Perfect Guy, The Visit Prop Up September Box Office
By John Hamann
September 13, 2015
The Perfect Guy did not find its success due to good reviews. This one was held as long as possible (Variety’s review hit on Friday at lunchtime on the west coast), and at the time of this writing, The Perfect Guy had 12 reviews posted at RottenTomatoes, of which only 4 were positive. The Perfect Guy is your typical woman-in-peril boilerplate thriller, but audiences liked it, giving it an A- Cinemascore. No Good Deed earned a B+, so a final gross of $55 million should be in the cards for this one.
Finishing second is M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit, in what might not be a "return to form" but is at least a non-maligned release for the once ballyhooed director. The Visit also started strong on Friday, taking in $9.2 million, but did it with almost 1,000 more screens more than The Perfect Guy. Additionally, it had earned $1 million from Thursday previews. Thus, The Visit had a leg up but still couldn’t catch the Screen Gems thriller. Over the entire three-day portion of the weekend, The Visit accumulated $25.7 million, which is the second lowest debut ever Shyamalan as a director, I don’t think anyone will care about that too much, as this is a different film than The Village or The Happening, two films that are still mocked today. The Visit at this point feels different than the others. There is some goodwill surrounding it, and audiences might embrace this horror-comedy.
The opening for The Visit is actually in the same ballpark as his last film, After Earth, which opened to $27.5 million, but that is where the similarities end. After Earth cost $130 million of Sony’s money to make, whereas The Visit was made for $5 million, and all of those funds were Shyamalan’s. Good for him for investing in his own work (I’m not sure who else would have invested following After Earth and The Last Airbender), and after seeing it, Jason Blum took it to Universal, who would have assisted with the marketing.
Reviews were much better than usual for Shyamalan, as The Visit currently sits at 62% fresh, yards better than After Earth’s 11%, The Last Airbender’s 6%, and The Happening’s 17% scores. The Cinemascore came in at B-, but that is actually a fairly good score for a horror flick. In the end, Universal has another hit versus budget, and Shyamalan will keep working – maybe next time with someone else’s money.
War Room continues its assault on the box office, as it has another good hold this weekend. After dropping only 17% last weekend and earning $9.5 million, War Room took in $7.4 million and dropped a slim 22%. The hold is kind of stunning; as another faith based flick entered theaters (90 Minutes in Heaven) as did another film with an African-American cast (The Perfect Guy). Made for $3 million, War Room has now accumulated a much better than expected $39.2 million.
A Walk in the Woods is fourth, and despite adding 179 screens, the Robert Redford/Nick Nolte drama struggles to hold. After earning $8.2 million over Labor Day weekend, the very white old timer flick dipped 44% to $4.6 million in its second frame. Still, the $8 million production from Broad Green Pictures has tallied $19.9 million after only 10 days of release, so it should end up as a win in the end.