This weekend at the box office studios had nothing to be ashamed of as they gave audiences a lot to “keep up with” leading this weekend reaching to be one of the more impressive October weekends in the last several years!
With a full ensemble of films releasing this past weekend, movie goers came out in full force leading to the best weekend 43 gross for the box office in 6 years. This is notably impressive given that the last several weekends saw record low box office grosses in comparison to their respective weekends over the last 5 to 6 years. And leading this big box office weekend was Lionsgate’s Boo! A Madea Halloween bringing in an impressive $28.5 million from 2,200 theatres well surpassing its $20 million production budget. Additionally this was the largest opening for a Madea branded feature, and a Tyler Perry-directed film, since his 2009’s Madea Goes to Jail. For a film that was based on a simply off-handed comment by Chris Rock in Top Five, this is no doubt a win all around.
In my mind there’s no question as to how Perry pulled off such an awesome opening weekend for his latest feature. Boo! A Madea Halloween brought to the table everything fans of the series would want from a Madea film, introduced a fresh and perfectly seasonal Halloween twist that easily helped expand its initial audience base, and the fact that this is the first Madea film in the past three years definitely encouraged fans to go out and watch this movie.
Finishing in second this weekend was Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher sequel, Never Go Back which pulled in $22 million on a $60 million production budget. But despite a lack luster domestic opening, and admittedly being a less than desired sequel in a year when that’s all that studios seem to be able to scratch together, the film did end up pulling in $31 million from 40 overseas markets. That brings Reacher’s global opening pull to just under $54 million, mere dollars away from breaking even opening weekend. With a performance like that, I wouldn’t be surprised if Paramount is already drafting up another sequel to a film that clearly people will go back to.
Additionally, if the film were to even scratch the surface of 60 million domestically before the end of its exhibition run, which would be a .75% multiplier in comparison to the 2012 original Jack Reacher, it could be looking at $100 million from foreign markets. Overall this debut performance is yet again another testament to the power of growing international exhibition markets and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a third Reacher film release in a couple years, but this time he goes international as part of the storyline.
Coming in at third after a close race with The Accountant was Universal’s Ouija: Origin of Evil. Ouija did manage to bring in $14 million on a $9 million budget, but this seems less than thrilling given that the film had far better critical feedback going into the weekend than its 2014 predecessor did. Though, the film did only score a C on Cinemascore from audiences opening day, so really, the film doesn’t seem to be the origin of anything memorable. Landing at spot #7 this weekend we also found Keeping Up with the Jones with a very shabby $5.4 million from just over 3,000 theatres. Despite being one of the only original films releasing this weekend it’s performance is exceedingly reminiscent of Zack Galifianakis’ Masterminds from just a few weekends ago. This film will be lucky if it ever sees the $16 million domestic mark, and while I wish this film could have done better, it feels like a way out of season early spring action comedy. Pure Flix Entertainments’ I’m Not Ashamed finished to spot #15 this weekend with just shy of $1 million, though, it should be noted that the film only opened in 505 theatres.
And finally, A24’s Moonlight had one of the best openings this weekend, though only debuting in 4 theatres. The film opened to $400,000 with a theatre average of $100,000 which ranks it as one of the top 25 all-time opening averages. Moonlight is also standing at a 99% on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, which is impressive in and of itself, but additionally the film has been receiving sweeping positive feedback. The film goes nationwide the first weekend in November and if these early reviews are any indication of it's importance and power, this film is going to be massive. Additionally, Denial officially went nationwide this weekend, however it’s only showing in 648 theaters across the country so despite growing praise for the film it still only managed to bring in just under a million this weekend. Over the next couple weeks, the film will continue its theatre rollout and all signs point to it continuing to pick up steam.
And looking ahead to this coming weekend we have Inferno, Tom Hanks third film in the Davnici Code franchise, and American Pastoral starring Ewan McGregor in his debut directorial piece.
Inferno picks up with Hanks’ Robert Langdon as he mysteriously wakes up in an Italian hospital only to find himself suffering from a bought with amnesia. As he tries to piece together what has happened to him he must race against time to prevent a religious madman from releasing a plague upon the world that would kill billions. The film just opened internationally this past weekend to the tune of $94.8 million and while I am predicting this thriller is going to take the top of the box office next weekend, what I’m going to be paying closer attention to is how the domestic opening stacks up against China and Japan’s day-for-day debut as well.
While Inferno does look to be the name to beat this weekend, I am actually all about McGregor’s American Pastoral. Set in the 1960’s McGregor plays a man that is living what appears from the outside to be the American Dream only to have his very concepts of family, faith, and society shaken to their core as he fights to find his daughter who’s been accused of a terrible crime. A period piece that looks like a definite Oscar contender, with tons of October drama behind it, starring Ewan McGregor - honestly, I could ask for no more so you can be guaranteed I’ll be first in line for this one!
That’s it for this week. Between the plethora of films that opened last weekend, to the solid couple newcomers we have this coming weekend, this is still an awesome time to head out to the theatres and catch a flix. So this weekend after you're done trick-or-treating, head out to your local theatres, smuggle some of that candy in with you – we won’t tell anyone - and support films because they’re made for people like you and me!