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Epic 'Killers of the Flower Moon' flops at the box office

Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Killers of the Flower Moon'

Despite its potentially promising box office takings in its first week in theaters, Apple TV+ movie "Killers of the Flower Moon" dropped 61% in its second weekend.

"Killers" by director/co-writer Martin Scorsese and writer Eric Roth is an epic 3.5-hour movie that was so expensive to make that Paramount couldn't afford it until Apple TV+ stepped in. In the first week of its theatrical release, it came second at the box office, beaten only by Taylor Swift's "Eras Tour."

That opening weekend, usually the most crucial time for any new film, saw it take in only $23 million domestically, though. At the time, Variety said that the lower than normal figure was less of a concern in this case, since the theatrical release was seen as a launch for the later streaming on Apple TV+.

However, once a film has had its opening weekend, the next test is how much less money it takes in its second one. There is almost always a drop off, and it can often be marked, but Variety says "Killers" dropped by 61%.

That means it took in only around $14 million. There are still overseas sales, and the film has yet to open in some territories, but earnings do not go back up after the initial opening. Unless, that is, "Killers" gets strong Oscar nominations or a Best Picture win, in which case it's likely Apple will re-release the movie theatrically and it may perform better.

The fact that "Killers" took in less than expected at first, and then dropped 61%, though, is not unusual. This summer's "Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning - Part One" dropped 64% in its second weekend, from almost $55 million down to $19.5 million.

Apple has not commented on the box office figures. It's also not yet set a streaming date for the film to debut on Apple TV+.