaters

You would think that George Miller's first directorial effort since 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road would garner more interest, but, as mentioned, late August never fails to disappoint, and as a result it seems that we're going to be looking back at Three Thousand Years Of Longing as a flop. The movie has gotten a positive critical reception, having first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival back in May, and United Artists put the move out in 2,436 nationwide – but the fantasy feature only managed to make $1,181 per theater for a $2.9 million total.

What makes this a hard pill to swallow is that Three Thousand Years Of Longing wasn't exactly cheap to make (and the budget is most definitely all on screen). According to Variety, the film was made for $60 million, and it's never a good sign when a movie makes back less than five percent of its production budget in its first three days of release. Fingers will definitely be crossed hoping that it performs better overseas and when it is eventually released digitally.

It's the second box office disappointment for Idris Elba this month, as Baltasar Kormákur's Beast notably also failed to top the box office in its opening weekend, instead losing to Tetsuro Kodama's Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero Takes A Massive Tumble, Falling From First Place To Fifth Place Weekend-To-Weekend

Staying on the subject of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, the anime film was yet another title that unfortunately didn't get a lot of good news from this weekend's box office results. Headlines were made last Sunday when the movie made nearly $7,000 per location playing in 3,018 theaters around the country, but there were big question marks about sustainability, and this weekend those questions were proven to be justified.

In addition to falling from first place to fifth place, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero saw its earnings absolutely plummet weekend-to-weekend. The $4.6 million it's made since Friday represents a 78 percent drop from the $21.1 million the film brought in during its first three days of release. The movie has made $30.8 million in the United States and Canada thus far.

August has ended on a bummer note for movie theaters, but will things pick up as we get into September? We'll have to wait and see, as Adamma Ebo's Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. will be arriving along with a special screenings of Steven Spielberg's Jaws and the theatrical release of Jon Watts' Spider-Man: No Way Home — The More Fun Stuff Version. Be sure to head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday to see how these titles shake up the Top 10.

For a look ahead at everything that is on the way between now and the end of December, check out our 2022 Movie Release Calendar, and scope out our 2023 Movie Release Calendar for a preview of what's on the way next year.

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.