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Which movies are in a close weekend race at the box office as moviegoing slows post-summer?

Box Office: ‘Haunting in Venice,’ ‘Nun II’ in Close Weekend Race as Moviegoing Slows Post-Summer

As the summer movie season comes to an end, the box office is seeing a slowdown in moviegoing. However, there are still some new releases that are in a close race for the weekend crown.

One of the contenders is 20th Century Studios’ “A Haunting in Venice,” which is the third installment in Kenneth Branagh’s Agatha Christie-inspired movie series. According to Friday business, both “A Haunting in Venice” and New Line Cinema’s “The Nun II” are looking at a gross in the range of $13.5 million to $14.5 million. Most rival studios predict that “A Haunting in Venice” will prevail.

While “A Haunting in Venice” is opening in line with expectations, it’s still a muted start for the movie. It’s not far ahead of the last film in the series, “Death on the Nile,” which opened to $12.8 million in February 2022. This is understandable considering that the box office was still in recovery mode at that time, and “Death on the Nile” had to contend with negative publicity surrounding star Armie Hammer. “Death on the Nile” eventually topped out at $137.3 million globally.

The budget for “A Haunting in Venice” was kept at $60 million to $70 million, and the movie has received notably better reviews compared to its predecessor. In 2017, Branagh’s “Murder on the Orient Express” turned into a sleeper hit, earning over $350 million worldwide after opening to $28.6 million domestically. All three films in the series have received a B CinemaScore.

In addition to directing, Branagh reprises his role as the iconic detective Hercule Poirot in “A Haunting in Venice.” The ensemble cast includes Camille Cottin, Michelle Yeoh, Tina Fey, Jamie Dornan, Jude Hill, Kyle Allen, and Riccardo Scamarcio. However, like other recent movies, “A Haunting in Venice” had to make its final publicity push without the help of its cast due to the ongoing actors strike.

Another new release this weekend is “Dumb Money,” directed by Craig Gillespie. The film explores the 2021 GameStop stock phenomenon fueled by individual investors driven by social media. Originally intended for a nationwide release on September 22, Sony decided to slow down the rollout because of the strike and the inability of actors to promote the film. “Dumb Money” stars Paul Dano and Pete Davidson, with America Ferrera, Seth Rogen, Shailene Woodley, and Anthony Ramos co-starring.

Overall, moviegoing is slowing down after the summer rush, but there are still some films making an impact at the box office. Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” remains in the top 5 as it approaches the $630 million mark domestically. Additionally, Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” is set to finish the weekend with a global total of $912 million, making it the top-grossing biopic ever at the box office, surpassing “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Keep an eye out for the updated numbers on Sunday morning to see which film comes out on top for the weekend box office crown.