Gran Turismo has surprised insiders with a strong box office debut, netting roughly $17.3 million in its opening weekend and unseating Barbie as the highest grossing movie at the domestic box office.
Despite August generally being a time where studios ease up on releasing tentpole blockbusters, Columbia Pictures’ Gran Turismo seems to have taken the top spot at this weekend’s box office, unseating Barbie after five weeks of the Greta Gerwig comedy dominating the competition. It won’t be confirmed until Sunday night’s totals are reported (notably during National Cinema Day’s $4 ticket prices), but it seems like this is where we may be heading.
Strong word of mouth has led the way for Gran Turismo, including an ‘A’ grade from CinemaScore (which polls audience’s reactions directly out of the theater), a 7.3 rating on IMDb, and 98% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. This feels in line with normal reactions for blockbuster action releases like Gran Turismo, where audiences favor the movie much more than critics.
My favorite platform to gauge interest is obviously Letterboxd, where Gran Turismo currently sits at a 3.4 out of 5. Cinephiles over there tend to be more skeptical of releases like Gran Turismo, but it’s doing relatively well compared to other recent blockbusters like The Flash (2.8) and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (3.0).
This is a pro-Gran Turismo space, as I gave Neill Blomkamp’s latest movie a high approval rating when I reviewed it earlier this month. If all blockbusters were as viscerally intense and technically gifted as this, we’d be in a good space with popcorn movies. David Harbour is so much fun, and the movie frequently sheds its “video game adaptation” label.
This weekend’s total for Gran Turismo does technically include earlier previews from a few weeks back – where the movie was intended to premiere before being delayed a couple weeks in response to the SAG-AFTRA strike. Totals for that weekend were reported to be around $3.9 million, so take its final number as you see fit.
Barbie reportedly grossed roughly $15.7 million and officially passed The Super Mario Bros. Movie as the highest grossing movie in the United States for 2023. It’s total domestic amount is now sitting at around $594.9 million – an incredible accomplishment for Gerwig, Margot Robbie, and team.
I’ll be interested to see how these totals shift as we head into September, considering it’s a relatively subdued slate next month. The Equalizer 3, The Nun II, Saw X, or The Expend4bles will have to defy expectations in a big way to make an impact.