Blumhouse Productions are kind of genius in their approach. The indie studio, who primarily specialize in horror franchises, have been quietly dominating the market with their sturdy approach that balances tight budgeting with high-concept material and a solid level of quality. That all sounds like pretty simple stuff but when you think about how many studios are floundering right now - including formerly heavy hitters like The Weinstein Company - to see Blumhouse flourish is an exciting sight, particularly since they’re doing so with a decidedly genre-focused slant. Hey, it turns out people like horror movies. Who knew?
This week, Blumhouse’s Annabelle: Creation, a prequel to a spin-off of the Conjuring series - say that ten times as quick - soared to the top of the box office with a $35m opening weekend from over 3500 theatres. That puts it behind the other three films in the series but for something this unabashedly shlocky, that’s no mean feat. Granted, the competition wasn’t great, but those are numbers Blumhouse will celebrate, more so with the news that Get Out in officially the most profitable film of the year. The Conjuring franchise also offers a strong foundation for an expanded universe model for the studio, something seemingly everyone is trying to make these days. Where Blumhouse beat bigger rivals like Marvel and Universal is in their cost effective approach: Take a unique IP, keep budgets low and reap the benefits. It makes watching flop efforts like Universal’s Dark Universe all the funnier.
Elsewhere, new releases stumbled. Did you know there was a sequel to The Nut Job? I’d seen multiple posters for it and I still doubted its existence. So did everyone else by the looks of those numbers, as it debuted in third place with $8.9m from 4003 theaters — less than half the $19.4m the first film took in over two years ago.
The Glass Castle, the adaptation of Jeanette Walls’s harrowing memoir of her difficult childhood, debuted at number 9. The drama, starring Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, opened to mixed reviews, but made respectable numbers for a limited release - 1461 theatres - with the audience skewing heavily female.
The Dark Tower couldn’t hold onto the top spot and sank all the way to number four in its second week, with only $7.9m bringing the 10 day domestic gross to $34.3m. Even with a relatively small budget of only $65m or so, depending on your source, this is certainly not how Sony were hoping the movie would play out. Will it do okay overseas to the point where the planned TV series will follow? It’s hard to say, but this property is too big for them to just dump like this. Maybe keep Akiva Goldsman away next time.
Another film struggling in its wide release is Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit. While its limited release played out strongly, opening to thousands of more theatres didn’t play out as planned, and the gross fell a wince-inducing 58% in its second week before falling out of the top 10.
For the full top 10, check out the link here.
What did you see this weekend? Do you prefer creepy dolls or Idris Elba? Do you doubt the existence of The Nut Job 2? Let us know in the comments.