Indiana Jones’ reign atop the box office was short-lived.
In its second weekend in theaters, the Disney release was usurped by another franchise fifth – “ Insidious: The Red Door .” The horror film starring and directed by Patrick Wilson scared up $32.7 million in ticket sales from 3,188 theaters, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
It did better than the last installment, “Insidious: The Last Key,” from 2018 and is the most any PG-13 horror movie has earned in its debut in the past two years.
“Insidious 5” was not well reviewed — but modestly budgeted scary movies are often critic-proof when it comes to the box office. This Blumhouse-produced franchise starring Wilson and Rose Byrne began in 2011 under the direction of James Wan and has been responsible for over $570 million in global box office returns — and none of the films have cost more than $16 million to produce. Only the first movie received a “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes; The “Insidious” films more often garner sub 40% scores.
"The horror genre seems to have a never-ending allure for audiences," said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. “Horror movies are profitable and they’re popular. Audiences love them and the accountants love them, too.”
It was shrewd of Sony to release “Insidious” on the weekend between two Hollywood tentpoles, in this case “ Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny ” and “ Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part I ,” which opens on Wednesday. But it was still a surprise that it was able to take No. 1 from something as well-known as “Indiana Jones.”
“It was a perfect release date,” Dergarabedian said. “This adds more complexity to the dynamics of the marketplace.”
“Indiana Jones 5” took second place in its second weekend with $26.5 million in North America (down 56% from its opening), bringing its domestic total to $121.2 million. Globally it's earned an estimated $247.9 million.
Indy had some other competition too, in “Sound of Freedom,” a child trafficking drama starring Jim Caveziel, that opened on July 4 and nearly boasted similar ticket sales for the day. “Sound of Freedom" was made and distributed by Angel Studios, a faith-based, crowdfunded operation, and managed to come in third place this weekend with an estimated $18.2 million from 2,850 theaters.
Brandon Purdie, head of theatrical distribution at Angel Studios, said in a statement that the numbers exceeded expectations and attributed its success to word of mouth.
“We’re deeply grateful to AMC, Cinemark, Regal, and all our theater partners — and their hard-working theater staff members — for working with us to accommodate the surging demand for this film and having the courage to release ‘Sound of Freedom’ during the busiest movie season of the year,” Purdie said.
Part of Angel Studios operation involved the ability to buy “pay it forward” tickets on behalf of others. On opening day, the studio estimated that $11.6 million came from direct box office and $2.7 million through the pay it forward option. The film has been popular among right-wing pundits too and has appeared on QAnon message boards.
“ Joy Ride ” also made its theatrical debut this weekend in 2,820 locations and earned an underwhelming $5.9 million to take sixth place behind “Elemental” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” The R-rated comedy directed and co-written by Adele Lim follows four friends on an international trip, played by Ashley Park, Sherry Cola, Stephanie Hsu and Sabrina Wu.
The modestly budgeted Lionsgate release got rave reviews out of the South by Southwest Film Festival and maintains a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but it didn’t motivate big crowds this weekend. Those that did go (58% women, 72% over age 25, according to PostTrak) gave it a B- CinemaScore, suggesting the movie did not meet expectations, which can sometimes be because of how the film was marketed. The hope is that word-of-mouth might help “Joy Ride" in the coming weeks.
“Joy Ride” is one of several raunchy, adult comedies in theaters this summer, including the Jennifer Lawrence movie “No Hard Feelings,” which earned $5.3 million in its third weekend, bringing its domestic total to $40.3 million.
In more limited release, “The Lesson,” a literary chamber thriller starring Richard E. Grant and Daryl McCormack, opened to $157,752 from 268 screens.
With the summer movie season at its midway point, there is concern about the overall box office, which is about on par with where it was at the same point in 2022.
“By now, we thought we’d be well ahead of last year,” Dergarabedian said. “But (movies like ‘Insidious’ and ‘Sound of Freedom) add more revenue to the bottom line that a lot of people didn’t expect. Sometimes surprises come along and that’s great for theaters.”
He added: “But we need the next few weeks to really overperform.”