Box Office Wrap Up: Happy Death Day Gets Box Office Present.
The Friday the 13th box office rewarded Happy Death Day with solid earnings on a so-so weekend.
The box office was somewhere in the middle this weekend, with a few high notes and a few low notes. Happy Death Day was the clear winner, but it’s success is more a factor of genre expectations than eye-popping numbers. People are into horror these days, whether it’s an R-rated blockbuster like IT, smaller traditional films like Annabelle Creation, or even television programming. A smartly made film with a modest budget like Happy Death Day is right at home in this environment, reaping a substantial windfall. Other new releases had much more modest weekends. While not exactly flops, newcomers The Foreigner and Marshall didn’t debut to big successes.
This Week in Box Office History.
This frame of the October season took in only a middling 100 million dollars across all showings. That number is down 5% from last week and 4% from last year. It’s not a calamitous drop, and while this week would definitely be in the bottom half of October weekends looking at the last decade, it’s still fairly solid. October tends to be a really homogeneous month without a ton of highs or lows.
The average for October as a whole rests in the mid 400 million dollar range, which is a troubling number. We’re half way through the month and sitting at 144 million. It remains to be seen if the month can finish strong. Despite being formulaic at this point, having a Tyler Perry Madea movie and a Gerard Butler action movie are good omens. Both of those stars tend to drive a solid 20+ million dollar debut. If both films perform at their usual levels, we could see a good bounce next week.
Top Three Films.
First place was all Happy Death Day this week. The self-aware frightener made 26 million dollars versus a 5 million dollar budget. Critics and audiences were positive, as were we in our review, meaning the film could have even more room to grow. I don’t know how well the premise lends itself to a sequel…but we’re talking about a horror film that made 5 times its budget in the first week. We’re pretty much guaranteed a sequel!
The second spot went to Blade Runner 2049, which took in another 15 million in its second week. The good news for director Denis Villeneuve is that he’s made back his 150 million dollar budget in just two weeks. The bad news is that the lion share of ticket sales are from abroad. Despite solid critical response, the film has just failed to excite audiences in the US, especially amongst groups other than middle age white males.
Third place went to Jackie Chan and his new revenge thriller, The Foreigner. It has fairly mixed reviews, though audiences have been pretty happy with it. It took in 13 million dollars, which is on the low side of recent R-rated action films. While it is fairly average for a revenge flick, it failed to reach the heights of previous Jackie Chan US releases and other gritty action films such as Taken or Jason Bourne. Luckily, the film was a money maker before it ever released in the States, having made 100 million abroad.
The other new releases that premiered this week all finished outside of the top ten. Marshall, a dramatic biopic about the early career of Thurgood Marshall just missed the number ten spot, earning 3 million dollars – just 6 thousand dollars less than Victoria and Abdul. Victoria and Abdul, featuring Dame Judi Dench, has really flourished in limited release, taking in 11 million dollars to date.
While I’m not surprised that Professor Marston and the Wonder Women failed to gain much attention, I’m still scratching my head as to why the film thought it could manage a wide release. Sure, WW is big business, but I don’t see many people being confused as to whether this dramatic history of the comic’s creator would feature much super hero action. The film took in only 600 thousand dollars despite being in 1200 theaters. I don’t see it remaining widely available for long with those dismal numbers.