By Tim Briody
October 9, 2016
The first weekend of October is traditionally the one that’s supposed to jump start the box office as it leads out of a lukewarm September and prepares us for the November blockbusters. This weekend…does not do that, but at least they tried.
The past few years have seen big hits in the form of Gravity ($55.7 million), Gone Girl ($37.5 million) and The Martian ($54.3 million) open on this weekend in October. Hollywood went with another popular novel adaptation this time in the form of The Girl on the Train.
The Girl on the Train is the number one movie on the weekend, but with a middling weekend of $24.7 million. Universal was hoping for a Gone Girl-like performance, but that had a few other things going for it that Girl on the Train did not despite being a bestseller. Namely, a notable director (it became David Fincher’s biggest hit ever), a top line star (Ben Affleck) and good reviews (88% at Rotten Tomatoes). Unfortunately, the director is something called Tate Taylor (who did direct The Help, to be fair), the lead actress is Emily Blunt (whose performance is getting rave reviews even if the movie is not, though she’s far from A-list) and it rates at just 44% Fresh over at Rotten Tomatoes. All that leaves you feeling like there’s been money left on the table.
The saving grace for The Girl on the Train is its reported negative cost of just $45 million. It’ll make that back in North America without needing any of those international grosses we’ve become so fond of. With a B- CinemaScore, don’t expect much beyond that as a total, though.
Second place on the weekend goes to last weekend’s winner Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, directed by Tim Burton. It took a 48% hit to earn an estimated $15 million and gives it $51 million after 10 days in theaters. The young adult book adaptation reportedly cost $110 million to make, so it’ll need a lot of help from overseas audiences if it hopes to become a franchise.
Deepwater Horizon is in third for the weekend with $11.7 million, down about 42% from last weekend, giving it $38.5 million after two weekends in theaters. Still a weird real life event to make an action movie about, it’s the drawing power of Mark Wahlberg that is keeping it afloat so far. It also has a reported $110 million negative cost, which it won’t come close to. I’m not sure this will play well overseas given the subject matter, so the Lionsgate/Summit release is going to be a money loser when all is said and done here.
The Magnificent Seven remake is in fourth place with $9.1 million, down 41% from last weekend. Standing at $75.9 million after three weekends, it’s headed towards its $90 million budget before the end of its run, but I’m not sure there’s enough left in the tank to get it to $100 million. This places it straight into Denzel Washington’s box office wheelhouse; for such a consistent draw at least with openings, he’s only had a handful of $100 million earners. Sony was probably hoping for much more, but since foreign earnings will likely push it to profitability, they shouldn’t complain about it all that much.