Weekend Box Office (October 7 - 9, 2016)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Universal's mystery thriller The Girl on the Train opened at number one at the North American box office taking in $24.5M in its first round of play, according to final studio figures. Based on the best-selling novel, the R-rated pic headlined by Emily Blunt was powered by older white women as studio data indicated that the crowd was 68% female, 55% over 35, and 67% Caucasian.

Averaging a solid $7,804 from 3,144 locations, Girl got off to a good start drawing from a built-in audience of fans of the book. But the road ahead will be rocky. Reviews were mixed and audiences were not too thrilled with the end product as evidenced by the B- CinemaScore grade. Also, Saturday sales were up a scant 2% from opening day Friday.

The opening weekend of Girl came in 35% below the $37.5M October bow of book-based mystery Gone Girl from two years ago which played to much the same audience, though having more male appeal. That Ben Affleck film was up 15% on its first Saturday and saw nice legs in its subsequent weeks. It may be a different trajectory for Girl on the Train.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children dropped 48% in its second weekend and landed in the runner-up spot with $15.1M putting Fox at $51.2M. A final in the neighborhood of $85M seems likely for the pricey film. Overseas markets are delivering solid numbers with a $42.5M weekend pushing the offshore cume to $94M and the global tally to date to $145M.

Another expensive sophomore title followed with the disaster film Deepwater Horizon grossing $11.5M for a better 43% slide. With $38.3M to date, the Lionsgate film should end up at about $65M which is less than half of its production cost. International markets are needed to perform. So far, Deepwater has banked $27.8M from 70 overseas markets, but many major territories are still to open.

Denzel Washington may still score another $100M hit for his career as The Magnificent Seven held up well in its third round with $9M, down 42%. Sony sits at $75.8M. Kidpic Storks slipped only 39% to $8.3M giving Warner Bros. $50M to date on its way to roughly $70M.

The Sundance favorite The Birth of a Nation had a mild opening weekend in wide release grossing $7M from 2,105 locations for a $3,327 average. The R-rated slave revolt drama started the year winning praise and awards in Park City leading to a big acquisition by Fox Searchlight. Media attention in recent months then shifted to director/star Nate Parker's past causing a distraction but reviews upon opening were still mostly positive. The performance was on par with Race from earlier this year which bowed to $7.4M and a $3,104 average. With an encouraging A grade from CinemaScore, Birth will try to keep drawing business in the weeks ahead and then stay in the spotlight this winter when key nominations during awards season come out.

The kidpic Middle School debuted with $6.9M this weekend from 2,822 sites for a $2,437 average per site. Rated PG and based on the best-selling series of books, the new film from CBS and Lionsgate earned mixed marks from critics but a good A- CinemaScore from paying audiences. With no major competition for kids for the rest of the month, the road ahead sees some potential for the comedy.

Sully became Tom Hanks' highest grossing live-action movie in seven years with a $5M weekend, off 39%, for a new total of $113.2M. The Warner Bros. hit surpassed the $107.1M of the actor's fall hit Captain Phillips which also found him playing a likable man in peril. A final of around $125M seems likely and he hopes to score the 20th $100M+ domestic blockbuster of his career in the weeks ahead with Inferno.

The comedy Masterminds fell 38% to $4.1M in its sophomore frame giving Relativity a weak $12.8M to date. Disney's Queen of Katwe rounded out the top ten with $1.6M, off 35%, for a low $5.4M cume.

The top ten films grossed $93.1M which was down 13% from last year when The Martian stayed at number one with $37M; and down 29% from 2014 when Gone Girl remained in the top spot with $26.4M.

Compared to projections, The Girl on the Train and The Birth of a Nation both opened on target with my respective forecasts of $24M and $7M. Middle School was close to my $8M prediction.

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Watch the NEW trailer for Underworld: Blood Wars.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Kevin Hart: What Now?, The Accountant, and Max Steel open.

# Title Oct 7 - 9 Sep 30 - Oct 2 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 The Girl on the Train $ 24,536,265 3,144 1 $ 7,804 $ 24,536,265 Universal
2 Miss Peregrine's Home... 15,141,789 28,871,140 -47.6 3,705 2 4,087 51,195,272 Fox
3 Deepwater Horizon 11,527,027 20,223,544 -43.0 3,259 2 3,537 38,295,415 Lionsgate
4 The Magnificent Seven 9,011,682 15,626,883 -42.3 3,696 3 2,438 75,777,075 Sony
5 Storks 8,294,309 13,476,141 -38.5 3,608 3 2,299 49,962,803 Warner Bros.
6 The Birth of a Nation 7,004,254 2,105 1 3,327 7,004,254 Fox Searchlight
7 Middle School 6,878,437 2,822 1 2,437 6,878,437 Lionsgate/CBS
8 Sully 5,010,340 8,272,713 -39.4 3,058 5 1,638 113,225,772 Warner Bros.
9 Masterminds 4,078,715 6,541,205 -37.6 3,042 2 1,341 12,767,040 Relativity
10 Queen of Katwe 1,627,313 2,495,427 -34.8 1,259 3 1,293 5,393,949 Disney
11 Don't Breathe 1,379,646 2,381,769 -42.1 1,066 7 1,294 86,951,001 Sony
12 Suicide Squad 1,123,640 1,917,283 -41.4 972 10 1,156 322,547,564 Warner Bros.
13 Bridget Jones's Baby 843,880 2,335,320 -63.9 915 4 922 22,804,575 Universal
14 Snowden 743,170 1,966,630 -62.2 787 4 944 20,206,248 Open Road
15 Blair Witch 518,292 1,580,468 -67.2 668 4 776 20,197,601 Lionsgate
16 Sausage Party 471,424 189,771 148.4 1,071 9 440 97,325,575 Sony
17 Premam 447,000 120 1 3,725 522,000 Blue Sky
18 When the Bough Breaks 443,687 1,200,166 -63.0 460 5 965 29,309,567 Sony
19 The Secret Life of Pets 340,695 443,300 -23.1 339 14 1,005 365,389,630 Universal
20 Finding Dory 327,182 146,104 123.9 207 17 1,581 484,761,750 Disney
Top 5 $ 68,511,072 $ 86,470,421 -20.8
Top 10 93,110,131 102,190,772 -8.9
Top 20 99,748,747 110,631,449 -9.8
Top 20 vs. 2015 99,748,747 114,894,415 -13.2

Last Updated: October 11, 2016 at 3:35PM ET

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