Weekend Box Office (September 7 - 9, 2018)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Horror fans showed up in massive numbers for the new supernatural thriller The Nun which easily took control of the number one spot with the second largest September opening in box office history. The latest chapter from the lucrative Conjuring universe enjoyed an estimated $53.5M launch this weekend which was good enough to not only beat all previous debuts from Conjuring and Annabelle films, but it also was higher than most all other fright flicks including every single installment in the Paranormal Activity, Saw, Purge, and Insidious franchises.

Very few horror titles break $40M on opening weekend and the number that has surpassed $50M is tiny. The grand champ is Stephen King's It which did summer tentpole numbers this very weekend last year with a jaw-dropping $123.4M on what has traditionally been one of the slowest weekends of the whole year - the frame after Labor Day. Warner Bros. shrewdly used this spot on the calendar for It last year and also Nun this year to enter a marketplace with little to no major players plus get the spooky feel audiences have in the pre-Halloween period. The cash will continue to roll in as the studio already planted its flag on this same weekend next year with its sequel to It.

For The Nun, reviews were mostly negative but ticket buyers did not care much. Religious themes usually work very well for the fright genre and that helped spark extra box office muscle here. Nun debuted a hefty 53% bigger than the prior film in the franchise - last year's Annabelle: Creation - and 28% higher than the old record-holder for the series, 2013's The Conjuring. The R-rated Nun was also the first in its franchise to get an IMAX version which helped contribute to the gross as well as those 402 screens accounted for $4.5M this weekend.

Overall, the film averaged a stunning $13,803 from 3,876 locations. Reviews were on the negative side but fans were intrigued anyway. Its C grade from CinemaScore indicates a rough road ahead as it marks a dip from the B for both Annabelle pics and the A- for both Conjuring movies.

Warner Bros. has been on fire in recent weeks with moviegoers embracing their very different offerings. This is the first time in over 25 years that one studio controlled the number one and number two spots at the box office for four consecutive weekends. In total, Warners has owned the top spot for five straight weeks with The Meg, then three weeks of Crazy Rich Asians, and now The Nun.

Nun was wildly popular around the world too as the international launch contributed $77.5M from 60 markets making for a stellar $131M global debut. Top markets and grosses were Mexico $10.7M, Indonesia $7.7M, Brazil $6.8M, India $5.2M, and U.K. $5.2M. The five-film Conjuring series has now grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide and counting with combined production costs being roughly $100M.

After its three-week run atop the box office charts, the runaway hit Crazy Rich Asians settled for second place but still posted solid numbers. The Warner Bros. film collected an estimated $13.6M falling a reasonable 38% from Labor Day weekend and boosted its total to $136.2M beating all comedies released in 2016, 2017, and 2018. A final in the neighborhood of $175M still seems likely.

Opening in third place to moderate numbers was the revenge thriller Peppermint which debuted to an estimated $13.3M from 2,980 locations for a $4,451 average. The performance was almost identical to the Bruce Willis remake Death Wish from March. The R-rated film anchored by Jennifer Garner was panned by critics but audiences were happier with it giving the STX release a good B+ CinemaScore grade. Peppermint's audience breakdown was 56% female and 78% over 25.

Off 43% in its fifth attack was the shark smash The Meg with an estimated $6M putting the new total at $131.6M which is number six for the year among non-sequels.

The crime thriller Searching followed with a great hold dipping only 26% (best in the top ten) to an estimated $4.5M putting Sony at $14.3M to date. The Tom Cruise blockbuster Mission: Impossible - Fallout collected an estimated $3.8M in its seventh round to give Paramount $212.1M so far. The latest Ethan Hunt hit became the first MI movie ever to break both $500M overseas and $700M worldwide. The latest numbers climbed to $514.5M international led by China's $137.7M in ten days and $726.6M global. Look for Fallout to shoot into the $800M club.

Disney's Christopher Robin dropped 39% to an estimated $3.2M and saw its totals rise to $91.7M domestic and $142.9M worldwide. MGM took in an estimated $3M for its period drama Operation Finale raising the cume to only $14.1M. BlacKkKlansman dropped 39% to an estimated $2.6M for Focus while Alpha was close behind falling 45% to an estimated $2.5M for Sony. New cumes are $43.5M and $32.4M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $106M which was down 31% from last year when It opened at number one with a record-shattering $123.4M; but up 32% from 2016 when Sully debuted in the top spot with $35M.

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Compared to projections, The Nun and Peppermint both opened well above my respective forecasts of $37M and $7M.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Predator, A Simple Favor, White Boy Rick, and Unbroken all open.

# Title Sep 7 - 9 Aug 31 - Sep 2 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 The Nun $ 53,807,379 3,876 1 $ 13,882 $ 53,807,379 Warner Bros.
2 Peppermint 13,423,255 2,980 1 4,504 13,423,255 STX
3 Crazy Rich Asians 13,148,404 21,964,345 -40.1 3,865 4 3,402 135,770,569 Warner Bros.
4 The Meg 6,094,327 10,535,459 -42.2 3,511 5 1,736 131,637,101 Warner Bros.
5 Searching 4,570,235 6,066,463 -24.7 2,009 3 2,275 14,366,365 Sony
6 Mission: Impossible - Fallout 3,885,798 7,032,499 -44.7 2,334 7 1,665 212,202,565 Paramount
7 Christopher Robin 3,404,931 5,277,955 -35.5 2,518 6 1,352 91,934,021 Disney
8 Operation Finale 2,871,184 6,022,758 -52.3 1,818 2 1,579 13,935,630 MGM
9 BlacKkKlansman 2,609,915 4,202,080 -37.9 1,547 5 1,687 43,498,445 Focus
10 Alpha 2,517,768 4,548,627 -44.6 2,521 4 999 32,460,286 Sony
11 God Bless The Broken Road 1,386,253 1,272 1 1,090 1,386,254 Freestyle
12 Incredibles 2 1,352,194 3,372,388 -59.9 1,446 13 935 604,465,699 Disney
13 Mile 22 1,206,503 3,765,869 -68.0 1,802 4 670 35,111,649 STX
14 Hotel Transylvania 3 1,121,921 2,121,431 -47.1 1,012 9 1,109 164,233,534 Sony
15 The Happytime Murders 1,082,377 4,382,781 -75.3 1,839 3 589 20,027,804 STX
16 Slender Man 838,526 1,816,414 -53.8 983 5 853 29,692,608 Sony
17 Kin 804,401 3,035,618 -73.5 2,141 2 376 5,318,012 Lionsgate
18 Ya Veremos 767,346 1,803,848 -57.5 369 2 2,080 3,312,383 Lionsgate
19 Juliet, Naked 642,022 821,021 -21.8 467 4 1,375 2,429,485 Roadside Attr.
20 The Wife 639,857 521,700 22.6 153 4 4,182 1,964,144 Sony Classics
Top 5 $ 91,043,600 $ 51,621,524 76.4
Top 10 106,333,196 73,798,836 44.1
Top 20 116,174,596 92,951,850 25.0
Top 20 vs. 2017 116,174,596 159,140,180 -27.0

Last Updated: September 9, 2018 at 1:00PM ET

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