6TH Writethru, Sunday AM after Saturday 1o:15 PM post: Say what you will about Halloween’s impact on the box office, but history has shown that there’s typically a movie that benefits from the holiday, and this weekend that title is Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween. The old lady is giving the distributor its first No. 1 second weekend hold of the year with an estimated $16.67M, dousing Sony’s Dan Brown threequel Inferno into second place with a revised opening of $15M; some rivals believe the Tom Hanks movie could dwindle to $14M. As we mentioned previously, overseas has been a boom for Inferno with global at $150M, but stateside this $75M production was a complete bust.
Despite Inferno getting scorched, overall weekend ticket sales at $87M were +16% from last year. Still, it’s the lowest-grossing weekend to date this year, following Sept. 16-18 when Blair Witch, Bridget Jones’s Baby and Snowden crashed. 2016 total domestic B.O. is at $9.2B, pacing 3.4% ahead of the same Jan. 1-Oct. 30 period last year.
Boo! saw an estimated $7.8M on Saturday, a 70% spike over yesterday, while Inferno was up 2% from its Friday ticket sales of $5.5M. We detailed what went wrong with Inferno stateside in our previous post; essentially peg it to Brown’s once controversial, riveting property gone formula, and critics smelled blood from the onset giving the Ron Howard-directed movie a 20% Rotten Tomatoes score. Sony had their concerns about the seven-year lag between Angels & Demons and Inferno; that time could potentially be against them with this adult-skewing series. But the Brown movies have been very rich for the Culver City lot, reaping $1.2B, and if there was money to be made, it was certainly overseas. So, instead of making a movie with the $150M cost of Angels & Demons, Sony slashed the budget on Inferno by 50%.
Even though CinemaScore showed the same number of under 25 folk (37%) for Boo! as Perry’s previous A Madea Christmas, sources have remarked how this latest comedy appealed to a younger crowd. ComScore’s PostTrak showed an under 25 set of 43% this weekend. In addition, Boo is playing to a more general audience. Typically, Perry’s movies count an African American audience share between 80%-90%, but Boo! pulled in 50% of the demo in its first weekend, and 38% this weekend. Boo‘s second weekend is currently looking to be -41%, which is a record sophomore hold for a Madea movie. Typically Madea pics decline between -58% and -61% in their second weekend. By Sunday, Boo‘s 1o-day cume should be near $52.1M, just $400K shy of overtaking the domestic run of A Madea Christmas ($52.5M). All of this spells great news for Lionsgate which has seen way too many mega-misfires this year including Gods of Egypt, Allegiant and Blair Witch.
We can’t ignore the fact that Inferno represents the fourth back-to-back stateside bomb for director Ron Howard (though Sony is declaring that the movie is the must-see title of the fall at the foreign B.O.) following last December’s In the Heart Of The Sea ($100M cost, $25M domestic, $93.9M global), Rush ($38M cost, $26.9M, $90.2M), and The Dilemma ($70M cost, $48.5M, $69.7M). It’s typically at this juncture that the media loves exclaiming that the filmmaker has lost touch with his moviegoers. The fact is that Howard doesn’t shy from ambitious material (c’mon, a two-hander play Frost Nixon on the big screen?), and his last four titles have come with their own set of challenges. Despite having the then-comedic star power of Kevin James and Vince Vaughn, Dilemma was more of a dramedy dealing with an off-putting subject of infidelity. Plus that gay slur in the trailer didn’t help much for its publicity. Howard’s Rush was a race car movie and that genre has zero B.O. traction. In the Heart of the Sea was a tough novel to bring to the screen, content wise, with its clipper ship crew cannibalism, plus shooting on the water pushed its production cost higher. True, we’re accustomed to such Howard hits like the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13, but B.O. history has shown that he’s continually resilient in the face of disasters like EDtv and Missing, not to mention studios love working with him. Like Howard’s late mentor Garry Marshall, he’s a genuinely nice guy.
What Inferno might mean for Howard – and he went through this in making Rush – is that he’ll have to rely more on financing outside the studio system, particularly on any dream niche projects. Inferno‘s misfire isn’t getting Howard down: he’s already looking to mount an indie production about Zelda Fitzgerald with Jennifer Lawrence. Howard’s other title announced a year ago, the feature adaptation of J.P. Delaney’s The Girl Before, remains in development at Universal.
While most adult-demo thrillers like The Accountant and The Girl on the Train held up percent wise, Paramount/Skydance’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back took a tumble with -58% (possibly even -60% according to other studios). That’s the biggest drop for a Tom Cruise movie since his 2007 drama disaster Lions for Lambs which fell -57% in its second weekend. Jack Reacher 2 is lagging behind Jack Reacher‘s 10-day cume of $44.1M by 10%.
After notching the year’s best opening theater average of $100K, A24’s Moonlight in its second go-round saw the weekend’s best theater average of $25K. Brian Brooks has further analysis on the Specialty side.
Top 11 films per studio-reported figures for the weekend of Oct. 28-30:
1). Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween (LG), 2,299 theaters (+39) / $4.6M Fri. /$7.8M Sat./$4.3M Sun/3-day cume: $16.7M (-41%)/Total B.O.: $52M/ Wk 2
2). Inferno (SONY), 3,576 theaters / $5.6M Fri. (includes $800K previews)/$5.7M Sat./$3.6M Sun./3-day cume: $15M /Wk 1
3). Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (PAR), 3,780 theaters / $2.9M Fri. /$4.2M Sat./$2.45M Sun. /3-day cume: $9.55M (-58%)/Total B.O.: $39.67M/Wk 2
4). The Accountant (WB), 3,402 theaters (+70) / $2.5M Fri. /$3.7M Sat./$2.2M Sun/3-day cume: $8.47M (-38%)/Total: $61.3M/ Wk 3
5). Ouija: Origin of Evil (UNI), 3,168 theaters (+1)/ $2.2M Fri. /$3.3M Sat./$1.6M Sun./3-day cume: $7.1M (-50%)/Total:$24.6M/Wk 2
6). The Girl on the Train (UNI/DW), 2,758 theaters (-333) / $1.3M Fri. /$1.8M Sat. /$1.1M Sun./3-day cume: $4.2M (-40%)/Total: $65.9M/ Wk 4
7). Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (FOX), 2,797 theaters (-336) / $1M Fri./$1.8M Sat./$1.1M Sun/ 3-day cume: $3.9M (-33%)/Total: $79.87M/Wk 5
8). Keeping Up With the Joneses (FOX), 3,022 theaters / $1M Fri. /$1.4M Sat./$880K Sun/3-day cume: $3.3M (-38%)/Total: $10.7M/ Wk 2
9). Storks (WB), 1,901 theaters (-244) / $665K Fri. /$1.2M Sat./$835K Sun./3-day cume: $2.78M(-30%) /Total: $68.2M/ Wk 6
10). Ai Dil Hai Mushkil (FIP), 302 theaters / $760k Fri. /$825K Sat./$550K Sun/3-day cume: $2.135M /Wk 1
11). Deepwater Horizon (LG), 2,054 theaters (-774) / $638K Fri. /$954K Sat./$508K Sun./ 3-day cume: $2.1M (-38%)/Total: $58.36M/ Wk 5
Moonlight (A24), 36 theaters (+32) / $278K Fri. /$321K Sat./$302K Sun./PTA: $25k / 3-day cume: $901k (+124%)/Total: $1.47M/ Wk 2
I’m Not Ashamed (PURE), 516 theaters (+11) / $127k Fri./ $182K Sat./$131k Sun./3-day cume: $440k (-53%)/Total: $1.6M Wk 2
4TH WRITETHRU, Saturday 7:27 AM: Inferno Up in Flames at Domestic B.O.; Looks for Redemption Overseas No amount of prayers and candle lighting will save Sony Pictures’ Inferno from eternal damnation at the domestic box office. The $75 million-budgeted production is crashing toward an estimated three-day No. 1 opening of $15.5M after a $5.6M Friday (that includes $800K previews).
At the present time, Inferno‘s FSS is -66% from its previous installment, 2009’s Angels & Demons ($46.2M), which was -40% off from 2006’s Da Vinci Code‘s $77M opening. The Da Vinci Code continues to stand as a record opening for both director Ron Howard and leading man Tom Hanks’s live-action features. In fact, things are so bad for Inferno right now, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween post a fantastic Saturday night and steal away the No. 1 crown. Should that occur, it would be a huge feat for Madea beating Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks at the box office in back-to-back weekends. Current projected second weekend for Boo! is $15M, with a nice -47% hold. By Sunday, A Madea Halloween will be $2.2M away from overtaking her last movie A Madea Christmas.
It doesn’t help that Inferno is following in the wake of a slew of other solid-grossing adult thrillers at the B.O.: Girl On The Train ($65.9M), The Accountant ($61M), and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back ($39.5M). The only saving grace that was bestowed on Inferno was that the pic earned the same CinemaScore as its two previous Dan Brown installments: a B+.
Given the author’s global fandom with 200M-plus books sold worldwide, Sony was wise to debut Inferno abroad first before hitting the U.S. When it comes to Hollywood tentpoles, foreign audiences are less severe in their reception, and by launching in the U.S. after several offshore markets, it prevented a global pandemic of bad buzz. By Sunday, the fifth collaboration between Howard and Hanks will count a foreign cume of $150M, which includes a solid China opening of $14M.
Inferno is in better shape than Howard’s previous title, the $100M-plus budgeted disaster In The Heart Of The Sea ($93.9M). But with this type of start in the U.S., it’s unlikely that Inferno will break even. Counting an estimated global P&A between $70M-$80M, total theatrical expenses for Inferno stand at $155M. Inferno burns Howard’s box office track record more than Hanks’ as it reps the director’s fourth back-to-back misfire after Heart Of The Sea ($25M domestic, $93.9M global), Rush ($26.9M, $90.2M), and The Dilemma ($48.5M, $69.7M). Fifty-six percent of those moviegoers who showed up Friday night cited Hanks as their reason for going, whereas 49% were fans of the book.
Why did Sony make Inferno? Business-wise, they were looking to extend their Robert Langdon adult franchise which brought them $1.2B at the worldwide B.O. from two movies. The 2013 book topped that year’s book sales, held the No. 1 spot on the New York Times hardcover list for 11 weeks, and supposedly sold 6M copies — a far cry from Da Vinci Code‘s 80M. Howard opted to skip directing the big-screen version of Brown’s 2009 novel The Lost Symbol, but boarded Inferno instead.
The biggest problem with Inferno is that it’s part of a franchise that has grown horribly stale. More specifically, when it comes to the European-trotting high jinks of Robert Langdon, Da Vinci Code is an impossible act to follow. The first people to show up for a bestseller on the big screen are the hard-core readers, and Inferno received mixed book reviews, which also doesn’t assist in the movie’s start this weekend.
When Da Vinci Code first hit bookstore shelves 13 years ago, it was a controversial global bestseller, with the riveting tenet in the thriller that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene married and had children. It was a plot that Harvard professor Langdon uncovered. The book and film also lifted the veil on Catholic Church secret society Opus Dei.
The stakes have been diluted in Inferno: Langdon is (yawn) trying to prevent a viral outbreak while decoding Dante’s Inferno as he’s pursued by adversaries throughout Florence, Italy and Istanbul, Turkey.
Before Da Vinci Code even opened in theaters, Sony was benefiting from a huge build-up in moviegoers’ interest around the globe. Vatican officials denounced The Da Vinci Code and urged a boycott. The Greek Orthodox Church called Code false. Opus Dei and the Catholic League demanded Sony add a disclaimer in the film’s opening credits noting the pic was based on fiction (which the studio didn’t do). In an effort to ward off a Last Temptation Of Christ P.R. nightmare before the pic opened, Sony hired a slew of consultants including Allan Mayer of crisis P.R. firm Sitrick & Co. (which also worked on Steven Spielberg’s Munich), faith-based Grace Hill Media to focus on Christian crowds, as well as theology professors from Notre Dame, Princeton, and the Harvard Divinity School. The Vatican screened the doc The Da Vinci Code: A Masterful Deception before the Howard pic opened at the Cannes Film Festival. Sony held off press screenings to the last possible minute to quell any bad word of mouth that would spring up. This perfect storm fueled Da Vinci Code to 2006’s then-best domestic opening with $77M and final domestic cume of $217.5M, and a global tally of $758.2M.
Going into this weekend, distributors told us that Halloween falling on a Monday along with the World Series would only impact ticket sales between 1%-10%. However, if you look at the last time Halloween fell on a Monday — October 2011 — it shows that if you have the goods, audiences will indeed come to theaters. During that period, DreamWorks Animation’s Puss In Boots opened to $34M followed by Parnormal Activity 3 in its second weekend with $18M.
What’s sending Inferno to Hades this weekend are the critics, who’ve damned the pic with a 20% Rotten Tomatoes score. New York‘s David Edelstein blasts, “Ron Howard’s mostly lame adaptation of Dan Brown’s wholly lame novel,” while New York Post‘s droll Kyle Smith exclaims that in Inferno, “nothing is what it seems, unless it seems ridiculous, in which case it’s exactly what it seems.”
Social media monitor RelishMix noticed that there wasn’t that much excitement online for Inferno with trailers being passed around at a lousy viral rate of 7:1 (10:1 is the average for a big studio release). RelishMix also observed that Hanks, despite having 20M social media followers, avoids promoting his films on his channels (he didn’t even tubthump Sully which now counts $122.4M stateside). Reported RelishMix heading into the weekend, “Inferno is not on fire on social and there’s been some very lukewarm conversation. For example, many fans of the series are confused why the film franchise went to Inferno before the next installment after Angels & Demons, which was The Lost Symbol…Many are not impressed with the footage they’re seeing (on social). They voice their frustrations with Angels & Demons and some of Brown’s other works. Once again, the domestic audience seems lukewarm to Inferno while the foreign interest seems palpable.”
Diving into the CinemaScore for Inferno, there was a near split between men and women, with the latter drawing 51% and the over 25 demo at 90%. There were parts of the crowd who did give Inferno some respect, but they were in the minority and it’s not enough to push the film to higher numbers, i.e., under 18 (4%) gave it an A, while the under 25 (10%) gave it an A-.
Meanwhile, A24’s expansion of its awards hopeful Moonlight from four New York and Los Angeles venues to 36 sites is still looking at the top theater average on the chart in its second weekend with an estimated $24,600. Last weekend, the Barry Jenkins-directed movie about an African American boy’s ascent in his urban Miami stomping ground drew the year’s highest-grossing opening PTA to date with $100,519. Outside of any studio animated movies, Moonlight is one of 16 live-action titles to post an opening PTA north of $100K.
The top 11 movies for Oct. 28-30 based off of early Friday night industry projections — chart being updated
1). Inferno (SONY), 3,576 theaters / $5.6M Fri. (includes $800K previews)/3-day cume: $15.5M /Wk 1 (figure updated Saturday AM)
2). Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween (LG), 2,299 theaters (+39) / $4.6M Fri. (-51%)/3-day cume: $15M (-47%)/Total B.O.: $50.3M/ Wk 2
3). Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (PAR), 3,780 theaters / $2.8M Fri. (-68%) /3-day cume: $9.4M (-59%)/Total B.O.: $39.5M/Wk 2
4). The Accountant (WB), 3,402 theaters (+70) / $2.5M Fri. (-42%)/3-day cume: $8.3M (-39%)/Total: $61M/ Wk 3
5). Ouija: Origin of Evil (UNI), 3,168 theaters (+1)/ $2.2M Fri. (-60%) /3-day cume: $6.4M (-54%)/Total:$23.9M/Wk 2
6). The Girl on the Train (UNI/DW), 2,758 theaters (-333) / $1.4M Fri. (-40%)/ 3-day cume: $4.3M (-39%)/Total: $65.9M/ Wk 4
7). Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (FOX), 2,797 theaters (-336) / $1M Fri. (-38%) 3-day cume: $3.8M (-35%)/Total: $79.7M/Wk 5
8). Keeping Up With the Joneses (FOX), 3,022 theaters / $1M Fri. (-49%) /3-day cume: $3.4M (-36%)/Total: $10.8M/ Wk 2
9). Storks (WB), 1,901 theaters (-244) / $670K Fri. (-35%)/3-day cume: $2.6M(-34%) /Total: $68.1M/ Wk 6
10). Ai Dil Hai Mushkil (FIP), 302 theaters / $764k Fri. /3-day cume: $2.4M /Wk 1
11). Deepwater Horizon (LG), 2,054 theaters (-774) / $632K Fri. (-41%)/ 3-day cume: $2.07M (-39%)/Total: $58.3M/ Wk 5
Moonlight (A24), 36 theaters (+32) / $278K Fri. (+112%)/PTA: $24,6k / 3-day cume: $886k (+120%)/Total: $1.46M/ Wk 2
I’m Not Ashamed (PURE), 516 theaters (+11) / $127k Fri.(-62%)/ 3-day cume: $401k (-57%)/Total: $1.6M Wk 2
Gimme Danger (MAG), 2 theaters /$10k Fri/PTA: $15,6k/ 3-day cume: $31K / Wk 1
2ND UPDATE, noon: It’s not looking so hot for Sony/LStar Capital’s Inferno right now. Matinees at the domestic box office are soft and are pointing toward an estimated Friday of $6.5 million and a three-day of $18M, which is below the low- to mid-$20M tracking. But wait a minute: Didn’t Tom Hanks’ movie Bridge Of Spies open to $15.4M last October and leg out to $72.3M? Yes, but Inferno is different. It’s getting pummeled by critics with a 20% Rotten Tomatoes score, and Bridge of Spies was beloved with a 91% fresh score. That’s what contributed to its 4.7 multiple. In addition, Bridge Of Spies cost close to 50% less than Inferno‘s $75M.
The midday report always comes with a disclaimer that grosses could improve, but as we mentioned previously, it’s a tough weekend for Inferno with the Chicago Cubs in the World Series earning big TV ratings and Halloween parties on Saturday night.
Hopefully, more riches abound for this Ron Howard-Hanks collaboration in Japan and China this weekend, which will boost its foreign coin. Overseas, Sony has played its chips wisely by rolling out the film aboard ahead of its domestic bow. By the end of the weekend, Inferno could see an overseas cume of $150M internationally, with a solid $14M coming from the Middle Kingdom.
Lionsgate’s Boo! A Madea Halloween is holding at -55% for its three-day with an estimated take of $14M, which would bring its 10-day cume to just over $49M. Paramount/Skydance’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back also is down by 55% for an estimated second FSS of $10M, and a running cume by Sunday of $40M. Warner Bros’ Ben Affleck thriller The Accountant is projected to make $7.5M in its third weekend, raising its cume to $60.2M by Sunday. We’ll have more analysis tonight.
PREVIOUS, 7:33 AM: Sony’s Inferno from director Ron Howard drew $800,000 last night from 2,874 locations. While that preview cash is less than what we’ve seen from the latest crop of adult thrillers in the past four weeks (Girl On The Train, The Accountant and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back) — all of which grossed north of $1.2M on their Thursday nights with three-days of $20M-plus — Inferno‘s Thursday night bests the $575K Thursday night made by Howard’s last movie, the misfire In The Heart Of The Sea ($11.05M FSS, $25M domestic).
Tom Hanks’ previous tentpole this fall, Sully, charted $1.35M at 2,900 screen on its Thursday night before raking in his third-best live-action domestic debut at the B.O. with $35M after Howard’s Dan Brown adaptations The Da Vinci Code ($77M) and Angels & Demons ($46M).
Tracking has Inferno posting a low- to mid-$20M weekend. The threequel has a production cost before P&A of $75M and it’s already clocked past $100M overseas. Inferno has the advantage of being the only new studio wide release this weekend, but it has the deck slightly stacked against it in regards to competition outside the theater: the Chicago Cubs, who haven’t seen a World Series win since 1908, are battling against the Cleveland Indians. And on top of Sunday’s NFL games, there might be pre-Halloween parties stealing crowds away. Box office analysts are split in regards to the impact of the World Series on the entire weekend, with some thinking it will have a minor effect of 1.5% while others think it could be as high as 10%.
Among those films in regular play, Paramount/Skydance’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back ended its firs week with $30.1M. Although the Tom Cruise movie fell second to Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween last weekend, Jack Reacher 2 held the No. 1 spot daily from Monday-Thursday. The sequel is expected to make in the vicinity of $11M this weekend raising its 10-day total to $41.1M.
It’s the last weekend for Madea, which cost an estimated $20M before P&A, to take advantage of the holiday which her film centers around. She’s projected to pull in at least $17M, and after adding in the pic’s first week cume of $35.3M, this should hopefully take Madea to an estimated $52.3M which would be $200K shy short of her last movie, 2013’s A Madea Christmas ($52.5M).