Ticket office: opening weekend of A24’s “Fall” and “Bodies Bodies Bodies”

After a fairly successful summer season, it’s officially a heat wave at the national box office.

With no big studio movie on the horizon, theater operators are banking on a handful of smaller, low-budget horror stories, comedies and dramas to take advantage of the blockbuster lull. Basically, the next few weeks will cater to the rare ticket buyers who are dying to get back to the movies, but aren’t fans of comic book adventures or action tents.

This weekend will be particularly quiet with Lionsgate’s action thriller “Fall” and A24’s satirical slasher “Bodies Bodies Bodies” as the only domestic releases. According to tracking estimates, “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” which is expanding to 1,200 venues, is targeting $2 million to $3 million in domestic ticket sales. Meanwhile, “Fall,” which debuts in 1,548 North American theaters, is expected to gross between $1 million and $2 million between Friday and Sunday.

With these single-digit projections, last weekend’s champion “Bullet Train” is set to repeat No. 1 at the domestic box office. Sony Pictures’ gory pic, starring Brad Pitt as a hitman nicknamed Ladybug, opened to $30.1 million and is expected to add $13-15 million on its second outing. The R-rated “Bullet Train” cost $90 million to produce, so it needs to maintain its momentum in the coming weeks to justify its high price tag — and to convince studios to keep investing in original films.

Already, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” has kicked off in limited release with a promising $226,526 from six theaters in New York and Los Angeles. With strong word-of-mouth and positive reviews, Gen Z’s “Bodies Bodies” seems to rank above “Fall” on the national box office charts. However, it will likely arrive behind leftovers like “DC League of Super-Pets,” Jordan Peele’s UFO thriller “Nope,” and Marvel’s “Thor: Love and Thunder.”

“Bodies Bodies Bodies” features the lively cast of “The Hate U Give” Amandla Stenberg, “Shiva Baby” star Maria Bakalova, “Saturday Night Live” Rachel Sennott and Pete Davidson, and focuses on the rich 20 -a few planning a hurricane party at a remote family mansion that turns deadly.

There are plenty of options for moviegoers who want their palms to sweat. Directed by Scott Mann, “Fall” is an adrenaline-pumping thriller about best friends Becky and Hunter (Grace Caroline Currey and Virginia Gardner) who climb 2,000 feet to the top of an abandoned radio tower and find themselves stranded No Exit. Although the film received mixed reviews, VarietyChief Film Critic Owen Gleiberman called “Fall” a “fun, sometimes cheesy, but mostly ingenious thriller.”

“This is for anyone who’s eaten ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’, as well as the awesome climbing documentaries ‘Free Solo’ and ‘The Dawn Wall’, and wants to continue that vicariously chilling high,” said he wrote.

Several films will be released in limited release, including Diane Keaton’s body-swap comedy “Mack & Rita” from Gravitas Ventures, Bleecker Street’s coming-of-age drama “Summering,” the Aubrey-directed heist thriller Roadside Attractions’ Plaza “Emily the Criminal” and IFC Film’s “Rogue Agent” con man mystery.

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