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'Blair Witch' Director and Writer Are Good Sports About Their Box-Office Bomb

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | September 19, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | September 19, 2016 |

It was not a good weekend at the box office, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be as bad as it was, as all three new releases — two sequels and a biopic — failed to reach $10 million. More surprising, perhaps, was that the one good new release, Bridget Jones’ Baby, couldn’t even muster $9 million, debuting at number three with $8.2 million. I saw it on Thursday night in an otherwise completely empty theater — one of those fancy new joints with recliner seats — and I’m sure it would’ve been a sight to see that one dude in the middle of the theater chomping on popcorn and beaming throughout the Renee Zellwegger “chick flick.” What can I say? Both Patrick Dempsey and Colin Firth are charming men, and Zellwegger was absolutely aces. The good news for fans of the movie — which had terrible and terribly misleading marketing — is that it is faring well overseas, where it made $29 million on the weekend, so the combined worldwide total of $38 million at least puts it over its production budget in the first weekend.

I do also hope we’ll be seeing more of Zellwegger again, as long as it’s not in a Cold Mountain sequel.

Meanwhile, Oliver Stone also had his worst outing for a movie opening in over 2000 screens with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Snowden (review later this morning), which opened with $8 million and has not yet had a worldwide release to offset the losses on the film’s $40 million budget.

Of the three new wide releases, Blair Witch debuted with the most, $9.6 million, which was still more than $10 million less than Sully’s $22 million in its second weekend. Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett — who have fine futures ahead of them, Blair Witch notwithstanding — took the box-office disappointment in stride:

Rotten Tomatoes gives Blair Witch a lowly 37 percent (to be fair, I hated only the first two acts, but I thought the third act was “OK.”

I would have loved to have seen their version of Sully. It would’ve been considerably more bloody.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea about Wingard and Barrett, they both added tweets to ensure that everyone knew they were joking, because social media is often quick to pillory those who are not properly humbled by their disappointments. (Also, I’m sure that some on Twitter met their jokey tweets with humorlessness, because Twitter).

As I noted in my review, Don’t Breathe would have been a much better option for anyone seeking out horror movies, and that movie came in 5th place with over $5 million on the weekend, it’s fourth in theaters. The Jany Levy film, which has made $75 million stateside on a $9.9 million budget, is one of the year’s biggest success stories, and worthy of it.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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