Disney has kept Kenneth Branagh’s 20th Century Studios Hercule Poirot franchise going following its inception at Fox with 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express, but recent installments have yet to reach that first pic’s box office heights.
The latest Branagh adaption of an Agatha Christie tome, A Haunting in Venice, looks to make around $12 million this weekend and could possibly push Nun 2 out of No. 1 in its second weekend, that is if the Conjuring spinoff sequel falls worse than 60%. But that $12M is still far from the surprising $28.6M opening weekend from Orient Express , which wound up being an adult holiday sleeper with $102.8M.
A Haunting in Venice‘s start isn’t expected to be far from its previous chapter, Death on the Nile, which opened in early February 2022 to $12.8M at a time when its older core demo was still concerned about Covid. A Haunting in Venice, based on the 1969 Christie novel Hallowe’en Party, still looks to attract that same 45-plus demo, largely women.
Upside for A Haunting in Venice: It’s the best reviewed of Branagh’s feature adaptations of Christie at 80% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. That provides hope in convincing its adult moviegoers who read reviews to go. Both Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile were 61% with critics.
Also, A Haunting in Venice cost a reported $60M versus Death on the Nile‘s $100M before P&A; that pic faltered with a domestic take of $45.6M and global of $137.3M.
Downside: A Haunting in Venice doesn’t really have a shiny cast like its predecessors: Murder featured a murderers’ row that included Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Judi Dench, Penélope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer and Willem Dafoe. Death on the Nile had Gal Gadot, Annette Bening and a post-scandal Armie Hammer. However, outside Branagh, Haunting only boasts Tina Fey and Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh.
There’s a special Imax and PLF presentation of A Haunting in Venice tonight before previews Thursday which start at 6 p.m.. The pic is booked in 3,200 theaters and of course will keep those Imax and PLFs through the weekend.