It’s an impressive milestone in post-COVID times for an original movie that doesn’t involve marquee comic book heroes or intergalactic adventures. It helps, of course, that a bankable actor like Brad Pitt stars in the film, as a heavily therapized assassin named Ladybug.
On Friday, “Bullet Train” reached $101 million in domestic ticket sales, making it only the 14th release this year to hit that benchmark. With another $130 million at the international box office, the film has now earned $231 million in global ticket sales to date.
“Bullet Train” continues an encouraging box office streak for original movies. In North America, it’s not just the superheroes who are saving the day… and theaters. Director Baz Luhrmann’s musical biopic “Elvis” grossed $150 million, Jordan Peele’s sci-fi thriller “Nope” has earned $123 million, while the Blumhouse chiller “The Black Phone” and Sony’s literary adaptation “Where the Crawdads Sing” each have amassed $89 million — impressive tallies considering those films were all released in the height of summer blockbuster season.
In terms of newer offerings, “The Woman King” with Viola Davis ($41 million to date) and director Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling” ($27 million to date) have been posting better-than-expected ticket sales as well.
“Bullet Train” opened to $30 million in early August and held as the No. 1 movie in the country for two weeks in a row. Despite mixed reviews, the film remained in the top five on box office charts for seven weeks, benefiting from a month without too many high-profile new releases.
The R-rated “Bullet Train” didn’t come cheap, so it’s a good thing the movie managed to remain a big-screen draw throughout the fall. Sony spent $90 million to produce the film, plus the tens of millions to promote it.
David Leitch, best known for “Deadpool 2,” directed “Bullet Train,” which was adapted from Kōtarō Isaka’s Japanese novel “Maria Beetle.” Pitt stars as an assassin on the verge of retirement, who is tasked with collecting a briefcase on a bullet train. What he doesn’t initially realize is that there are other trained killers on board looking to accomplish a similar mission. Pitt co-stars with Joey King, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Shannon, Sandra Bullock and Benito A. Martínez Ocasio, better known as Bad Bunny.