October 15, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Accountant” Adds Up Weekend Win, “What Now” Starts OK


It’s a deja vu weekend, as THE ACCOUNTANT (RatPac/Warners) had a $9M opening day (including $1.35M from Thursday night), according to preliminary numbers at Deadline, almost identical to last Friday’s $9.3M for The Girl On The Train (including $1.23M from Thursday night), another adult-aimed thriller with a production budget in the $40M range and a big-time marketing campaign.  The weekend total should be close to Girl‘s $24.5M, and as with Girl, The Accountant isn’t going to be a mega-hit, but it could turn a decent profit if it it proves to have international appeal.  It’s going to face the same kind of competition as Girl, though, with the Jack Reacher sequel and Inferno each arriving in the next 2 weeks.

Comedy concert movie KEVIN HART: WHAT NOW? (Universal) started with $4.5M on Friday, roughly the same as the opening day for his 2013 concert movie Let Me Explain, which opened on the Wednesday of July 4th weekend.  What Now? will have a different trajectory, and should end up around $11M for the weekend.  Production costs were low, but Universal spent a fair amount promoting What Now?, which isn’t likely to have much international appeal (Let Me Explain barely even ran overseas), so profits may not be huge.

The weekend’s other wide opening was the DOA MAX STEEL (Open Road), which didn’t hit $600K on Friday, and may not reach $2M for the weekend.  The only comfort for Open Road was that it didn’t bear any production costs, serving as a distributor for hire.

As for THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (DreamWorks/Reliance/Universal) itself, it had a merely OK hold, down 57% from last Friday to $3.9M, for what should be a $12.5M weekend.  It’s on its way to $75M in the US, far from Gone Girl‘s $167.8M.  (That film started bigger than Girl On The Train, and dropped a mere 38% on its 2d Friday.)

Any hope for THE BIRTH OF A NATION (Fox Searchlight) to establish itself as a word of mouth hit and remain in the awards conversation were probably dashed for good, as the troubled film sank 64% Friday-to-Friday to less than $1M, with a $3M weekend ahead.  Although a $20M US total would be a fair number for most indies, Searchlight spent so much on Birth that it will probably end up well in the hole.

MIDDLE SCHOOL: THE WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE (CBS/Lionsgate), on the other hand, held well, down 43% from last Friday to $1.1M.  That still puts its weekend at a low $4M, though, and its US total may reach $25M rather than $20M.

Among longer runs, MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (TSG/20th) fell 42% from last Friday to $2.25M.  A $8M weekend suggests it won’t get much past $85M in the US, not a great result for an expensive production.

DEEPWATER HORIZON (Participant/Summit/Lionsgate) is holding decently, but at numbers too low to support its cost.  It declined 43% from last Friday to $1.9M, on its way to a $6M weekend and a US total that might get to $65M.

STORKS (Warner Animation) is another production that can’t outrun its low opening.  It slipped just 30% from last Friday, but that put the day at $1.4M and the probable weekend at $6M, which means it still may not get past $80M in the US.

DESIERTO (STX) opened at 73 theatres and may have a mild $2700 per-theatre average for the weekend.

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."