Perfect Guy, The Visit Prop Up September Box Office
By John Hamann
September 13, 2015
After a slow Labor Day weekend with two so-so openers, the box office bounces back this weekend and sets up a frame that could be big next weekend.
If it’s September, it must be time for Screen Gems to release some films. The Sony offshoot, maker of low budget, but successful films – at least over opening weekends – has seven films in the top 26 September openings of all time. This weekend Screen Gems opens The Perfect Guy, a thriller starring Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy and Morris Chestnut, where the nice new boyfriend turns out to be a violent psycho, a la Fatal Attraction. Films that fit into Screen Gems wheelhouse in September are horror (Resident Evil films dominate the month) and thrillers like No Good Deed.
Also opening this weekend is The Visit, the latest attempt for a career resurgence from M. Night Shyamalan, the once loved (The Sixth Sense), but now mostly mocked (After Earth, The Happening) writer and director. This one is funded by Shyamalan himself at $5 million, and then picked up by Blumhouse and delivered to Universal – and we know how their year has gone so far. Another faith-based film, 90 Minutes in Heaven, also opens this weekend, but is destined to be less successful than War Room. It stars people that are actually in movies (Hayden Christensen, Kate Bosworth) and who are looking for the Lord’s help in reviving their careers.
Our number one film of the weekend is The Perfect Guy, the latest September smash from Sony’s Screen Gems. For the first time in what feels like forever, we have a title that did not have Thursday previews, choosing instead to launch the old-fashioned way - on Friday. Despite not having a Thursday to prop up the Friday number, The Perfect Guy was still able to out-earn The Visit, albeit by only a few hundred thousand. The Perfect Guy minted just slightly less than $10 million on opening day. This can be considered a huge success, as it out-earned Screen Gems’ 2014 thriller No Good Deed, which debuted to $8.8 million on Friday. Screen Gems, as per usual, opened The Perfect Guy on a moderate number of screens (2,221), which makes the debut that much more remarkable.
Over the weekend, The Perfect Guy followed a similar trajectory to that of No Good Deed, which isn’t surprising, as the earlier film had a comparable venue count (2,174) and an African-American cast. The Perfect Guy earned $26.7 million over three days, which gives it a strong venue average of $12,022. The debut puts in in the top 13 openers ever for September and gives Screen Gems another hit. It cost the studio only $12 million to make, which means it will be profitable - marketing included – by the end of next week. Few films can make that claim in today’s marketplace. The Perfect Guy will not rely on overseas grosses, or super strong legs domestically. It will follow the Screen Gems pattern of low budgets and decent opening weekends.