‘Bullet Train’ shakes off middling reviews to over-perform at the box office

bullet train
via Sony

Under normal circumstances, an action-packed blockbuster from the director of Deadpool 2 and Hobbs & Shaw that stars Brad Pitt in the lead role would be a slam dunk to find box office success, but Bullet Train arrives at a strange time for the theatrical industry.

Sure, it’s got a high concept and plenty of star power, but the overwhelming majority of releases to hit seriously big since the pandemic first brought the industry to its knees have come bearing a recognizable IP and a PG-13 rating. With that in mind, it’s good news to report that Bullet Train is currently performing above expectations, and could even clear $30 million for the weekend.

An adult-skewing original film that doesn’t have any ties to well-known properties and has suffered from middling reviews (Bullet Train currently sits on a 54 percent Rotten Tomatoes score) made Leitch’s latest a somewhat risky proposition, especially when Sony doesn’t have a huge amount of marketable brands at its disposal.

Thankfully, A-list names and the promise of hard-hitting set pieces packed with plenty of witty asides and irreverent asides has enticed audiences to the theater in their numbers, and with a budget said to be hovering around the $90 million range, a decent overseas performance should be able to push Bullet Train into the black fairly comfortably.

Will it be enough to generate sequels? Perhaps not, but that doesn’t mean Leitch, Pitt, and the rest of the team can’t celebrate a successful first frame, with Bullet Train likely to be the last big hit of the summer before fall season kicks into full gear.