Fall has officially begun and while the last couple of months have given us some huge hits and the box office is still on its way to record highs for the year last week brought a lackluster return for “The Predator” showing signs that the box office is leveling out. While October looks to be a big month September continues to be a slow one with a handful of new offerings over the weekend mostly underperforming. Did this result in a surprise repeat victory for “The Predator” or did a new name find its way to the top? Let’s take a look in this week’s Box Office Breakdown.
At the top this week is, in fact, something new as Jack Black and Eli Roth’s “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” took home the win with a $26 million weekend domestically topping expectations and even topping Black’s previous child-friendly horror fantasy “Goosebumps” from 2015. The film got decent reviews but wasn’t considered anything special. “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” seemed to benefit from a special IMAX feature which showed the Michael Jackson classic music video “Thriller” prior to the film. With a $42 million budget the debut puts “A House with a Clock in Its Walls” in good shape and considering the film comes from a series of books and the movie offers a family-friendly horror feature for the upcoming Halloween holiday it appears that the chances of a possible sequel are pretty good. The film also brought in $3.1 million in foreign markets meaning it nearly hit $30 million globally in its opening run. You can read my review of “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” here.
In somewhat of a surprise twist carryover “A Simple Favor” had an excellent second weekend. After finishing third last week the movie actually moved UP a spot to second despite dropping 35% that still resulted in a $10.4 million weekend domestically for the Paul Feig directed thriller. The film has received great reviews, including one from me that you can read here, and the word of mouth seems to be translating to success for the film at the box office. The rest of the top five were all holdovers as “The Nun”, “The Predator” and “Crazy Rich Asians” placed third through fifth respectively.
Only one other new film made an impact in the top ten over the weekend. “Fahrenheit 11/9”, Michael Moore’s documentary sequel to “Fahrenheit 9/11” which criticizes the Trump presidency and the culture that lead to the controversial leader’s election, entered in #8 which is below expectations despite the movie being released in less than 2,000 theaters. The documentary earned $3.1 million over the weekend. “Fahrenheit 11/9” was book ended by “White Boy Rick” and “Peppermint” in sixth and seventh and “The Meg” and “Searching” in ninth and tenth. Two other new releases failed to drum up any success. “Life Itself”, a family drama from the creator of the hit TV drama “This Is Us”, received scathing reviews from critics and delivered the second worst opening for a movie released in over 2,500 with only $2.1 million from 2,609 theaters finishing 11th . To my personal dismay the new release from Neon “Assassination Nation” didn’t fair any better. Filled with social commentary and violence the film didn’t take off as well as I personally believe it should have earning only decent reviews and taking in $1 million at 1,403 theaters to finish 15th. You can look for my review of “Assassination Nation” this week.
Next weekend offers an interesting mix of potential hits and misses. Sony will release a new animated featured called “Smallfoot” which subverts the traditional take on the Yeti and Bigfoot legend. Meanwhile “Hellfest” will offer a new horror option for cinemagoers while “Night School”, a new comedy led by Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart, also makes its debut. The comedy has received a lot of promotion and buzz but “Smallfoot” will be release in almost twice as many theaters. We’ll see which one takes home the win next weekend.