If you haven’t heard already, SAG-AFTRA members have been on strike since July 14 due to the AMPTP’s refusal to pay their creatives a living wage. This action marks the first time that both writers and actors have been on strike since 1960, marking a significant turning point in the industry.
While the strike may not have any short-term impact on the box office, when promotional campaigns for Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning – Part One, Barbie, and Oppenheimer, were completed before the strike began, there will be a significant impact as it goes on. Not only are all film/TV productions shut down, but actors are also refrained from doing any interviews or attending festivals, conventions, award shows, and red-carpet premieres. Any interviews released in the coming weeks would have been done before the strike began.
Just yesterday, Disney premiered The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland and made famous Disney characters walk the red carpet alongside director Justin Simien, as no actors could attend. Time will tell how big of an impact the strike will have in the coming weeks when upcoming movies will release with little publicity campaigns, but one should expect it to have massive repercussions on the theatrical market, one way or another.
Before the strike, the theatrical market is having difficulty with massive tentpoles consistently underperforming. With the exception of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, this highly competitive summer has been filled with flops or disappointing returns. While some thought Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning – Part One would’ve easily cleared $100 million in its 5-day weekend, the movie underperformed domestically, grossing only $56.2 million in its 3-day tally, and an $80 million tally in the overall 5-days, a franchise-best record. When framed in its three-day weekend, it’s a disappointment, but it’s an actually solid start for a franchise that keeps getting bigger with each installment.
The movie made considerable money internationally, grossing $235 million over a $290 million budget. The movie faced lots of challenges during production, including a ballooned budget due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but its Fallout-style legs might help it succeed and top the previous installment. But it’ll have some true competition next week, with the Barbenheimer battle poised to take over (and sell out) cinemas nationwide. However, Tom Cruise is still Mr. Movies, so watch out!
As for other movies this weekend, Sound of Freedom is gaining lots of momentum and has improved upon its previous box office tally, ending in second place with $27 million over the weekend. This will likely end up being one of the highest-grossing independent movies of the year, one that has been embroiled in multiple controversies surrounding its lead star and financiers. Some social media users have pointed out the movie artificially grossing its tally through its end-credits scene, where actor Jim Caviezel encourages the audience to pay for a ticket for someone else by scanning a QR code on the screen. Tickets are bought and then given away.
Here’s the full list of the top ten films of the week:
- Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning – Part One (Paramount): $56.2M – 4,327 theatres
- Sound of Freedom (Angel Studios): $27.0M (+37.2%) – 3,265 theatres
- Insidious: The Red Door (Sony): $13.0M (-60.6%) – 3,188 theatres
- Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (Disney): $12.0M (-56.2%) – 3,865 theatres
- Elemental (Disney): $8.7M (-13.3%) – 3,235 theatres
- Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Sony/Marvel): $6.0M (-24.7%) – 2,577 theatres
- Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (Paramount): $3.4M (-33%) – 2,041 theatres
- No Hard Feelings (Sony): $3.3M (-38.9%) – 2,053 theatres
- Joy Ride (Lionsgate): $2.5M (-55.7%) – 2,820 theatres
- The Little Mermaid (Disney): $2.3M (-36.3%) – 1,615 theatres
Source: Box Office Mojo