With Halloween fast approaching, audiences went for some fun scares at the box office this week.
In first is Boo! A Madea Halloween, which made $27.6 million in its first three days. That is the third-largest debut for the Madea franchise – higher than the moderately successful Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection and Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family, both of which opened with more than $25 million. This series has never been one to break box office records, and the $41 million debut posted by Madea Goes to Jail in 2009 was an anomaly, meaning this is a strong start. A Madea Halloween‘s performance is another illustration of this property being a consistent draw for Lionsgate, as it obviously has kept its audience for each entry.
Since Halloween is next week, there’s a good chance the film has decent legs commercially, since viewers will still be in the mood for a scary comedy. The one hurdle A Madea Halloween will have to overcome is the poor reviews, which could hurt its overall appeal in the long run. The $24.4 million intake was enough to win the weekend in a non-competitive marketplace, but it’s not exactly a stellar figure. It could take a small hit in business, but with only one new wide release next week, A Madea Halloween could hang around.
In second place is the new action film Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (read our review). The sequel grossed $23 million in its opening weekend, which is actually considerably higher than what the original managed back in 2012 ($15.2 million). Like Madea, Never Go Back was able to take advantage of a quiet fall box office; without much else out there, a Tom Cruise action vehicle was an easy option for people going to the movies. The first Jack Reacher opened over the holidays, where it had to deal with larger blockbuster films, but this installment didn’t have to worry about that.
Again, since Inferno is the only wide release next weekend, Jack Reacher 2 is poised to have another solid week before Doctor Strange shows up to post high numbers. However, Never Go Back was also plagued by negative reviews, with many critics saying it was formulaic and didn’t bring anything new to the table. That consensus won’t exactly convince fence sitters to rush out and see it – and the $23 million debut (decent, but unremarkable) is an indication that it wasn’t in high demand to begin with. Since action fans don’t have much to choose from, Jack Reacher 2 could hold well, but Inferno will be going after the thriller crowd.
The #3 movie is Ouija: Origin of Evil (read our review), this Halloween season’s new horror film. The second installment in the Ouija franchise made $14 million in its opening weekend, which is slightly lower than the original. This is somewhat ironic, given that Origin of Evil was this week’s best-reviewed new release, and the first Ouija was critically panned. Perhaps the reputation the first movie gave the burgeoning series was too much for Origin of Evil to overcome, and audiences decided to skip it. Outside of the horror niche, not many people were interested. The good news for Universal is that the production budget was just $9 million, so it could make a small profit when it’s all said and done.
Last week’s champ, The Accountant, falls to fourth in its second weekend. The Ben Affleck vehicle made $14 million, falling only 43.2 percent from its debut. It has now brought in $47.7 million domestically.
Rounding out the top five is The Girl on the Train with $7.2 million. The thriller is now up to $59 million in the States.
Coming in sixth is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which made $6 million in its fourth weekend. That raises its domestic total to $74.6 million.
New comedy Keeping Up with the Joneses (read our review) could only manage a seventh place debut. Despite featuring an all-star cast that included the likes of Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, and Gal Gadot, the film made just $5.6 million in its first three days. Much of the blame there has to go to the overly negative critical reaction, which clearly didn’t do it any favors. With a production budget estimated at $40 million, it’s going to have an uphill climb to get to profitability and may never reach that mark.
In eighth is Kevin Hart: What Now? The standup film made $4.1 million in its second weekend, a whopping 65.1 percent decrease from its opening. Its domestic total now stands at $19.4 million.
Coming in ninth is Storks. The animated movie brought in $4 million, raising its Stateside intake to $64.8 million.
Capping off the top ten is Deepwater Horizon with $3.6 million. The disaster drama has now made $55.4 million in the U.S.
[NOTE: These are only weekend box office estimates — based on Friday and Saturday ticket sales coupled with adjusted expectations for Sunday. Official weekend box office results will be released on Monday, October 24 — at which time we’ll update this post with any changes.]