Box Office Wrap Up: September to Remember.
Powered by Pennywise, the box office managed the best September earnings on record.
While the final weekend of September looked quite democratic, with the top three movies separated by only 200 thousand dollars, there was one true winner for the month: IT. Based on the incredible earnings of Warner Brother’s adaptation of Stephen King’s creepy classic, the box office went from the sewer to the penthouse. Unfortunately the tidal wave created by IT was not quite enough to float all boats.
This Week in Box Office History.
September went into the history books with 696 million dollars in domestic revenue. That is a solid jump over the previous record of 626 million, set just two years ago. The overall trend is definitely towards September being a solid month for the industry. In the last ten years, earnings have increased by nearly 100 million with only one year (2008) having a bum season. I guess Burn After Reading wasn’t destined to carry a stellar box office.
This week saw the numbers come back to earth quite a bit. The top grossing film made just under 17 million…as did the second and third film. As we’ll cover below, that’s not great news for several reasons. The overall take of 90 million dollars was down 12% over last year. Overall, it was a decent week on the high side of average for this time of the year.
Top Three Films.
While The Kingsman: The Golden Circle managed to retain first place for a second week, its domestic earnings have been lackluster. The sequel has been consistently under-performing the original. Luckily, The Kingsmen still have their foreign appeal. The first movie did brisk business overseas, and the second film in the franchise is continuing that trend.
Second place went to IT, who narrowly missed retaking the top spot. Overall, this film has clowned its way to 291 million dollars domestically. For those insisting IT won’t be the biggest horror film until it passes The Sixth Sense, which made 293 million domestically, I say:
1) That’s a pretty big stretch to call The Sixth Sense a horror flick, and
2) Give it a hot minute. IT has been making 2-4 million dollars a day, STILL, so it should pass that arbitrary hurdle by Wednesday at the latest. And
3) If you’re counting foreign earnings, then IT still may pass the total earnings of 672 million that the Sixth Sense set, seeing as it’s at 555 million now and still has the Halloween season to churn through.
Third Place went to the first new film to make the list, American Made. The Tom Cruise action-comedy-biopic? took in 16.7 million, once again almost taking first place. While I’m sure TC was hoping for a bigger take domestically, he’s still one of the most bankable stars on the international scene, having already taken in 64 million for American Made from overseas markets.
I mentioned the troubling trend of just one movie making any money, and the rest of the list is where you see it. Lots of movies that came out in this record setting September have yet to make back their budgets domestically. The number four earner, LEGO Ninjago, still has yet to make back the 70 million it spent, even counting foreign sales. The fifth place Flatliners remake seems destined to struggle as well, only taking in 6 million against a 19 million dollar budget. Other films like American Assassin and Mother! have just barely cleared there budgets counting all markets, and find themselves pretty far down the list.
In a month where one movie, IT, made 41% of the month’s total earnings, it’s hard for other movies to thrive. Unfortunately, the seems to be the trend as Marvel, Star Wars, and DC suck all of the oxygen out of the cinema. It seems like smaller films with modest budgets like Battle of the Sexes, Wind River, and Home Again are going to be the answer to battling the mega-releases.
Top Ten Movies.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (16.9)
American Made (16.7)
The LEGO Ninjago Movie (11.6)
Battle of the Sexes (3.4)
American Assassin (3.3)
Home Again (1.7)
Til Death Do Us Part (1.5)