6TH UPDATE, Monday final: Stephen King’s It slashed the competition to bring in another $60 million in its sophomore weekend to become the biggest September release in domestic box office history. The two-week total for the New Line/Warner Bros horror film now stands at $218.8M.
The three-day gross of Darren Aronofsky’s mother! was even scarier, though, and became the the butt of jokes after the Paramount film landed an F CinemaScore (“mother! F”). The film with at least a $30M+ budget before P&A was DOA with a three-day cume of only $7.5M. This as several other films are waiting in the wings this week to kick it further down the Top 10 chart as the fall box office ramps up.
Warner Bros unleashes The Lego Ninjago Movie and Fox churns out another installment of its franchise Kingsman: The Golden Circle, both of which will go into wide release with previews Thursday night. Others in limited release include the anticipated Battle Of The Sexes from Fox Searchlight and starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, and Victoria and Abdul starring Ali Fazal and Judi Dench in a story about an unexpected royal friendship.
In addition, Roadside Attractions is launching Stronger in moderate release. The film is about true-life hero Jeff Bauman, who helped law enforcement after both of his legs were blown off during the Boston Marathon bombing and then went through a grueling rehabilitation to try to get his life back to some semblance of normalcy. Bauman was one of those survivors who became a nationwide symbol for American resilience. He is portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal.
Here’s the Top 20 chart for the week ending September 17:
1.) It (NL/WB), 4,148 theaters (+45) / 3-day cume: $60.1M (-51%) / Per screen average: $14,490 / Total cume: $218.8M / Wk 2
2.) American Assassin (CBS/LG), 3,154 theaters / 3-day cume: $14.8M / Per screen: $4,707 / Wk 1
3.) Mother! (PAR), 2,368 theaters / 3-day cume: $7.5M / Per screen: $3,182 / Wk 1
4.) Home Again (OPRD), 3,036 theaters (+96) / 3-day cume: $5.18M (-40%) / Per screen: $1,707 / Total: $16.9M / Wk 2
5.). Hitman’s Bodyguard (LG), 3,272 theaters (-50) / 3-day cume: $3.58M / Per screen: $1,097 / Total: $70.39M / Wk 5
6.) Wind River (TWC), 2,619 theaters (-271) / 3-day cume: $2.57M / Per screen: $982 / Total: $29.1M / Wk 7
7.). Annabelle: Creation (NL/WB), 2,117 theaters (-886) / 3-day cume: $2.4M / Per screen: $1,139 / Total: $99.7M / Wk 6
8.). Leap! (TWC), 2,416 theaters (-275) / 3-day cume: $2.16M / Per screen: $896 / Total: $18.7M / Wk 3
9.) Spider-Man: Homecoming (SONY/MARVEL), 1,436 theaters (-221) / 3-day cume: $1.85M / Per screen: $1,294 / Total: $330.2M / Wk 10
10.) Dunkirk (WB), 1,478 theaters (-632) / 3-day cume: $1.3M / Per screen: $887 / Total: $185.1M / Wk 8
11). The Emoji Movie (SONY), 1,151 theaters (-299) / 3-day cume: $1M / Per screen: $870 / Total: $83.9M / Wk 8
12). Logan Lucky (BST), 1,401 theaters (-766) / 3-day cume: $996K / Per screen: $711 / Total: $26.8M / Wk 5
13). Despicable Me 3 (UNI), 983 theaters (-291) / 3-day cume: $867K / Per screen: $872 / Total: $261M / Wk 12
14). The Dark Tower (SONY), 1,235 theaters (+287) / 3-day cume: $757K / Per screen: $614 / Total: $49.9M / Wk 7
15). Canelo vs. GGG Supremacy (FATHOM), 465 theaters / 3-day cume: $703K / Per screen: $1,513 / Wk 1
16). Wonder Woman (WBros.), 659 theaters (-302) / 3-day cume: $667K / Per screen: $1,013 / Total: $411.4M / Wk 16
17). Girls Trip (UNI), 733 theaters (-390) / 3-day cume: $570K / Per screen: $779 / Total: 114.3M / Wk 9
18). The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature (OPRD), 846 theaters (-389) / 3-day cume: $461K / Per screen: $546 / Total: $28M / Wk 6
19). All Saints (SONY), 750 theaters (-84) / 3-day cume: $371K / Per screen: $495 / Total: $5.2M / Wk 4
20). The Glass Castle (LGF), 698 theaters (-339) / 3-day cume: $351K / Per screen: $504 / Total: $16.7M / Wk 6
Anita Busch compiled Monday’s info.
5TH UPDATE, Sunday AM writethru after Friday/Saturday post: Well, it’s clear: Moviegoers officially hate Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! The film scored a rare F grade from CinemaScore audiences, and there were many rivals heading into the weekend who were expecting that type of reaction. The bold Jennifer Lawrence pic crashed well below its $11M projections with an estimated $7.5M in third as of Sunday morning. When compared to her wide releases in their first weekend (1,000-plus theaters), it’s the lowest opening for Lawrence, even lower than her 2012 Relativity horror movie The House at the End of the Street ($12.3M).
Paramount has been in this situation before with 2012’s The Devil Inside which also earned an F (in fact that year had two more F grade films: the Brad Pitt gangster pic Killing Them Softly and Open Road’s Silent House). But with Devil Inside, Paramount was able to buck the audience reaction on that $1M budgeted genre pic and make loads of cash with a $33.7M opening, final domestic $53.3M and global of $101.8M. Many attribute that win to a massive TV spot spend. Mother! is a different beast at a reported $30M before P&A (some believe it’s much higher: Lawrence is known to get $15M alone with actors like Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer earning $3M-$5M each). Oy vey.
It’s very simple what happened here: Paramount backed an audacious auteur’s twisted genre film and aimed to sell it to a mass audience. You could say it’s high art and that it’s proper place is in a Specialty house, but then — would sophisticated audiences like it? It’s obvious why Paramount went wide with this movie and didn’t roll it out: They knew it would greatly divide moviegoers. Going wide was the only means to make any amount of money, especially with Lawrence as headliner. There’s no winning in a platform release, because bad word of mouth would have crept up fast. Paramount’s marketing team was passionate about the movie, worked closely with Aronofsky on crafting something cool, and they knew the best place to tee the film off was the fall festival circuits where it was greatly embraced by critics (70% certified fresh). While we’ve dinged Rotten Tomatoes continually for impacting a wide release’s ticket sales, that’s not the case here. What Mother! is an example of is the disconnect between RT and moviegoers’ habits. RT organically favors auteurs. We saw this with Alien: Covenant this past summer which was 70% certified fresh and wasn’t one of the marquee tentpoles of the summer, falling short with a $74.3M domestic take.
I’m informed that there was a lot of last minute TV spot spend by Mother! in an effort to hopefully spur a Devil Inside type of B.O. situation. Last weekend, Paramount had a custom in-theater trailer for Mother! on It telling moviegoers. “In one week, in this theater, one movie will mess you up for life…You will never forget where you were the first time you saw Mother! After the movie, visit the box office to get your tickets.” One rival marketing head told Deadline, “If I was a horror fan and then went to see Mother! I’d be pretty pissed because it’s not your run of the mill Screen Gems film.” What could Paramount do? How else could they sell this movie? Mother! begins as a quiet movie and then gets really gonzo toward the end and goes off the rails. Lawrence and Aronofsky say it’s all allegory. There is a gripping, ‘WTF is going on now?’ sensibility to the film, and in that sense, the quick clip, suspenseful marketing arguably didn’t betray.
Some will argue that it was suicidal for Paramount to put Mother! right behind It. True, horror films are generally spaced out on the calendar by four weekends or more, but it really didn’t matter if you put Mother! in the dregs of August: People were still going to hate it. These edgy auteur films are meant to be made as works of bold cinematic art; any distributor is lucky to make a buck off of them, and they never make much money, i.e., Nicolas Winding Refn’s Neon Demon ($1.3M), David Lynch’s Lost Highway ($3.7M) and even earlier Aronofsky works like The Fountain ($15M global B.O., $35M production cost). It’s just about who is brave enough to invest in them.
Another problem with Mother! is that Lawrence is playing against type as a frightened woman versus the heroic kickass we know her for in Hunger Games, Joy and American Hustle. Her fans, who turned out at 38%, didn’t appreciate that and gave her an ‘F’. Forty-three percent came out because they thought Mother! was a horror film, and they gave it an ‘F’. Females showed up at 56% with 82% over 25. Both demos gave Mother! an ‘F’. Aronofsky fans provided Mother! with its best score of C+, and they repped 10% of Friday night’s crowd. mother! fell 11% on Saturday with a $2.7m take. Oh, Paramount, can’t you catch a break?
New Line/Warner Bros.’ It is the obvious champ with an estimated $60m per the studio, -50%, an awesome hold in weekend two. That’s the second best weekend September has ever seen for a No. 1 title after It’s enormous $123.4M start. It just goes to show that the industry is still healthy (hear that Wall Street?), and that after the lulls of late July and August, great business boils down to great content.
Current B.O. through Sunday is now at $218.7M, and It will become the highest grossing September release ever, stepping over 1986’s Crocodile Dundee at $174.8M. This horror film is headed to $280M-$300M final stateside. It is now $14.2M away from overtaking Warner Bros. horror classic The Exorcist, reissues and all.
The Andy Muschietti-directed movie was +35% on Saturday with an estimated $26.2M. Younger males and female under 25 at 29% each are the dominant quad in weekend 2 of It according to PostTrak, so if you want to know why they’re not watching Dylan O’Brien in American Assassin or Lawrence in Mother!, that’s because they’re watching It. Older females are the third largest demo for It at 22% followed by males over 25 at 20%.
Most of the multiplexes in Florida post-Hurricane Irma are back online with the exception of the Keys. In fact, two of the 20 best venues for It this weekend were in Miami: the Cobb Dolphin and AMC Sunset.
When Warner Bros. insiders Monday morning quarterback the success of It, they chalk it up to not only an intriguing marketing campaign, but finally delivering a faithful feature adaptation (the first part, anyway) of the 1,000-page Stephen King’s classic novel, 1990 miniseries aside. Another big deal for WB this weekend is that its August horror movie Annabelle: Creation is close to hitting $100M.
CBS/Lionsgate’s American Assassin is staying safe with an opening of $14.8M as of this morning per CBS. The Michael Cuesta-directed counter-terrorism movie was only off -$3.5% from Friday with a $5.5M take yesterday. That number is at the high end of its tracking, and the O’Brien-Keaton action film earned a solid B+ CinemaScore. CBS insiders are happy with the result, comping it to such pics as The Mechanic ($11.4M) and John Wick ($14.4M opening), but rivals aren’t jumping up and down. They think it’s OK.
American Assassin drew 55% men to 45% women. The acting combo drew 28% of the crowd. Fifty percent came out because it’s an action movie, and they gave it an A-. Eighty-five percent were over 25. The O’Brien under-25 fans loved the pic with an ‘A’ CinemaScore, ditto for under 18 (6%) and 18-24 (9%), but they were in the minority. That said, on ComScore-Screen Engine’s PostTrak, females over 25 are the second biggest demo at 34% and that’s the same exact size demo share-wise that Lawrence pulls on her films like Joy, Passengers and American Hustle. So, it’s plausible that the O’Brien factor stole some younger women away from Mother! but not in a grand way.
CBS went after the older male crowd in a big way, not so much the O’Brien fans (let’s face it, it’s an old man’s genre). Hence, media campaign was very sports heavy with major hits on NFL, NCAA, MLB, UFC and SportsCenter, which also hosted Keaton as a guest. There were special events at Assassin author Vince Flynn’s hometown of Minneapolis, at Fort Hood, and for the current and former staff of the CIA, State Department and the White House at the Navy Memorial Heritage Center in Washington, DC. The pic was screened at 22 military bases and NFL organizations like the Rams, Dolphins, Raiders, Eagles, and Redskins.
Word is CBS, which gets its TV spots comped on its parent network, put more O’Brien in the ads toward the end, and while he’s promoted the film to his 4.6M Twitter fans, he’s been reserved in his tubthumping, especially when you compare him to a star like Dwayne Johnson. RelishMix observes that fans are shouting out to O’Brien on social. Keaton has been promoting frequently to his 440K Twitter followers, retweeting promos and stunts such as O’Brien meeting the New York Mets. Lionsgate is also seeing its August action comedy survivor The Hitman‘s Bodyguard crossing $70.4M today.
Other highlights of the weekend: Weinstein Co.’s Wind River officially flowed past the domestic B.O. of filmmaker Taylor Sheridan’s previous feature, Hell or High Water, with $29.1M. The Jeremy Renner-Elizabeth Olsen thriller had a great hold in its seventh weekend of -18%.
Amazon/Annapurna’s Mike White directed comedy Brad’s Status, which follows Ben Stiller’s mid-life-crisis dad as he tours his kid around colleges, has a solid per theater of $25K at four New York and Los Angeles locations. Pic premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last weekend. Movie has 83% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Studio reported estimates for the weekend of Sept. 15-17 as of Sunday AM:
1.) It (NL/WB), 4,148 theaters (+45) / $19.4M Fri. /$26.2M Sat/$14.45M Sun/3-day cume: $60M (-51%)/Total: $218.7M/Wk 2
2.) American Assassin (CBS/LG), 3,154 theaters / $5.7m Fri. (includes $915k previews) /$5.5M Sat/ $3.6M Sun/3-day cume: $14.8M /Wk 1
3.) Mother! (PAR), 2,368 theaters / $3.1M Fri. (includes $700k previews) /$2.75M Sat/ $1.65M Sun/3-day cume: $7.5M /Wk 1
4.) Home Again (OR), 3,036 theaters (+96) / $1.66m Fri. /$2.3M Sat. /$1.3M Sun/3-day cume: $5.3M (-38%)/Total: $17.1M/Wk 2
5.). Hitman’s Bodyguard (LG), 3,272 theaters (-50) / $1M Fri. / $1.6M Sat/ $900K Sun/ 3-day cume: $3.55M (-26%)/Total: $70.4M /Wk 5
6.). Annabelle: Creation (NL/WB), 2,117 theaters (-886) / $750K Fri. /$1.2M Sat/ $695K Sun/3-day cume: $2.6M (-25%)/Total: $99.9M/Wk 6
7.) Wind River (TWC), 2,619 theaters (-271) / $770K Fri. /$1.1M Sat/ $633K Sun/ 3-day cume: $2.55M (-18%)/Total: $29.1M/Wk 7
8.). Leap! (TWC), 2,416 theaters (-275)/ $467K Fri. /$1M Sat/$650K Sun/3-day cume: $2.1M (-13%)/Total: $18.6M/Wk 3
9.) Spider-Man: Homecoming (SONY/MARVEL), 1,436 theaters (-221)/ $495K Fri./$885K Sat/$495K Sun/3-day cume: $1.87M (-7%)/Total: $330.3M/Wk 10
10.) Dunkirk (WB), 1,478 theaters (-632)/ $385K Fri. /$595K Sat/ $325K Sun/ 3-day cume: $1.3M (-30%)/Total: $185.1M/Wk 8
Brad’s Status (AMZ/APNA), 4 theaters / $28K Fri. /$40K Sat/$32,6K Sun/PTA: $25k/3-day cume: 100K /Wk 1
2nd Update, Friday 12:09PM: As forecasted, New Line’s It is prevailing with an estimated $55M second weekend, -55% for a running total by Sunday of $213.7M. Again, that’s a record because’s it’s the second best weekend in September ever following It’s mind blowing $123.4M three-day. Today alone, It will make an estimated $17.5M per industry estimates.
CBS/Lionsgate’s American Assassin is looking at $6M today and $16M for the weekend in second place. The pic was co-financed by CBS and Lionsgate for $33M. Paramount’s mother! is looking at $4.2M today and $9M-$11M this weekend. Many believe it’s going lower because audiences since last night have been hating on the Darren Aronofsky-Jennifer Lawrence team-up. mother! was sold like a Screen Gems horror film, but when moviegoers finally get inside the theater, they find out it’s something completely different. PostTrak results reveal a 51% overall positive and a 33% definite recommend, which is as bad as its gets. American Assassin has better results, but not super hot with 67% overall positive and a 43% recommend.
We’ll have more updates for you later.
1st UPDATE, Friday AM: With mother! preview figures. CBS/Lionsgate’s American Assassin grossed $915K last night in previews at 2,400 locations. American Assassin grossed $915K last night in previews at 2,400 locations. The Dylan O’Brien-Michael Keaton counter-terrorism pic moves to 3,154 sites today. American Assassin‘s Thursday night is right in line with its comp, which is John Wick, which made $870K in previews and posted a three-day of $14.4M.
Tracking has American Assassin in the $12M-$15M range, while one rival estimate believes the movie will outperform that with an upper-teens take. Paramount also has the Darren Aronofsky genre twister mother! starring Jennifer Lawrence in 2,368 theaters today. Pic drew $700K in previews last night which is below the $855K previews of Crimson Peak, another auteur horror pic which played the fall two years ago. Tracking has the film opening around $11M. We reported on why Paramount decided to go wide with what appears to be a specialty title, fresh off the fall festival circuit.
American Assassin follows the rise of Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien), a CIA black ops recruit under the instruction of Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). The pair is then enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) to investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on both military and civilian targets. Together the three discover a pattern in the violence leading them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent (Shiva Negar) to stop a mysterious operative (Taylor Kitsch) intent on starting a World War.
mother! follows newlyweds in a new country house that they’re rebuilding, Jennifer Lawrence playing a young wife to Javier Bardem’s accomplished author. Guests played by Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer start coming over to the house unexpectedly, specifically fans of Bardem’s character. And there’s more guests. And that’s when the hell begins, specifically for Lawrence. Pic carries a reported cost of $30M with an estimated domestic P&A spend in the $30M range.
American Assassin has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 41% Rotten while mother! has the critics on its side with a 73% certified fresh rating.
However, the weekend’s real box office story belongs to New Line/Warner Bros.’ It which put up weekday figures that the month of September has never seen before: Monday ($8.76M), Tuesday ($11.4M), Wednesday ($7.9M) and Thursday ($7.2M). All of the obstacles we’ve mentioned before about the autumn box office — that it’s the start of the school year, the start of NFL — just throw those excuses out the window, for It clearly shows that product rules. The Andy Muschietti-directed movie is bound to hook another all-time record again as it notches the best second weekend that September (and potentially even October) have ever seen at the domestic box office as analysts are predicting a three-day in the $50M-range. To date, the biggest second frame in September belongs to Sony Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 2 with $33.2M. In October, the second best frame belongs to Gravity ($43.1M). To date, It has accumulated $158.7M, and without a doubt will clear $200M this weekend joining other rare-air horror pics as The Exorcist ($232.9M). With the exception of The Exorcist, It has essentially beaten all previous textbook horror films. When you start getting up in the $200m range, there’s a bunch of tentpole horror-hybrids, i.e. suspense-horror The Sixth Sense ($293.5M), Jaws ($260M), Will Smith’s sci-fi zombie pic I Am Legend ($256.4M) and Brad Pitt’s World War Z ($202.4M).