Sunday, October 14, 2018

Venom Gobbles Up The Top Spot At The Box Office Again As First Man Has Underwhelming Launch And Goosebumps 2 Haunts Up OK Debut

This is not how anyone predicted this weekends box office would go. Going into this weekend, conventional wisdom said that Venom would have a sharp 60+% drop that opened up the possibility of A Star Is Born having a shot at taking the box office crown. Turns out Venom has slithered his tongue into America's heart as his movie grossed another $35.7 million this weekend, a 56% drop from last weekend which is actually on par with the second-weekend drops of most Marvel Cinematic Universe titles. Having grossed $142.8 million after ten days of release, Venom is now assured to cross $200 million domestically, which would make it only the fifteenth Sony/Columbia release to do that. Venom 2: The Legend of Carnage's Gold should get announced for an October 2020 release any day now.

Though it couldn't claim the number one spot in its second weekend of release, A Star Is Born still managed a strong $28 million second weekend, a 34% decline from last weekend. That's slightly bigger than the 31% dip of The Martian and the 29% dip of Gone Girl, but it's close enough to suggest A Star  Is Born is indeed this year's early October adult-skewing sleeper hit. With $94.1 million after just ten days of release, it's looking like A Star Is Born should get to at least $150 million domestically and it's gonna be fascinating to see how it holds in the weekends to come.

While the top two movies of the weekend were quite successful ventures, the feature that landed in third place this weekend was less lucky. First Man actually became a box office disappointment in its opening weekend as it grossed just $16.5 million on opening weekend, which is Ryan Gosling's fifth biggest opening weekend ever. Though certainly not an outright bomb, Universal/DreamWorks are lying through their teeth if they say a $59 million budgeted feature about Neil Armstrong directed by a recent Best Director winner was intended to open 3% below Gosling's 2013 vehicle Gangster Squad. First Man was likely hurt by competition from both of last weekend's new releases as well as marketing that suffering from what (of all movies) The Walk also struggled with; they kept trying to make trailers and TV spots that emphasized tension over whether the lead characters would succeed in their goal (in this case, going to the moon) and then actually showing them succeeding in said goal. Who needs to pay IMAX ticket prices when the commercials show you the resolution of the plot? At least Fall dramas tend to be leggy so this one should be able to get past $50 million in the long run.

First Man actually may get beat out by Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween once the box office actuals come in, with that family horror film grossing $16.2 million. That's down 28% from the opening weekend of the first Goosebumps and a middling bow for a family movie adaptation of a children's book (it opened on par with the opening weekend of Holes from 15 years ago, for instance). At least this one cost 35% less to make than the original and the fact that the film ditches almost the entire cast of the first movie meant a drop from that features opening weekend was inevitable. Goosebumps 2 should cross $50 million by the time its domestic run is finished.

Speaking of Fall 2018 family movies, Smallfoot rounded out the top five this weekend and held well in the face of a new family movie by going down only 35% this frame (a better third-weekend hold than Storks) to gross another $9.3 million for a $57.6 million. There's clearly some strong word-of-mouth buoying this title (I thought it was pretty good myself actually), but its lackluster opening weekend means it would need Greatest Showman level legs to garner a successful domestic gross. Night School also held well this weekend as it dipped only 35% to gross another $8 million for a $59.8 million domestic gross.

20th Century Fox has launched a number of box office hits in the realm of early October in the 2010'. Taken 2, Gone Girl, The Martian, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children and Bad Times At The El Royale with its original October 5th date was clearly being set up to follow in that tradition. But the film ended up grossing a meager $7.2 million this weekend, a terrible sum given the films $32 million budget. Exempting the opening weekend of The Darkest Minds, that's the worst opening weekend for a 20th Century Fox wide release since Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul in May 2017. It's doubtful this one even cracks $20 million and that paltry box office total can be chalked up to a number of factors, including marketing that never clicked with general moviegoers and a release date that set it up against a large amount of competition.

The House With A Clock In Its Walls dropped 45% this weekend and grossed another $3.9 million for a domestic total of $62.2 million. The Hate U Give actually fared quite well in its expansion to 248 locations as it grossed $1.7 million for a $7,117 per-theater average. This bodes quite well for the film (which has now grossed $2.4 million after ten days of limited release) when it expands to over 2,300 locations this Friday. Rounding out the top ten was A Simple Favor, which fell 59% this weekend and grossed $1.3 million for a domestic gross of $52 million. The final new wide release of the weekend was Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer, which grossed $1.2 million, the sixth worst wide release opening weekend of 2018.

Colette narrowly missed expanding into wide release this weekend as it went into 593 theaters but grossed only $1 million for an underwhelming per-theater average of $1,749 for a domestic total of $2.5 million. Also expanding this weekend was The Old Man And The Gun, which grossed $912,000 from 228 locations for a per-theater average of $4,000 and a domestic total to date of $1.6 million. Free Solo beat them both out in terms of per-theater-average as it grossed $859,000 from 129 locations for a per theater average of $6,659 for a domestic total to date of $2.1 million. The Sisters Brothers expanded into 129 locations this weekend but grossed only $258,355 for a per-theater average of only $2,003 and a domestic total of just $1 million after four weekends of release for this $40 million budgeted title.

Beautiful Boy actually got off to a strong start this weekend as it took in $221,437 for a per-theater average of $55,539, the fourth-best start for an Amazon Studios release that kicked off its run in under 10 locations. This bodes well for the projects box office prospects in the weeks to come. Also debuting in limited release this weekend was Jane and Emma, which grossed $122,000 from 21 locations for a per-theater average of $5,810 while The Happy Prince premiered in 8 theaters and grossed $40,267 for a per-theater average of $5,033. The Oath got off to a dismal $29,237 start this weekend from 10 theaters for a per-theater average of only $2,924.

The top 12 movies this weekend grossed a total of $130.5 million, the second-biggest weekend ever for this timeframe and the sixth biggest weekend ever in October.

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