Box office: Bullet Train is expected to open at $30 million

“I think I can, I think I can… be the best movie at the box office,” says Sony’s original action movie that could.

The Brad Pitt vehicleHigh speed train“must take no. 1 in the domestic charts. The film earned $12.6 million from 4,357 locations on Friday and is projecting a $30 million debut. That’s a solid showing for an original film with no franchise ties or multiverse shenanigans, but the film will need to continue running in August to recoup its $90 million production budget.

The film’s star-studded cast should help with that. Along with Pitt, the ensemble also includes names like Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Joey King, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Sandra Bullock and Benito A. Martinez Ocasio, aka Latin music superstar Bad Bunny.

“Bullet Train” is being seen as something of a test of the type of film audiences will flock to theaters for. The R-rated actioner will target older men, the most reliable demographic in terms of regular movie theater attendance since the easing of the COVID-19 lockdowns. However, with a marketing campaign that touts a colorful cast of characters instead of any notable intellectual property, “Bullet Train” isn’t a surefire hit.

“Bullet Train” earned a lukewarm response from critics, receiving a 41% approval rating from top critics on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. Diversity chief film critic Peter Debruge was mixed in the film, writing that he was “trying [its] the bravest to channel the likes of Tarantino and Ritchie, even if the dialogue and mock-British accents aren’t strong enough to merit such comparisons.”

Audiences are more receptive to “Bullet Train.” The film received a “B+” rating from research firm Cinema Score, indicating solid approval among moviegoers. With the August slate looking pretty thin in terms of high-profile releases, “Bullet Train” should be able to take advantage of a quiet theatrical landscape in the coming weeks.

Directed by former Pitt understudy David Leitch, who has since helmed action flicks like Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2, the film features the star as a hitman who accepts a simple mission aboard a high-speed train in Japan. However, he soon discovers that a group of assassins on board have conflicting missions.

Meanwhile, Universal’s “Easter Sunday,” the weekend’s other new wide release, didn’t make much of an impression in its debut.

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