Universal is making some modest waves to start off the 2024 box office, with the studio’s release of Blumhouse Productions’ new horror film “Night Swim” looking to land in second place in its opening. The PG-13 shocker earned $5.2 million across its opening day and preview screenings and is now projected to earn about $12.5 million across the three-day frame.
It’s a solid dive-in for “Night Swim,” which is hardly putting producers in the financial deep end at only a $15 million price tag before marketing. The mostly-horror banner Blumhouse, which officially merged with Atomic Monster this week, smashed expectations a year ago when the killer doll movie “M3GAN” earned $30 million in the first weekend of the year. Studios are wont to sneak a horror programmer in at the top of the calendar and, while “Night Swim” isn’t exactly a peak performer across recent examples, it demonstrates why the early-calendar strategy continues to work. There isn’t another scary movie option on the books until “Imaginary” in March.
“Night Swim” follows a family that discovers their backyard swimming pool has some supernatural qualities. Bryce McGuire writes and directs, while Wyatt Russell and Kerry Condon star. Reviews have been negative and early audiences are just as unimpressed, turning in a “C” grade through research firm Cinema Score. But that type of reception happens a lot with horror movies.
“Night Swim” won’t be able to overcome “Wonka” though, which earned another $4.3 million on Friday, per rivals — down just 51% from its figure a week ago. Warner Bros.’ sugar rush musical has now surpassed a $150 million domestic tally and will more than quadruple its $39 million opening by the end of the weekend. It’s a triumphant result for the Timothée Chalamet vehicle, which looks to stick around throughout January.
Universal is also taking third place with “Migration,” which is seeing another weekend of $10.5 million to push its domestic tally to slightly over $78 million. The Illumination production got off to a slow start over the holidays, but it’s kept gliding along in the weeks since.
In fourth, Warner Bros.’ “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” will soon cross $100 million in North America, if not by the end of its third weekend then shortly after. The newest and final entry in the current continuity of DC Comics adaptations added about $3 million on Friday, per rivals — down 56% from last week. It’ll eventually pass the $108 million domestic total of “The Flash” to become the highest-grossing DC Comics film of 2023. But it’s still miles behinds its 2018 predecessor, which had bagged an impressive $260 million from North American theaters after 17 days of release.
Sony’s “Anyone but You” looks to round out the top five. Rather remarkably, ticket sales for the romantic comedy are expected to increase from its $8.7 million haul last weekend — a rare uptick that’s even more impressive considering that its previous outing had some momentum from the holiday season. The Sydney Sweeney-Glen Powell two-hander is eyeing about $9.5 million to push its domestic total north of $43 million. These are hardly blockbuster numbers, but it shows signs of life for a film that was — much like its genre — likely written off too quickly after a soft theatrical debut.