Box Office Report: Logjam at Box Office Returns 'It' to Top Over New Cruise

Box Office Report: Logjam at Box Office Returns 'It' to Top Over New Cruise

Oct 02, 2017

ItHere's your estimated 3-day box office returns (new releases bolded):

1. It - $17.3 million ($291.1 million total)

2. American Made - $17.01 million ($17.01 million total)

3. Kingsman: The Golden Circle - $17.0 million ($66.7 million total)

4. The Lego Ninjago Movie - $12.0 million ($35.5 million total)

5. Flatliners - $6.7 million ($6.7 million total)

6. Battle of the Sexes - $3.4 million ($4.0 million total)

7. American Assassin - $3.3 million ($31.8 million total)

8. Home Again - $1.7 million ($25.1 million total)

9. Til Death Do Us Part - $1.5 million ($1.5 million total)

10. mother! - $1.4 million ($16.3 million total)

 

The Big Stories

By most traditional standards this weekend’s #1 film should have been an easy call. The biggest film of the fall season was already unseated last week and is now in its record-breaking fourth week. Last week’s unseater was destined to take a big dropoff and we had a new Tom Cruise film with very healthy critical support. But we are in the weird time. People haven’t gotten enough of Pennywise and the Kingsman (coming to NBC!). Has Cruise lost his touch at the box office or are people still feeling burned by The Mummy and listening to miscalculated assumptions about American Made?

 

It’s American Made, Not Made in America

Cruise’s last collaboration with Doug Liman, Edge of Tomorrow, also suffered some first weekend jitters. Despite it being the 9th best Cruise opening ever, the $28.7 million weekend of what Liman would now like called “Live, Die, Repeat” was still considered a disappointing number during the summer season. Even this year’s The Mummy opened to $31.6 million. The difference was that people began to discover Edge and while its $100.2 million domestic finish was hardly spectacular, it was a sign that word-of-mouth suggested people really liked it when they discovered it. The same could not be said about The Mummy, but could it still be about American Made?

A $17 million start puts it right between the openings of Jerry Maguire and A Few Good Men on the Cruise-o-meter. That sounds like a very comfortable place to be, except the ninth & tenth highest-grossing films of his career were December openings that grew and grew and played into Oscar season. American Made is being viewed as a “different” role for Cruise compared to the number of action-oriented Ethan Hunt/Jack Reacher films he’s been making this decade. As if playing a cocky thrill-seeker is somehow “different” considering that’s precisely the kind of role he built his career on.

Of the seven films since 1999 to open in September between $15.5-17 million, only one of them (Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole) managed to hit a 3x multiple, which would mean less than $50 million for American Made if word-of-mouth (and its 85% Rotten Tomatoes score) doesn’t convince people not to wait for home video. Even last year’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back made $58.6 million opening in October.

The last time you can find a Tom Cruise vehicle (forget Rock of Ages and Lions for Lambs) that didn’t gross $50 million, one has to go all the way back to 1986 with Ridley Scott’s Legend. However, to call this film a loser right now would be a mistake. It’s already grossed over $59 million internationally and probably will only need about another $45 million outside the U.S. for the $50 million production to break even. Then with Mission Impossible 6 hitting theaters next summer, people will have forgotten all about the bad headlines they are thinking up about his box office power this weekend.

 

So Many Obvious Medical Death Headlines

What can we say about Niels Arden Oplev’s remake of Flatliners? Other than it didn’t screen for critics and even bypassed Thursday night showings? Well it’s bad, real bad. Don’t believe me? Check out the 0% rating at Rotten Tomatoes by those brave enough to view it.

Joel Schumacher’s film (released by Sony in 1990) opened to $10 million, stayed in the Top Ten for nine weeks and ended up grossing over $61 million domestically. Oplev’s Flatliners opened to $6.7 million and should have closed on page four. It likely, though, has one more week in the Top Ten before it's pushed out for good to a total of possibly less than $15 million. Only $19 million was spent on the production (though even that barely shows) so it will not be a gigantic loss for the studio. Just audiences.

 

Tales of the Top Ten

As mentioned at the beginning, the battle for the #1 slot this weekend was a trifecta of possibilities. On Friday, It surpassed Gravity to become the highest-grossing film ever released in September or October. The Stephen King adaptation is now over $553 million worldwide and has just passed WB’s Dunkirk on that chart. Next up is WB’s Kong: Skull Island.

Fox’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle still has a bit of work to do as it needs about another $177 million before it can be considered a success. Matthew Vaughn’s sequel is still a few million ahead of the pace of The Maze Runner and The Equalizer, but is currently dropping faster and there is no guarantee it is going to reach $100 million domestic. As obscure stats go, it would be only the second film to open between $39-40 million to not reach nine digits. The other being another Fox sequel called Taken 2.

Four of the last five films released by Warner Bros., going back to Wonder Woman, have all cleared over $100 million in profit. Not just gross. Which is why The Lego Ninjago Movie has to register as a major disappointment for them. The film is headed right now for a final gross between $55-60 million, less than $100 million than The Lego Batman Movie made. Maybe even less than Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (also released by WB.) Though the reviews for Blade Runner 2049 have been stellar, no doubt they are sweating out how much they can get back on the $185 million production.

While Roadside has appeared to once again completely botch a release in David Gordon Green’s Stronger (now at just $3.1 million), Fox Searchlight can’t be too happy about Battle of the Sexes either. Not that they could have counted on the Gamergate crowd headed in droves to it but the 85%-approved film is frequently labeled as a crowd-pleaser in reviews. In its jump to over 1,200 theaters this weekend, it managed just $3.4 million in sales. Even the studio’s Amelia (remember that one with Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart?) opened to $3.9 million in just 820 theaters. Battle of the Sexes made $515,450 in 21 theaters last weekend.

Finally, Darren Aronofsky’s mother! managed to survive one more week in the Top Ten before headed for years of thinkpieces. It’s made just over $16 million. At the very least that could be more than the new Flatliners is going to CLEAR!


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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