(Terrible pun in the title stolen from Contra Points’s video on Jordan Petersen. It’s great! Check it out!)
For a week with quite a few major releases, it was not a strong period at the box office. The House With A Clock In Its Walls, Eli Roth’s first foray into kid friendly entertainment, opened at the top spot with a respectable $26.85m from over 3500 theatres. This also helps to cement Jack Black’s status as a family friendly box office figure, between this, the Kung Fu Panda series, and that Goosebumps movie that’s actually pretty solid. They don’t really make Amblin-esque family movies anymore, but the ones they do produce are solid Jack Black vehicles. We’re still a month off Halloween but this film could play well to the child friendly crowds who want age appropriate scares. Or chickens, either is good. No judgement. The House with a Clock in Its Walls also opened on 400 IMAX screens in North America, adding an extra $2.5m to the weekend opening gross. That success may be tied to the fact that said screenings came with the exclusive IMAX 3D version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
A Simple Favor moved up a space to number 2 with $10.4m, which signals a mere 35% drop from last week. Strong word of mouth helped this one out, as many people didn’t seem to know what to expect with the marketing. It also outperformed The Predator, which fell from 1 to 4 with $8.7m. Ouch. 64.7% drop. Ouch. Despite adding 33 extra theatres to its run. Ouch.
Surprisingly, the second highest-grossing new release of the weekend was Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9, which took in over $3.1m from 1719 theatres. That’s hardly a peak for Michael Moore, one of the most commercially successful documentary makers ever, but signals another goal for 2018’s great year of documentaries.
News was less encouraging for Life Itself. Reviews were atrocious, director Dan Fogelman tried to blame emotionless white male critics for not getting the movie, and despite a big push from Amazon Studios with a 2609 theatre opening weekend, it didn’t even make the top 10. It debuted at number 11 with a paltry $2.1m. That’s a per-screen average of $807. Yikes.
At least it can say it did better than Assassination Nation. Truthfully, I’ve no idea how anyone thought it was a good idea to open this thing wide. It’s clearly designed for cult film status. But reviews were strong enough, festival buzz gave it legs, and it didn’t seem all that unfeasible for distributors Neon to conceive of a situation where its ‘film of the moment’ status could elevate it to commercial success. It debuted at number 15 with a $1m weekend gross. That’s a $733 per screen average from 1403 theatres. This could be a slow burn and seems like the sort of film that needs time to find its audience, but this stumble out of the gates isn’t encouraging.
The two major players in the limited releases this weekend were Colette, starring Keira Knightley, and The Sisters Brothers, which was my favourite film from TIFF. Both opened in 4 screens but it was the former that made the most money, pocketing $156,788 over the latter’s $122,028. Seriously, if you get the chance, please go see The Sisters Brothers because it was wonderful.
New releases for the coming week include The Old Man and the Gun, which was to be Robert Redford’s swan song until he decided retirement sucks, a horror movie called Hell Fest, the new Tiffany Haddish comedy Night School, and the animated movie Smallfoot.
You can check out the rest of the weekend box office here.
What films did you watch this weekend? Let us know in the comments.