October's “wait, weren't you a giant star once” parade continues with another questionable franchise headed up by a one-time bulletproof hit maker – but who has taken a few dings in recent years. It's the wrap up to a underwhelming month that has in past years, served as a warmup for November tentpoles, but this year, simply just... existed.
Weekend Forecast for October 28-30, 2016
By Reagen Sulewski
October 27, 2016
Inferno is the third movie in the Robert Langdon series, following The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown's exercises in anti-historical nonsense and overwritten, tortured metaphors. Tom Hanks plays the lead character, who this time is thrust into the middle of a conspiracy involved a dread plague relating to Dante's Inferno and kept secret by the Catholic Church, because what isn't tied back to them? Waking up in Florence with no memory of how he got there, he's accused of stealing a artifact linked to the conspiracy, which is also tied up in the works of a billionaire geneticist obsessed with population control. From there's it's another globetrotting adventure through arcane and obscure puzzles to try and save the world, probably involving David S. Pumpkins in some way... I appear to be cross-referencing my notes here.
Director Ron Howard returns to the series, which declined heavily between The Da Vinci Code, opening to $77 million, and Angels & Demons, opening to $46 million, and which may fall further still in this outing. Inferno was not as well regarded a novel by Brown's fans (in fact, heavily panned by many), and the cultural buzz of this book is nowhere near The Da Vinci Code, which briefly spawned a cottage industry in cryptography. No such luck here, although Sony seems to be rational about the whole thing, ratcheting down the budget to about $75 million. Co-starring Ben Foster and Felicity Jones, about to break out two months too late for this film to do it any good, it's resting mostly on the series and the fame of Hanks.
Like we talked about recently with Tom Cruise, Hanks is no longer a sure thing to make a hit, requiring the right project. He's also worked less lately, missing all of 2014 and most of 2015 in the cinemas, with this year's Sully and the indie A Hologram for the King representing just modest takes (though Sully had a stronger than expected opening weekend). Inferno has the unfortunate feeling of “Oh OK all right if I have to” commensurate with the “America's Dad” vibe Hanks has been cultivating of late. Basically, we're talking about yet another film for which the time has passed it by in the culture and yet they went ahead and made the film anyway. Reviews are about as bad as you'd expect, but with its high profile and residual fanbase, it should be good for about $28 million.
Tyler Perry's A Madea Halloween opened to that figure last weekend, proving that the bizarre hold Perry has on his audience with his Madea character still holds, even if the appetite for his non-Madea offerings continues to dwindle. That this was a weird horror parody type film perhaps helped, as there seems to be almost as much money in taking apart horror tropes these days as actually going through with them. That's even if, as in this case, it's the most obvious and ham-fisted jokes possible. The typical Tyler Perry legs may not apply here, as Halloween audiences may pick it over the weekend. I'd expect this to be distributed out through the weekend, and give it a take of $19 million.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back started with an okay $23 million, outpacing the 2012 film's $15 million opening, but also giving us a nice case study as to how much Christmas openings depress their film's starts. We're looking at action movie legs here, so expect a decently steep drop to about $12 million for the second weekend.
Ouija: Origin of Evil, opened to $14 million, about three-quarters of the start of its progenitor, though to be fair, that's a film I'm not sure most of the people going to it last weekend even knew existed. With very solid reviews for a horror film and Halloween weekend upcoming, it should manage solid legs, with about $9 million this frame.
More action follows this, with The Accountant, which had an average drop off to about $13 million, and looks headed for a domestic total of about $90 million, earning about $7 million this weekend