“The Last Voyage of the Demeter” sank without a trace over its opening weekend, going to a watery grave with just $6.5 million. The period horror film, which centers on one chapter of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” namely the bit where his coffin gets transported from Transylvania to England, was distributed by Universal. It’s the studio’s second stab at reviving the world’s most famous vampire, with last spring’s “Renfield,” a campy take on the bloodsucker, also collapsing at the box office.
With audiences steering clear of “The Last Voyage of the Demeter,” relegating it to a fifth-place finish, “Barbie” continued to rule the world. The Warner Bros. release earned $33.7 million to capture first place for the fourth week in a row. That brings its total to a glittering $526.3 million.
In second place, Universal’s “Oppenheimer” earned $18.8 million for the weekend, bringing domestic ticket sales for Christopher Nolan’s look at the life of atomic bomb creator J. Robert Oppenheimer to $264.3 million domestically, an impressive figure for an R-rated drama. It now ranks as Nolan’s fourth-highest grossing stateside release, behind “Inception,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises” (all of which dealt with less weighty subjects).
Paramount Pictures’ “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” took third place, earning $15.7 million. The animated feature, which was produced by Nickelodeon Movies and Point Grey Productions, has a domestic total of $72.8 million after two weeks of release. “Meg 2: The Trench” dropped 60% from its $30 million opening weekend, to earn $12.7 million, for a fourth place finish. That brings the Warner Bros. adventure’s stateside haul to $54.5 million.
“The Last Voyage of the Demeter” cost $45 million to produce and ranks as another box office whiff for Amblin, Steven Spielberg’s production company, which has released recent commercial disappointments like “Easter Sunday” and “The Fabelmans” (the latter, at least, earned a boatload of Oscar nominations and positive reviews). The fate of “The Fabelmans” won’t be repeated by “The Last Voyage of the Demeter,” which suffered a paltry 27% approval rating from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences seemed to agree, with a Cinema Score survey of ticket buyers giving it a lackluster B- rating. All of this may add up to a stake through the heart of Dracula movies and reboots for the foreseeable future. The problem with movies about the undead, however, is that it’s awfully hard to kill them off.