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#Box Office: Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras Tour’ Stays No. 1 With $31M, ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Rides to $23M

Taylor Swift and AMC Theatres’ Eras Tour stayed dancing atop the domestic box office in its second weekend with an estimated $31 million, while Martin Scorsese‘s Western adult drama Killers of the Flower Moon rode to a respectable $23 million in its big screen debut.

The superstar pop singer’s movie continued to break records as its North American cume hit an estimated $129.8 million through Sunday, becoming the first concert film in history to cross the $100 million mark domestically, not adjusted for inflation. And it is the first independently released film to make that much in only two weekends, according to AMC.

Flower Moon — starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone and Robert De Niro — was never expected to sing more loudly than Eras Tour considering it is an adult drama. It delivered 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-.

But the pressure is on, considering Scorsese’s Western true-crime drama cost Apple Original Films $200 million to $250 million to make. Apple is counting on Flower Moon to enjoy a long and steady run in theaters as awards season unfolds, pointing to strong reviews and audience exit polls. The tech giant picked up the project when Paramount, Scorsese’s go-studio, passed. (Later, Paramount signed on to distribute the the movie with Apple handling all marketing and publicity.)

Flower Moon runs a hefty three hours and 26 minutes (Eras tour isn’t short either, running two hours and 48 minutes). It did big business in Imax and other premium formats, which ponied up 37 percent of the gross.

Adult dramas became a challenged genre during the pandemic, and haven’t been taken off the endangered list (Oppenheimer being a major exception). Flower Moon indeed skewed 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. The movie skewed notably male (61 percent).

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. Imperative Entertainment, one of the film’s producers, won a bidding war for rights to the book before Scorsese boarded the project. The film did particularly well in the south-central part of the country, as well as in the West.

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 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.

Universal, Blumhouse and Morgan Creek’s Exorcist: The Believer placed a distant third with $6.7 million in its third weekend for a domestic total of $54.2 million.

Paramount’s family pic Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie held at No. 4 with roughly $4.5 million for a domestic cume $56 million through its fourth weekend.

Disney’s annual rerelease of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas did enough business — $4.1 million — to round out the top five with $4.1 million.

More to come.

A version of this story was originally published Oct. 21 at 8:47 am.

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