The turnaround at theaters this month has been amazing. During a summer of already lowered returns Hollywood suffered through an embarrassingly bad August, with double-digit losses from the prior year. However September has been set ablaze, and it is not entirely due to a killer clown.
Stronger titles have found some traction and Pennywise has become that tide that lifted all boats. This week saw two premiers that drew audiences and the results were respectable. The top 3 titles all earned over $20million, something that had not happened since July. (That was when “Dunkirk”, “Girls Trip”, and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” all hit that plateau together.)
Here is the rundown of something Hollywood had forgotten about — a successful weekend lineup.
1. KINGSMEN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE — $39 Million
The original British set title, released 2 years ago, was a high-concept spy thriller that became a surprise hit, earning over $400million worldwide. A slightly bigger budget and a storyline broadened to include American agents leads to an opening slightly bigger than the original. The American contingent use the cover of being distillers, and the film generated a branded tie-in bourbon label. How could this NOT succeed???
2. IT – $30.1m
The killer clown continues to slay at theaters, nearly hitting the $250million mark to date.
3. THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE — $21.24m
This animated effort has been sliding from projections, which were once looking at closer to double this total. Using similar content and attitude as the previous LEGO releases this was actually aimed at a younger audience, as Cartoon Network took this one to theaters. Jackie Chan leads the voice cast and it registered a tepid audience reaction. This looks like a break-even prospect for Warner Brothers
4. AMERICAN ASSASSIN — $6.25m
A tough second week against heavy competition leads to a steep -58% drop. This will prove a challenge to have this projected series become a franchise.
5. HOME AGAIN — $3.31m
This busy month has meant there is little room for a romantic comedy. 3 weeks out, and Reese Witherspoon has barely crossed over $20million.
6. mother! — $3.26m
The most divisive title of the year did not completely collapse in its second week (a -57% drop), but that is mostly due to it having a miserable opening to begin with.
7. FRIEND REQUEST — $2.4m
Just an overall bad idea with this one. Releasing a horror title while “It” is stampeding is wrongheaded. Plus the social media storyline requires a youthful audience, so making this R-rated undercuts your potential even further. Nobody cared, and nobody went.
8. THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD — $1.85m
Everything about this title has been of the “good enough” level of quality. It was good enough to be the top film in a weak field, good enough to linger in the top-10, and the foreign returns matched the domestic, near $75million. That may be good enough for it to earn a profit.
9. STRONGER — $1.74m
Jake Gyllenhaal makes a lurch for Oscar contention in this true-life story of a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing. It was only playing in just over 500 screens for a decent screen average. Critics have praised it to a 95% Rotten Tomatoes score, so there could be expansion if this manages to net better audience reactions.
10. WIND RIVER — $1.26m
Ending its run as it dropped well over 1,000 screens to make way for the new releases. The $31million it has drawn after 8 weeks is better than was projected.