A Tom Cruise film is opening this weekend, and instead of standing alone, a heap of wide of entries are piling up against it. Paramount’s sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back based on Lee Child’s books may not slot the top spot at the box office, instead, it might get tripped by the latest installment in Lionsgate’s tried-and-true Madea franchise.
Never Go Back and Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween are each looking to churn a three-day that’s in the high teens, possibly even $20M.
Originally, this weekend looked to be the bloodiest on the calendar with six wide releases. But then Focus Features’ J.A. Bayona movie A Monsters Calls walked to Dec. 23, and PureFlix’s Columbine teen faith-based movie I’m Not Ashamed relegated its track to 503 venues (it’s expected to make $2M this weekend), leaving four wide titles. In addition to Never Go Back and Madea, there’s 20th Century Fox’s ensemble comedy Keeping Up With the Joneses which is hoping to be a destination for upscale adults, and Universal/Blumhouse/Platinum Dunes/Hasbro’s prequel Ouija: Origin of Evil. Four new releases is still a lot considering that there’s not a lot of kids off from school with 13% K-12 off on Friday (1% less than a week ago) and 5% college, with those figures dwindling respectively to 0 and 1% by Monday. In the case of Oujia 2 and Boo!, they need to be released before Halloween, however, unlike last year when Oct. 31 fell on a Saturday, distribution executives aren’t sweating this year as the holiday falls on a Monday and won’t cut into weekend business (in fact, tracking currently suggests that Sony’s Tom Hanks/Dan Brown thriller Inferno will open to $30M next weekend).
The first Jack Reacher was a throwback to the type of blue-collar action thrillers Charles Bronson use to make. The film opened during the 2012 Christmas corridor to a modest $15.2M, but churned out a 5.2x multiple thanks to the holiday for an $80M domestic take. So why make a sequel if it didn’t crack $100M domestic? For Paramount, Jack Reacher is all about the foreign win since the first film made 73% more overseas than its stateside results with $138.3M. In fact, Never Go Back is opening China day and date with the U.S. (Jack Reacher 1 made $15M in the Middle Kingdom). Cruise and cast embarked on a global tour with the movie making stops in Shanghai and New Orleans (where the movie was shot). Cobie Smulders even stopped by U.S. Army base Fort Belvoir in Virginia. Sequel’s production cost is on par with its first chapter: $60M. Previews start tomorrow night at 7PM. Never Go Back will play in approximately 3,600 theaters stateside with an overseas launch in 40 markets.
Lionsgate led off its CinemaCon presentation back in April with a Tyler Perry sizzle reel and Boo! A Madea Halloween. At the confab, Perry told the crowd that he was showing off the trailer to Boo! on his comedy tour. The last Perry vehicle was more than two years ago, 2014’s The Single Moms Club, but the last Madea movie, A Madea Christmas was nearly three years ago. In addition to hysterical trailers, trackers think that the lack of Perry in the market recently has fueled anticipation among his fanbase. Boo! will be booked at 2,100 venues. Production cost before P&A is an estimated $20M. Thursday previews start at 7PM.
Uni’s Ouija 2 is literally the only horror film in the market until BH Tilt/High Top Releasing’s Incarnate arrives on Dec. 2. Unlike last year, when there was a pig pile of genre titles, all of which failed to work, including The Last Witch Hunter, Crimson Peak, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, this year Ouija 2 is the sole spooky draw and it’s looking at an estimated $15M at 3,167 theaters off an estimated $9M production cost before marketing. That’s a tad higher than the first film’s $5M budget which opened to $19.9M, made $50M stateside, and $103.6M worldwide. Ouija 2 is PG-13 which means a heavy draw among women under 25. Previews are Thursday at 7PM. Off of 20 reviews, Ouija 2 currently has the best reviews of all four wide entries at 91% fresh. Pic follows a widowed mother and her daughters in 1965 Los Angeles, who after adding a new stunt to their seance business, unlock all sorts of evil in their house.
Warner Bros.’ Ben Affleck action thriller The Accountant is projected to fall -50% for $12M in its second weekend. Pic saw a 39% hike in Tuesday business over Monday with $3.1M and a running cume through five days of $30M.
Lastly, there’s Gerg Mottola’s spies-next-door comedy Keeping Up With the Joneses. Originally this movie was scheduled to open on April 1, the weekend following Warner Bros.’ Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice which also starred Joneses’ Gal Gadot. It was a great date only in that Joneses would have been the single studio wide release back then. However, Joneses went back for reshoots. Fox didn’t even trumpet it during its CinemaCon presentation, rather threw up a placard on the screen that it was coming soon. In addition to Gadot, pic stars Jon Hamm, Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher. Fox was hoping to pull in the same couples crowd as Date Night (60% over 25, 52% female, $25.2M opening, 3.9x multiple with $98.7M), however, according to tracking Joneses isn’t going to keep up with anyone with a low $6M-$8M opening at 3,000 locations. Galifianakis recently starred in Relativity’s stale release Masterminds which failed with a $6.5M opening and a $16.5M running cume to date.
Brian Brooks will give us the lowdown on the specialty scene later this week. There’s a number of fall festival titles finally hitting the marquee: A24’s Moonlight, Lionsgate’s American Pastoral, and Magnolia/Amazon’s The Handmaiden.
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