Death on the Nile Tops Rivals on a Distracted Weekend

Studios buy ad time during Super Bowl to push blockbusters
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 13, 2022 2:20 PM CST
On a Weak Weekend, Studios Turn Attention to Super Bowl
Gal Gadot in a scene from "Death on the Nile."   (20th Century Studios via AP)

Hollywood's Super Bowl weekend largely fizzled with the muted debut of Kenneth Branagh's long-delayed Agatha Christie whodunit, Death on the Nile, a tepid reception for the Jennifer Lopez romantic-comedy Marry Me, and modest box-office bumps for Oscar nominees. Death on the Nile, Branagh's follow-up to the 2017 hit Murder on the Orient Express, led all films with $12.8 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday. Produced under 20th Century Fox before its acquisition by the Walt Disney Co., the AP reports, Death on the Nile had been delayed by the pandemic.

Disney released Death on the Nile with reduced fanfare on a weekend the film industry often yields to football. The $90 million film, which stars Gal Gadot, Emma McKay, and Branagh, reprising his role as detective Hercule Poirot, once seemed a reliable money-maker. Murder on the Orient Express launched with $28.7 million and ended up grossing $352.8 million worldwide against a $55 million budget. Death on the Nile added $20.7 million in international receipts. Hollywood's biggest pitch over the weekend wasn't in theaters but in TV ads. Trailers for a lineup of blockbusters were set to roll out during the Super Bowl broadcast. Last year, when many theaters were shuttered and few films were being released, Hollywood largely sat out the game.

Here are estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

  1. Death on the Nile, $12.8 million
  2. Jackass Forever, $8.1 million
  3. Marry Me, $8 million
  4. Spider-Man: No Way Home, $7.2 million
  5. Blacklight, $3.6 million
  6. Sing 2, $3 million
  7. Moonfall, $2.9 million
  8. Scream, $2.8 million
  9. Licorice Pizza, $922,500
  10. The King's Man, $433,000
(Read more box office stories.)

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