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Box Office Surge Ends as 3 Films Vie for Top Spot

The box office took a drop as new Tom Cruise vehicle "American Made" failed to ignite much interest.

american made

“American Made”

New entry “American Made” (Universal) and holdovers “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (20th Century Fox) and “It” (Warner Bros.). are basically tied at the top for weekend box office #1, with estimates placing all within $310,000. Any of the three could emerge on top when Sunday’s actual numbers are compiled after the weekend.

That’s good news for “It” in its fourth weekend (now headed even higher than the $325 million that seemed likely a couple days ago), more mixed for the opening of Tom Cruise’s latest film and the holdover for the expensive second release in the “Kingsman” franchise.

What is not good news is the sudden 20 per cent-plus drop in box office total revenues for the weekend. After three post-Labor Day stanzas where “It” propelled a strong resurgence that gave hope that the mediocre summer’s returns might improve, the current results suggest that the year will end down from 2016 in gross (likely by three per cent or more) with an even larger reduction in actual tickets sold.

it pennywise

“It”

“It” returned to #1 (at least in the estimates) after a week at second with “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” taking the top spot last week. That a horror genre film is leading in week four could be unprecedented — even stronger openers usually fall out of the top ten by this point. No matter that it could achieve this in a down weekend. $17 million would be a great second weekend for all but a few films in the genre. But on the fourth weekend? That’s phenomenal.

But “It” can’t single-handedly save the year. Grosses have returned to more business as usual. The “Kingsman” sequel fell 56 per cent after opening somewhat below expectations (the original dropped 49 per cent off a holiday weekend, then maintained much lower drops to more than triple its initial numbers — “Golden Circle” will struggle to do a 2.5 times multiple). And the openers were not a big help.

“American Made” will end up with one of Tom Cruise’s lowest opening weekend totals. But at $50 million the movie also boasts one of his lowest budgets. While quality director Doug Liman (“The Bourne Identity”) brought some originality to Cruise’s character (not the prototype he normally portrays). It also has $67 million banked from foreign returns through this weekend, mostly prior to its domestic release. Even with Thursday previews, it went up Saturday from first day totals (not automatic), and seems to be getting a positive response.

Michael Gibson

Sony, perhaps to keep critics from seeing “Flatliners,” didn’t even have previews, a rarity these days. At an under $7 million budget, it won’t be a big loser (its production budget was around $20 million before marketing); foreign could end up passable). But theaters could have used some momentum added to what “It” started. Perhaps the strongly-buzzed “Blade Runner 2047” (Warner Bros.) next weekend will fill at least some of the bill.

“The Battle of the Sexes” (Fox Searchlight) was new to most theaters in a rapid second weekend expansion that could pay off before other recent limited releases start their efforts to reach wider audiences. It placed #6 with $3.4 million. Also crashing the Top Ten was the independent African-American made drama “‘Til Death Do Us Part,” with domestic violence as part of its story. At ninth and just under $1.6 million, it had about the same per theater average as “Sexes” although in more targeted theaters. Its 49 per cent day jump suggests it might hold for a couple more weeks, though it doesn’t seem likely to break out wider.

The Top Ten

1. It (Warner Bros.) (20th Century Fox) Week 4 – Last weekend #2

$17,310,000 (-42%) in 3,917 theaters (-90); PTA: $4,419; Cumulative: $291,183,000

2. American Made (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 65; Est. budget: $60 million

$17,016,000 in 3,024 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $5,627; Cumulative: $17,016,000

3. Kingsman: The Golden Circle (20th Century Fox) Week 2 – Last weekend #1

$17,000,000 (-56%) in 4,038 theaters (+35); PTA: $4,038; Cumulative: $66,082,000

4. The LEGO Ninjago Movie (Warner Bros.)  Week 2 – Last weekend #3

$12,000,000 (-41%) in 4,047 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,965; Cumulative: $35,556,000

5. Flatliners (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: B-; Metacritic: 31; Est. budget: $20 million

$6,700,000 in 2,552 theaters; PTA: $2,625; Cumulative: $6,700,000

6. The Battle of the Sexes (Fox Searchlight)  Week 2 – Last weekend #16

$3,400,000 (+560%) in 1,213 theaters (+1,192); PTA: $2,803; Cumulative: $4,073,000

7. American Assassin (Lionsgate)  Week 3- Last weekend #4

$3,325,000 (-%) in 3,020 theaters (-124); PTA: $1,101; Cumulative: $31,874,000

8. Home Again (Open Road)  Week 4 – Last weekend #5

$1,756,000 (-46%) in 2,370 theaters (-315); PTA: $741; Cumulative: $25,182,000

9. ‘Til Death Do Us Part (Novus) NEW

$1,568,000 in 550 theaters; PTA: $2,790; Cumulative: $1,568,000

10. mother! (Paramount) Week 3 – Last weekend #6

$1,460,000 (-56%) in 1.840 theaters (-428); PTA: $793; Cumulative: $16,321,000

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