Weekend Box Office: Madea Spooks #1, Everything Else Fails

Boo 2
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October hasn’t been a fruitful month – especially in comparison to this September’s record-breaking haul ($708.9 million) – trailing -13% behind last year. Five (yes) new wide releases attempted to turn the tide.

Simply put, they didn’t do much.

Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, courtesy of Lionsgate, notched #1 and the status of being the only new movie that didn’t fail. Boo 2 grossed $21.23 million from 2,388 venues, a healthy result despite falling -26% from its predecessor last year ($28.5m). Perry’s Madea franchise has been a reliable cash cow for Lionsgate since its inception ($470.8 million across 8 films) and although Boo 2 had the second-lowest opening in the series, just ahead of 2013’s A Madea Christmas ($16m), its reasonable $25m production cost prevents it from being a flop.

Reception for Boo 2 has been pretty damn terrible, par for the course with the Madea franchise, scoring 8% on Rotten Tomatoes and 3.1/10 on IMDb. This hardly matters – Madea is a prime example of “critic-proof” (for reference, the film received an “A-” from CinemaScore polls) and these flicks are typically front-loaded anyway. If Boo 2 performs similarly to the first Boo from here, it’s eyeing $55m when all’s said and done. That’s not great (2.2x its production cost) and likely eschews a Boo 3, but the movie drew its core audience and proved Mr. Perry can land $20m+ openings off name value alone, rare company these days. There are no international numbers to report for Boo 2.

Following the financial disappointment of this month’s Blade Runner 2049, Warner Bros. missed again with Dean Devlin’s Geostorm. The $120m disaster flick, starring Gerard Butler, opened with a weak $13.71 million from 3,246 hubs. That’s a -75% decline from Warner’s San Andreas ($54.59m debut) which, granted, had the power of Dwayne Johnson and the summer movie season, but Geostorm also debuted -21% from Warner’s Into the Storm ($17.35m), which is downright sad.

© Warner Bros. Pictures

Geostorm’s failure isn’t surprising. Warner Bros. dropped it into the doldrums of late October, a dumping ground where studios put their bombs to pasture. Devlin is no stranger to the disaster flick, having worked on Independence Day, but he failed to put out something people haven’t seen. Geostorm’s trailers played more like a flashback to the other films of the genre, albeit with awfully campy visuals (that scene where like six tornadoes touch down in quick succession was ridiculous, I’m sorry). Promotional material highlighted giant natural disasters in a world where recent natural disasters have dimmed that escapism. Another fatal blow was the lack of a human element to offset the CGI blitz; Gerard Butler stoically delivering one-liners wasn’t enough.

Geostorm wasn’t received well either, garnering an 11% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.9/10 score on IMDb. A small bit of solace has found Geostorm, however, as it grossed $36.4 million from 50 overseas markets. International cume is $52.1m and global is $65.81m. Don’t expect something akin to Roland Emmerich’s 2012 ($603.57m int’l cume after an okay $166.11m domestic performance) as Disney/Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok bursts onto the international scene this weekend. That said, Geostorm could click with Chinese audiences this Friday, something WB would welcome as a potential $100m+ write-off looms. Top markets for Geostorm are South Korea ($5.4m), Taiwan ($5m), Russia ($4.9m), Mexico ($3.8m), and the U.K. ($2m).

Happy Death Day
© Universal Pictures

Down in third, Universal/Blumhouse’s Happy Death Day fell a sharp -64% to gross $9.63 million in its sophomore outing. Domestic total is $40.67m. Such a harsh drop comes as a surprise, especially as the film overperformed last weekend ($26.04m). Happy Death Day’s second-weekend drop compares unfavourably to that of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit (-54.5%) and indicates a final gross over/under $60m (bear in mind that would be just fine for this movie, accounting for its $4.8m production budget). Internationally, Christopher B. Landon’s horror flick added $6.5 million from 26 territories, lifting its overseas total to $13.08m. Global haul is $53.68m. The U.K. was the highest opener for the session, nabbing $1.4m.

In fourth, Warner Bros.’ Blade Runner 2049 couldn’t stabilize, grossing $7.35 million in its third outing (a -52.5% decline from last weekend). 2049 has hauled a disappointing $74.2m thus far, still off from the original Blade Runner’s adjusted gross ($83.77m). Many have penned obituaries for Blade Runner 2049’s U.S./Canada performance already, but it still hurts. At this point, a $90m final haul is probable, lest it grows some legs to push past the $100m mark. Overseas, handled by Sony and Alcon Entertainment, Blade Runner 2049 took in $14.3 million from 64 markets. Overseas and global totals are $119.86m and $194.07m, respectively. Top markets are the U.K. ($20.6m), Russia ($9.3m), Germany ($9m), Australia ($8.3m), and France ($8m).

Debuting in fifth, Sony’s Only the Brave flopped with $6 million from 2,577 venues. Joseph Kosinski’s true story revolving around the Granite Mountain Hotshots was well-received by critics, scoring a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.1/10 on IMDb. Only the Brave starred Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Taylor Kitsch, and Jennifer Connelly, all recognizable to many people. Plus it cost a responsible $38m to produce. So what gives?

© Sony Pictures

It’s hard to entice people to witness tragedy (for those not in the know, the Granite Mountain Hotshots are a group of firefighters who perished battling the Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013). On the west coast of the United States, where wildfires have ravaged towns and displaced over 100,000 people, this tragedy is even less enticing. Only the Brave’s marketing emphasized its heroism angle and those who went out to the film clearly like what they’ve seen, but its ill-timing could’ve influenced the cynical to see it as a money grab. There are no international numbers to report for Only the Brave.

Universal’s The Snowmanhelmed by Tomas Alfredson (who directed the fantastic films Let the Right One In and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) and starring Michael Fassbender and Rebecca Ferguson, took #8, eking $3.37 million from 1,812 theatres. Critics and audiences don’t like this movie (8% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes; 5.2/10 on IMDb), the cherry on top of a troubled production (director Alfredson said he wasn’t surprised by the negative reception, per an interview with the Norwegian Broadcasting System). Overseas, The Snowman has grossed $19.35m for a $22.72m global haul. For reference, the serial killer thriller cost $35m to produce. Expect this one to disappear into the wind shortly.

The Snowman movie

Outside of the top 10, Pure Flix’s Same Kind of Different as Me grossed $2.59 million from 1,362 hubs. This is the latest “message movie” to post dismal grosses, following September’s A Question of Faith ($1.03m debut) and August’s All Saints ($1.51m debut). Movies with faith-based leanings such as this appeal to a narrower audience than, say, your average Oscar-bait drama (the Lifetime title was a turn-off for me, at least). Sometimes it hits, sometimes it doesn’t, oftentimes it’s merely okay. This genre isn’t known for being pricey, and Same Kind of Different as Me is no exception, coming in with a $6.5m production cost. That doesn’t mean it’s a success, though (we’re still waiting on Renee Zellwegger to take on an action heroine role and make a hell of a comeback). There are no international numbers to report for Same Kind of Different as Me.

 

HOLDOVERS

© STX Entertainment

6. The Foreigner (STX) – $5.79 million (-55.9%), $23.18m cume
7. IT (Warner Bros./New Line) – $3.45 million (-43.0%), $320.19m cume
9. American Made (Universal) – $3.13 million (-43.1%), $45.47m cume
10. Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Fox) – $3.01 million (-44.0%), $94.58m cume

 

NOTABLES

© Warner Bros. Pictures & New Line Cinema

– Warner Bros./New Line’s Annabelle: Creation crossed the $200 million mark overseas. Int’l and global totals are $201.2m and $303.23m.

– China’s Never Say Die has grossed over $300 million in the territory.

– Fox’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle notched a $40 million debut in China, +73% over its predecessor. Int’l and global totals are $249.69m and $344.27m.