October 22, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: Dead Heat For “Jack Reacher 2″” & “Boo!”, “Moonlight” Starts Strong


This weekend’s numbers will need some examination, with plenty of spin available in all directions.  Preliminary estimates at Deadline have BOO!  A MADEA HALLOWEEN (Lionsgate) a hair ahead of JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK (Skydance/Huahua/Shanghai Film Group/Paramount) on Friday, $9.2M vs. $9.1M.  There are several reasons why this is a bigger win than it looks for Boo.  It’s in 1500 fewer theatres than Jack Reacher 2, which will make its per-theatre average considerably higher.  Also, the total production/marketing costs for Boo probably aren’t much higher than $50M, while Jack Reacher 2 may cost as much as $175M, what with Paramount committing expensive network television dollars to its campaign over a period of months.  (Both films have huge actor/producer profit participants in Tyler Perry and Tom Cruise.)  On the other hand, Boo is likely to be more front-loaded than Reacher 2, which has a good chance of pulling ahead for the weekend, with perhaps $24M compared to $23M.  That’s also a much bigger start for Reacher 2 than its predecessor, which had a $5M opening day and $15.2M weekend.  (However, the first Reacher opened the Friday before Christmas 2012, so it enjoyed the huge multiple that comes with the holiday season, reaching a US total of $80.1M, which Reacher 2, despite its bigger opening, may be hard pressed to match, especially with Inferno opening next week and Dr Strange the week after.)  The biggest factor on Reacher 2‘s side, though, is its expected international strength:  Cruise is much bigger overseas than he is at home these days, and Reacher 2 may well double its US total in the rest of the world, while Tyler Perry’s films are virtually invisible overseas.  In the end, both are on track to be moderately profitable in their own ways.

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (Blumhouse/Universal) is a mild disappointment, considering that it’s the only major studio horror movie in theatres for Halloween season, and that it’s received stellar reviews for its genre, 81% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Despite that, its $5.3M Friday probably means a $13M weekend, well below the $19.9M start for the first Ouija.  As usual for Blumhouse, the budget was low, so the final result should be OK, but it’s not much of a win.

Better a small win, though, than a dead loss, which is where KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES (20th) finds itself, with $2.1M on Friday for a $6M weekend.  This wasn’t a cheap production, and unless it becomes a surprise hit overseas, there’s no way the studio will walk away unscathed.  (It’s a particularly bad month for Zach Galifianakis, who’s had 2 flops in 3 weeks with this and Masterminds.)

THE ACCOUNTANT (RatPac/Warners) topped the holdovers, down 50% from last Friday to $4.5M, better than the 58% Friday-to-Friday drop for The Girl On The Train, although nowhere near the 38% dip for Gone Girl or the 40% for The Town, let alone the phenomenal 14% for Argo.  It should have a $14M weekend, putting it on track for a decent $80M US total.

Thinking of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (DreamWorks/Reliance/Participant/Universal), it was down 38% from last Friday to $2.4M, which should give it a $7.5M weekend and $75M US total.

With no new family fare around, MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (TSG/20th) and STORKS (Warners Animation) held well, with Peregrine down 31% from last Friday to $1.6M (for a $6M weekend and $90M US total), and Storks down 22% to $1.1M (for a $4M weekend and $75M US total, on costs below those of Peregrine).

Concert movies typically collapse in their 2d weekends, and that was true of KEVIN HART: WHAT NOW? (Universal), with a Friday-to-Friday drop of 72% to $1.3M, which should give it a $4M weekend and $25M US total, below the $32.2M total for Hart’s last concert film Let Me Explain.

The quasi-wide (505 theatres) release of the Christian-themed I’M NOT ASHAMED (Pure Flix) was unholy, with a weekend per-theatre average that probably won’t hit $2000.  DESIERTO (STX) expanded badly to 168 theatres, with a weekend average around $1500.

MOONLIGHT (A24) hopes to capitalize on the stumbles of The Birth Of A Nation to prosper in awards season (it also happens to be one of the year’s very best films), and it’s off to a superb start at 4 NY/LA arthouses, with a weekend average that could top $80K.  THE HANDMAIDEN (Amazon/Magnolia), another film festival favorite, wasn’t in that league, but its weekend $12.5K average at 5 is fair for a 2 1/2-hour period film with subtitles.  No such luck for AMERICAN PASTORAL (Lionsgate), flailing at 50 theatres with an average that won’t be much higher than $2000.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."