Indiana Jones has faced Nazis and aliens, snakes and the fury of an Old Testament God — but he has never faced the terrors of the Red Door.
Sony’s “Insidious: The Red Door,” the latest installment in the supernatural series, blew by expectations on its opening day with a $15.2 million gross from 3,188 venues — a figure that includes $5 million in Thursday previews. Horror entries usually face front-loaded weekend performances, but the Screen Gems, Stage 6 Films and Blumhouse co-production has fired off with a commanding lead. It looks to land the top spot on domestic charts for the weekend, projecting a $31 million haul and toppling last week’s victor “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” in the process.
Ho-hum, it’s another unimpeachable box office success story for the horror genre. Studios and exhibitors are still having trouble fully bouncing back after the COVID pandemic shuttered business — this summer’s box office returns are on track to finish behind last year’s. Horror has been the only consistent game in town for a few years now.
“The Red Door” has been dealt some negative reviews — a 15% approval rating from top critics on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes — and audiences — as indicated by the “C+” grade on Cinema Score — but the fifth “Insidious” entry doesn’t have to be hobbled bad word-of-mouth. With a production budget reported at just $16 million, it’s already a decided triumph.
Franchise star Patrick Wilson returns for “The Red Door,” while also stepping behind the camera for his directorial debut — echoes of when Anthony Perkins got the keys to the “Psycho” franchise to helm its 1986 threequel. Ty Simpkins, Andrew Astor and Rose Byrne reprise their roles from the original 2010 “Insidious” for a terrifying new chapter.
There was some hope that “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” would be able to hold strongly enough to retain the No. 1 spot at the domestic box office, but that no longer seems to be the case. The Harrison Ford finale earned $7.6 million on Friday, with competitors projecting a second weekend total around $26 million. The North American gross should reach $120 million through Sunday.
With a $295 million production budget before marketing, the Disney release always faced a preposterous uphill climb to theatrical profitability. “Dial of Destiny” is on pace to fall roughly 56% from its subdued $60 million three-day opening, the same percentage tumble that Daniel Craig’s 007 swan song “No Time to Die” saw in its second weekend. Both tentpoles skew toward older audiences, but the James Bond entry faced relatively little competition in the fall of 2021, sticking around domestic charts for weeks. “Indiana Jones 5” isn’t so lucky; it will have to contend for butts in seats against “Oppenheimer” and “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.”
Kind-of, sort-of opening this weekend is the espionage thriller “Sound of Freedom,” which debuted in 2,850 theaters on July 4. Competitors are projecting the Angel Studios release will reach a six-day domestic total of $37 million, adding $15 million to its haul over the three-day frame. That’d be enough to land bronze on domestic charts.
Based on a true story, “Sound of Freedom” stars Jim Caviezel, who has found a dedicated fanbase ever since playing the titular Christ in Mel Gibson’s mega-hit “The Passion of the Christ.” Caviezel, who has spoken at QAnon conventions and peddled conspiracy theories connected to the movement throughout the press tour for “Sound of Freedom,” plays Tim Ballard, a former agent who takes the rescue of trafficked children into his own hands. Like Caviezel, Ballard has also publicly commended Qanon. What a stretch!
“Sound of Freedom” has benefited from Angel Studios’ untraditional “Pay It Forward” system, which allows individuals to donate money to the distributor — with options on the website as high as $10,000 — which the company then purports to put toward purchasing tickets to its own movie. The practice is intended to benefit individuals who cannot afford their own ticket. “Sound of Freedom” has decidedly connected with its intended audiences, as indicated by its “A+” grade on Cinema Score. It remains unclear what fraction of the film’s opening grosses came from the “Pay It Forward” system, but ticket sales are still ticket sales for exhibitors.
Also opening this weekend, Lionsgate is putting the ensemble R-rated comedy “Joy Ride” in 2,820 theaters. The film earned $2.6 million on Friday, a figure that includes $1.1 million in previews.
“Joy Ride” has enjoyed some of the strongest reviews of the year — a 90% approval rating from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes — as well as a buzzy premiere at SXSW in March. Audiences are colder on the film though, as indicated by the “B-” Cinema Score determined by surveying early moviegoers (compare that to the “B+” earned by “No Hard Feelings,” another recent raunchy crowdpleaser). With “Joy Ride” now likely coming in beneath projections for a $7 million to $9 million debut, it’ll need to find some more buzz to drum up business in the coming weeks.
“Joy Ride” stars Ashley Park, Sherry Cola, Stephanie Hsu and Sabrina Wu as a group of friends who jet off to China in search of one of their birth mothers. Adele Lim directs the Point Grey and Red Mysterious Hippo production.
Disney and Pixar’s “Elemental” looks to take fourth after earning $2.9 million on Friday. The animated romance has no hope of recouping its $200 million production budget domestically, but it has held well since its disastrous opening and has now pushed beyond a $100 million domestic gross.
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is aiming for fifth, projecting a $7.7 million gross in its sixth weekend of release. The Marvel adventure is inches away from passing “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” to become the second-highest grossing domestic release of the year.