Box Office Wrap Up: September Slump Continues.
Three new movies failed to gain traction against a month and counting slump that has crept into October.
We’re in a new month, but we’re seeing the same hard numbers at the box office: box office figures are still in the red, now for the fifth weekend in a row. Cold comfort is that this weekend had two big caveats; Hurricane Mathew depressed ticket sales for the east coast, and MLB playoffs took many eyeballs away from the cinaplex. This week was down a relatively modest 13%, but that follows three weeks of 25% drops from last year. As we discussed in our History article, a relatively strong summer has bled off into a decidedly weak fall.
The Girl on the Train did manage a first place finish, but only took in 21 million at home. The thriller’s budget has pretty much been covered by home and foreign sales, but I don’t think many are calling this a strong win.
Second place went to Tim Burton’s latest offering, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, but that film is still a far cry away from being a domestic success. I think at this point, we need to rely much more heavily on the overseas take for films: this film has only made half it’s budget back at home…but has already made a modest profit when you factor in all ticket sales. We’re just not able to judge a film’s success by US box office figures any more. That era is already in our rear-view.
Third place went to Deepwater Horizon. Even using all collected figures, this movie is in trouble. A disaster flick about a domestic tragedy is unlikely to find a lot of room to grow in other markets. That being said, it still has taken nearly as much money abroad as at home. That would be healthy, but the total is still well below the pricey 110 million dollar budget. I think this ship is sinking.
The other two new releases had similarly troubling weekends, but low budgets may be a saving grace.
The American slavery drama, Birth of a Nation, is in troubling place at sixth place. The film took in a modest 7 million, and has no foreign sales as of yet, but it also has the benefit of having a very tight 10 million dollar budget. The critics, historians and social media are not being kind to this film, but it has such a low bar to clear, it will most likely make a decent profit. It will be interesting to see if the backlash to last year’s white-washed Oscars leads to this film finding nominations.
Middle School: the Worst Years of My Life is actually sitting pretty in seventh position. The film made nearly 7 million on opening against an 8.5 million dollar budget. It’s low positioning could mean a quick fade, but a CinemaScore of A- and lack of competition will probably leave this film doing well after all is said and done.