September 23, 2018

Behind the US/Worldwide Box Office – 9.23.2018


OPENINGS:  THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS (Reliance/Universal) was built for weekend matinees, and a 47% Saturday bump carried it to a $26.9M weekend.  Among recent fall supernatural family movies, that puts it $3.2M above Goosebumps, and $2.2M below Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, suggesting a US landing place around $85M.  House was cheaper to produce than either of those (especially Peregrine), so that puts it on a profitable pace.  The international campaign has barely begun with $8.7M in a few markets.

The weekend’s other wide openings were hoping for a mainstream crowd that didn’t show up.  Michael Moore’s FAHRENHEIT 11/9 (Briarcliff) was unable to capitalize on our current craze for things political with a wan $3.1M start.  The only positive is that it opened better than the right-wing Death Of A Nation at $2.4M, but that’s tempered by the fact that Fahrenheit launched in 700 more theatres.

Dan Fogelman may be TV royalty thanks to This Is Us, but his fans stayed away from LIFE ITSELF (Amazon), which needed good reviews it didn’t get and only reached $2.1M for the weekend. (And that studio estimate assumes a strong Sunday that may not come to pass.)

ASSASSINATION NATION (Neon) premiered in the Midnight section at Sundance, which has delivered some big hits, including this year’s Hereditary, but not this time:  a $1M weekend, which translated into a dreadful $700 per-theatre weekend average.

HOLDOVERS:  Weak openings are typically good news for holdovers, and that was mostly the case this weekend as well.  A SIMPLE FAVOR (Lionsgate) dipped just 35% in its 2nd weekend to $10.4M, and should have the stamina to reach $50M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $10M after a $5.2M weekend in 36 territories, with plenty of the world to come.

THE NUN (New Line/Warners) held very well for a horror movie, down 43% in Weekend 3 to $10.3M, and on its way to $120M in the US, #2 in the Conjuring universe.  It’s even bigger overseas, with $191.7M after a $35.4M weekend in 80 markets.

THE PREDATOR (TSG/20th) was the exception among the holdovers, crashing by 65% in its 2nd weekend to $8.7M, putting it just $100K ahead of 2010’s much cheaper Predators at the same point in release, although tha tone had an even steeper 72% Weekend 2 drop.  The new installment will need luck to hit $55M in the US, and it won’t be bailed out overseas, where it has $54.5M after a $15.3M weekend in 80 territories.

The triumphant run of CRAZY RICH ASIANS (SK Global/Warners) continued with a 25% drop in its 6th weekend to $6.5M, as it heads to $170M+ in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $47M relatively early in its worldwide run, the only pothole being an inability thus far to get a release approved in China.

WHITE BOY RICK (Studio 8/Columbia/Sony) had an OK 44% drop in its 2nd weekend to $5M, but it’s still unlikely to get past $30M in the US.  It hasn’t yet launched overseas.

PEPPERMINT (H Brothers/STX) is only slightly better off, down 38% in Weekend 3 to $3.7M, and needing a stretch to get much past $35M in the US.  It has $6M in early international release.

SEARCHING (Screen Gems/Sony) has become a fair sleeper by virtue of its tiny cost, down 32% in its 5th weekend to $2.2M, with a chance of passing $30M if it can hold onto its theatres.

The Christian-based UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION (Pure Flix) dropped 40% in its 2nd weekend to $1.3M, and probably won’t see $10M in the US.

LIMITED RELEASE:  COLETTE (Bleecker Street) had a solid start, averaging $39K in each of its 4 NY/LA theatres.  THE SISTERS BROTHERS (Annapurna) was a notch below with a $31K average at 4.  LIZZIE (Roadside) expanded to 240 theatres with an unpromising $1100 average.  BLAZE (IFC) averaged $2K at 43.  The documentary TEA WITH THE DAMES (IFC) earned $15K at 1 NY arthouse.

NEXT WEEKEND:  An eclectic group, featuring the Kevin Hart/Tiffany Haddish vehicle NIGHT SCHOOL (Universal), the animated SMALLFOOT (Warners), the horror item HELL FEST (CBS/Lionsgate), and an updated version of LITTLE WOMEN (Pinnacle).  Limited releases include the documentary FREE SOLO (Nat Geo/Greenwich), Sundance title MONSTERS & MEN (Neon), and THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN (Fox Searchlight), which may or may not be Robert Redford’s acting farewell.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."