Taylor Swift and AMC Theatres’ Eras Tour earned $10.4 million on its second Friday, enough to beat the $9.4 million grossed by Martin Scorsese‘s Western true-crime drama Killers of the Flower Moon on its opening day at the domestic box office.
While Taylor Swift: Eras Tour is virtually assured of winning the weekend with a gross of $30 million to $33 million after crossing the $100 million mark domestically, that doesn’t mean Killers of the Flower Moon can’t carry a tune. (AMC is being more conservative in projecting a $26 million to $27 million weekend for Eras in case there is, once again, little walk-up business.)
Flower Moon — starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone and Robert De Niro — is expected to score $23 million for the weekend, the third-best nationwide opening of Scorsese’s career behind 2010’s Shutter Island ($41 million) and 2006’s The Departed ($26.9 million), not adjusted for inflation. It also ties with The Departed and Goodfellas in receiving the best CinemaScores of his career, an A-.
Apple Original Films is giving the $200 million movie a traditional theatrical run via Paramount. Its performance so far is impressive for an adult drama that runs three hours and 26 minutes.
And while Flower Moon is skewing older, 46 percent of Friday ticket buyers were under the age of 35, including 27 percent between the ages of 25 and 34. Among older adults, 38 percent of the audience was 45 and older. Since this latter demo is notorious for not rushing out on opening weekend, Apple and Paramount are counting on Flower Moon to enjoy a strong run in the ensuing weeks as awards season unfolds, thanks to strong reviews and audience exit polls.
The movie skewed notably male on Friday (61 percent), but the gender breakdown could even out as the weekend unfolds.
Flower Moon is based on David Grann’s book about the murders of Osage Nation tribe members in the 1920s after oil was found on their Oklahoma land.
DiCaprio — one of the world’s biggest movie stars — and the rest of the cast haven’t been able to do any publicity since the SAG-AFTRA strike commenced July 14. Apple was able to bank some interviews previous to the strike and generated headlines around the world when it took Killers of the Flower Moon to the Cannes Film Festival in late May but didn’t reap the benefits of a final publicity blitz by the actors. (Scorsese, who has a strong fan base, instead did the heavy lifting solo.)
This weekend marks a turning point for Apple’s film ambitions. Killers of the Flower Moon, costing $200 million, is arguably the biggest event film to date from a tech giant to be given a conventional theatrical release versus going relatively quickly to streaming. Earlier this year, Apple Original Films revealed it intends to spend $1 billion a year to produce movies intended for theatrical, both to boost its streaming service and strengthen its profile in theaters.
Apple’s next major theatrical test after Killers of the Flowers Moon is director Ridley Scott’s historic epic Napoleon, starring Joaquin Pheonix in the titular role. Apple and Sony open the film Nov. 22 on the eve of Thanksgiving.
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