Box Office: 'Killers of the Flower Moon' Opening Day Nabs $9.4 Million
Killers of the Flower Moon.Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio.Credit: Apple TV+

Box Office: ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Opening Day Nabs $9.4 Million

The flower moon is getting eclipsed by Taylor Swift. Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” earned $9.4 million from 3,628 theaters on its opening day, a figure that includes $2.6 million in Thursday previews. The epic-length historical drama is now projecting a finish of $23 million over the three-day opening frame, tracking behind the second weekend of Swift’s “Eras Tour” concert film.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” sports a colossal $200 million production budget, but it’s not like those behind the feature are banking on a hefty profit from tickets. Apple, which backed the project, is planning to invest in theatrical runs for its original slate as a means to promote their eventual streaming releases. “Flower Moon” is the first high-profile rodeo in movie theaters for the company, which has partnered with Paramount Pictures to handle domestic distribution. Apple will take another stab at theatrical later this fall with “Napoleon,” partnering with Sony for Ridley Scott’s similarly mega-budgeted war feature.

For what it’s worth, “Flower Moon” is tracking ahead of the opening for Scorsese’s last Leonardo DiCaprio collaboration “The Wolf of Wall Street.” That sprawling comedy debuted with $18 million in late December, but rode the holiday season and awards buzz to a $116 million finish in North America. “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which has drawn some of the strongest reviews of the year, is hoping for its own sustained run in the weeks ahead. A positive A- grade through research firm Cinema Score shows that initial audiences are happy to go along for the ride. Even more striking is the film’s initial draw with younger audiences — 46% of opening night moviegoers were under the age of 35.

Starring DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Lily Gladstone, “Killers of the Flower Moon” shifts the procedural structure of David Grann’s novel of the same name, following the racist conspirators that murdered members of the Osage nation after oil was discovered on their land.

Speaking of afternoon-length epics from talents at the peak of their powers, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” is projected to retain its No. 1 spot on domestic charts after earning $10.4 million on Friday, down roughly 72% from its opening day last week. Fan-centric event releases like “The Eras Tour” can face a sharp tumble in their sophomore outings, with target audiences often prioritizing a first weekend outing.

Swift should still have little trouble staying on top this weekend, even with “Flower Moon” taking over premium-large format auditoriums. After exiting theaters on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the concert documentary returned on Thursday and has now exceeded a $100 million domestic gross — a benchmark that only 18 other wide releases have achieved this year.

Universal’s “The Exorcist: Believer” is summoning bronze, projecting $5.1 million in its third weekend. The legacy sequel will pass a $50 million domestic gross on Saturday — an underwhelming figure considering that Universal spent $400 million on rights to produce a new trilogy in the horror franchise.

Paramount is also taking the fourth spot with “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” digging up $5 million in its fourth weekend. With $50 million in North America, the animated feature has held strongly since its debut; there’s little competition for family audiences in the market right now.

For more evidence of how barren the fall slate has been, a re-release of Henry Selick’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is likely to round out the top five after earning $1.4 million on Friday.