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Sunday studio estimates say the Brad Pitt action romp “Bullet Train" arrived with a $30.1 million opening weekend as the last big movie of Hollywood’s summer recovery landed in theaters. The debut was solid but unspectacular for a movie that cost $90 million to make and was propelled by Pitt’s substantial star power. But even if it holds well in coming weeks, movie theaters have no major studio releases on the horizon for the rest of August, and few sure things to look forward to in early fall. The weekend’s other new wide release, “Easter Sunday,” struggled to catch on. It opened with $5.3 million.
This back-to-school shopping season, parents are focusing on the basics while also trading down to cheaper stores as surging inflation takes a toll on their household budgets. That is particularly true for parents in the low to middle income bracket. Last week, Walmart noted higher prices on gas and food are forcing shoppers to make fewer purchases of discretionary items, particularly clothing. Best Buy, the nation’s largest consumer electronics chain, cited that inflation has dampened consumer spending on gadgets. Such financial struggles amid the industry’s second-most important shopping season behind the winter holidays mark a big difference from a year ago when many low-income shoppers, flush with government stimulus and buoyed by wage increases, spent freely.