So far at the fall domestic box office we’ve seen a slew of misfires out of the gate including Blair Witch, Bridget Jones’s Baby, Snowden, The Light Between Oceans, Morgan, The Disappointments Room and The Wild Life. Even though some wide product has moved off the fall schedule, it’s still a vicious marketplace particularly since it’s a sleepy time at multiplexes. This weekend alone, there’s only 4% of K-12 schools out, and 1% of colleges according to ComScore. Let’s hope this weekend’s fresh crop doesn’t add to this growing list of agita, ultimately outnumbering last autumn’s 15 bombs.
As Sony/MGM/Village Roadshow/LStar’s Western Magnificent Seven eases at least 50% in its second trot with $17 million, 20th Century Fox/Chernin Entertainment’s Tim Burton feature adaptation of the Ransom Riggs kids novel Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is expected to settle in at No. 1 with a mid-$20M opening at 3,520 locations. While Miss Peregrine might look and smell like Guillermo del Toro’s gothic title Crimson Peak, which died last year at this time ($55M production cost, $31M domestic, $74.7M global B.O.), it is not. There’s a decent want-to-see here given both the novel and director Burton’s fanbase. Tracking currently shows a strong 21% first choice among both women under 25 and teens 12-16. Estimated production cost is $110M. Currently reviews are so-so with 32 registering a 59% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Riggs’ story follows Jake (Asa Butterfield) who learns of mystical powers in his family, which leads him to an orphanage with other peculiar children like himself. For 70 weeks, Miss Peregrine lived on the The New York Times bestseller list for children’s books: It hit No. 1 on April 29, 2012 after a 45-week run, and lived in that spot for roughly the next month. Miss Peregrine can count on 350 premium large-format screens to boost her B.O. this weekend. Previews start Thursday at 7 PM.
It’s a tough call right now in regard to what takes second place this weekend, Magnificent Seven or Lionsgate’s Deepwater Horizon. The $156M-budgeted Peter Berg-directed title about the 2010 oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico and its aftermath is expected to open to $16M-$20M. Participant Media also has some skin in this pricey pic. However, Mark Wahlberg fare typically beats tracking, and the last time he and Berg worked together was 2013’s Lone Survivor, which opened to $37.8M in its wide release and ended its stateside run at $125.1M. Deepwater Horizon premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and currently counts an 88% Rotten Tomatoes score off of 42 reviews. Word is that exhibitors like Deepwater Horizon too, and that the film was one of the highest-testing movies in Lionsgate’s history. So, hopefully all of this translates to a great opening this weekend at 3,200 sites including Imax. Audiences can start watching Deepwater Horizon on Thursday at 7 PM.
Through yesterday, Magnificent Seven counts $41.3M stateside.
Lastly, there’s Relativity Media’s Zach Galifianakis-Kristen Wiig-Owen Wilson-Kate McKinnon-Jason Sudeikis bank heist comedy Masterminds, which was shelved due to the studio’s bankruptcy. It’s a 5% first choice on tracking among all audiences and might have a shot at making $10M at an estimated 2,800 runs. Originally, the Jared Hess-directed comedy was scheduled to open in August 2015 and trailers and an online campaign even commenced back then for the title. Then Masterminds moved to October 9, 2015 to allow Relativity to recapitalize. At the end of last year, Relativity set a September 30 release. At one point during bankruptcy, a company that put up the P&A for the film wanted to take control of it as an asset. But Relativity emerged from bankruptcy, and has gotten behind this with plenty of press screenings and marketing muscle (arguably more than what they did for Disappointments Room, which died with $2.4M at the domestic B.O.).
Also expanding this weekend from 52 sites to about 1,500 is Disney’s Queen Of Katwe, which earned an A+ CinemaScore last weekend but a paltry per-theater average of close to $6K. Many rivals believed given the film’s national publicity and play at prominent theaters in metropolitan markets, it should have grossed at least $10K.