N. America box office hits a low point for the year

The North American box office hit a 2023 low this weekend, with the top film “The Nun II” estimated to take in a paltry $8.4 million, industry watchers said Sunday.

“The numbers are not good,” said David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research, describing an entire month of poor results.

He said the months-long strikes by Hollywood screenwriters and actors — reportedly at a key point Sunday — “cannot end soon enough.”

The strikes have prevented stars from promoting upcoming films.

This weekend’s top five films had a combined take of roughly $31 million — less than “Barbie” alone earned in its fourth weekend out.

Warner Bros.’ “The Nun II,” starring Taissa Farmiga in a tale of Gothic horror and possession, has led the box office for the past few weeks, despite posting tepid numbers.

Nearly tying it this weekend was the new action film “Expend4bles,” at an estimated $8.3 million for the Friday-through-Sunday period, Exhibitor Relations reported.

The Lionsgate movie, the fourth in a series, has a veteran team of Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, and Dolph Lundgren — joined by franchise newcomers including Megan Fox, 50 Cent, and Andy Garcia — heading to Libya to try to prevent a mercenary from stealing nuclear warheads.

In third place, down one spot from last weekend, was 20th Century’s “A Haunting in Venice,” Kenneth Branagh’s latest Agatha Christie-inspired film, at $6.3 million. Branagh again plays legendary Belgian detective Hercules Poirot.

The fourth spot went to Sony’s “The Equalizer 3,” at $4.7 million. Denzel Washington plays a retired US Marine and drug-enforcement agent taking on beaucoup bad guys.

And holding on in fifth — in its 10th weekend out — was Warner Bros. blockbuster “Barbie,” at $3.2 million. The Greta Gerwig paean to Pinkness has now taken in $630.5 million domestically and an additional $797 million internationally.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” ($3 million)

“It Lives Inside” ($2.6 million)

“Dumb Money” ($2.5 million)

“Blue Beetle” ($1.8 million)

“Oppenheimer” ($1.6 million)