Box Office Report: 'Madea' Nearly Outgrosses All Other New Releases in Week of Disappointments

Box Office Report: 'Madea' Nearly Outgrosses All Other New Releases in Week of Disappointments

Oct 23, 2017

Boo 2! A Madea HalloweenHere's your estimated 3-day box office returns (new releases bolded):

1. Tyler Perry’s Boo 2!: A Madea Halloween - $21.6 million ($21.6 million total)

2. Geostorm - $13.3 million ($13.3 million total)

3. Happy Death Day - $9.3 million ($40.6 million total)

4. Blade Runner 2049 - $7.1 million ($74.0 million total)

5. Only the Brave - $6.0 million ($6.0 million total)

6. The Foreigner - $5.4 million ($22.8 million total)

7. It - $3.5 million ($320.3 million total)

8. The Snowman - $3.4 million ($3.4 million total)

9. American Made - $3.1 million ($45.5 million total)

10. Kingsman: The Golden Circle - $3.0 million ($94.5 million total)

 

The Big Stories

In a topsy-turvy world, one thing you can normally count on is for the box office to play out just like everyone expects. While that musters up quite a few questions and a few more tears as to what moviegoers are actually spending their money on, it can work the other way too watching what they reject.

There are virtually no surprises with this week’s numbers. Even the tracking companies can chalk up a rare victory with the predictability on display, beginning with the continued realization that as long as Tyler Perry puts on a dress, his movies will still make money.

 

Guess We Have To Take The Trick Then?

The Tyler Perry brand was on its way out. In 2012, Good Deeds cosat an estimated $32 million (including P&A) and grossed just under $36 million worldwide. (You can never count on international dollars for his films.) The following year, Temptation did a bit better with with about $53 million, but with a total budget of $37 million (again, including P&A) the profit margin was in the red. In 2014, when The Single Mom’s Club grossed a pitiful $16 million total, it looked like Lionsgate may have been out of the Tyler Perry business. Then last year, Boo!: A Madea Halloween came along. It opened to $28.5 millon, the fourth best opening of his career and grossed nearly $75 million total; his second best. The sequel was likely greenlit the moment the first weekend estimates came in.

That bring us to a year later. Critics are rarely allowed to see Perry’s films before they are released and he has never received a positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes for a film he’s directed. Boo 2!: A Madea Halloween has only had 12 reviews posted as of this writing at the site and at 8% approval, it's the lowest number he’s seen to date. The 15% for Temptation was his previous low. However, Boo 2! gives Mr. Perry the eigth best opening of his directorial career with $21.6 million (though that could dip to as far as 11th by Monday) and his 11th film (out of 17) to start with over $20 million.

Perry’s final grosses are a different story, though, as his true fans show up on opening weekend and then they die out pretty quickly. Of the 10 films not to feature the Madea character in any prominent role, the average multiple from opening to final gross is a mere 2.24. With Madea it jumps to still only 2.45. Last year’s Boo had a 2.56 and given the smaller start there is a possibility it could match that, so we’ll start its first estimate between $48-53 million. But even with conservative estimates on additional P&A, it will need at least another $25 million to turn a profit. So maybe its time to move on…again?

 

Idiotstellar or Dumbageddon?

Warner Bros. has been trying to move on from Dean Devlin’s Geostorm for a few years now. Filmed in 2014 and poorly test screened in 2015, the release date was moved from March 2016 to allow for an additional $15 million in reshoots. The release then shifted from October 2016 to January 2017 and finally to this October weekend for a $12.2 million start and a 13% at Rotten Tomatoes.

The best way to put this in perspective is in relation to its budget. At a reported $120 million production (including the reshoots) the film will conservatively need $360 million to break even. Now here are the 20 worst opening weekends for films that have cost $120 million or higher to make:

Mars Needs Moms ($6.9), How Do You Know ($7.4), 47 Ronin ($9.9), The 13th Warrior ($10.26), Assassin’s Creed ($10.27), Monster Trucks ($10.9), Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within ($11.4), Treasure Planet ($12.0), The Island ($12.4), R.I.P.D. ($12.6), Stealth ($13.2), Geostorm ($13.3), Alexander ($13.6), Gods of Egypt ($14.1), Australia ($14.8), Stuart Little 2 ($15.11), King Arthur ($15.19), Pan ($15.31), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword ($15.37), Speed 2: Cruise Control ($16.1), Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets ($17.0).

Warner Bros. clearly didn’t take a note from the failure of the 2004 King Arthur effort, did it? Even more interesting is that six of the films on that list have been released since October 2016 and half of those by WB. With Blade Runner 2049 just kind of hanging on for dear life at this point, still needing over $328 million to break even, the studio at least still has It in the Top Ten to remind them of happier times just a month ago when they had three straight films with over $100 million in profit.

Blade Runner 2049 and Geostorm alone currently have wiped out the efforts of It, Annabelle: Creation and Dunkirk.  Their King Arthur film made Wonder Woman a wash and The Lego Ninjago Movie have sucked up the cash on The Lego Batman Movie, Everything Everything and Kong: Skull Island.

 

Tales of the Top Ten

Geostorm actually was not the worst-reviewed film of the weekend. That honor belongs to Universal’s The Snowman which kept dropping and dropping until it hit 9%; the third-worst reviewed wide release of the year (according to RT) ahead of just The Emoji Movie and Rings. The $3.4 million start for the $35 million production joins a list of Universal openings since 2010 released in over 2,000 theaters that have began with less than $5 million, including Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping ($4.6) MacGruber ($4.0), Blackhat ($3.9), Jem and the Holograms ($1.3). At least the studio can point to the success of Happy Death Day, which took a 63% drop but with just a $4.8 million budget is headed towards a healthy profit. Their American Made still needs about $28 million before they can claim victory on it too.

The best reviewed movie of the week was Sony’s Only the Brave. The true story of the Yarnell Hill Fire managed an 89% at Rotten Tomatoes but only $6 million at the box office. After a successful back half of the summer with Baby Driver, Spider-Man: Homecoming and (yes) The Emoji Movie, Sony appears to have hit a wall as well with The Dark Tower, Flatliners and now this.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle has gotten into the black for Fox this week thanks to over $250 million made overseas but has watched The Mountain Between Us fall off the Top Ten list after just two weeks. Next up for them is Kenneth Branagh’s version of Murder on the Orient Express opening on Nov. 10, in between Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League.


- Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on WGN Radio with Nick Digilio as well as on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[Box office figures via Box Office Mojo.]

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