Branagh’s “Murder on the Orient Express” was a significant reminder that opening weekends aren’t everything. The classic whodunit tale grossed a modest $28.6 million in its debut, but between a decent hold at the domestic box office and strong performance overseas, it ultimately grossed $352.7 million worldwide against a production budget of $55 million — an outstanding success. Less than three weeks after “Murder on the Orient Express” hit theaters, Fox had already greenlit the sequel, “Death on the Nile.”
In an apparent bout of over-confidence after the success of the first movie, “Death on the Nile” was given a budget boost to $100 million and featured a star-studded cast that included Armie Hammer and Gal Gadot. Unfortunately for Poirot’s second investigation, both of those actors may have been more of a curse than a boon. Beginning in January 2021, Hammer faced allegations of sexual assault and coercion from multiple women and by February 2022 — the month “Death on the Nile” released — he was the main suspect in an investigation by the LAPD.
Meanwhile, on a less serious note, Gadot’s awkward delivery of the line, “…enough champagne to fill the Nile!” in the movie’s trailer became the subject of mockery. Between that, the Hammer scandal, the mixed reviews, and a reluctance from older audiences to return to theaters amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, “Death on the Nile” bombed with a total global take of $137.3 million.