Weekend Wrap-Up

Mother! Flails and Reminds of Ugly Summer; It Dominates Again

By John Hamann

September 17, 2017

Goonies never say die!

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American Assassins had to do it on star power, as it didn’t have much else going for it. Reviews weren’t great, but if you were expecting high art from a Dylan O’Brien film, you should check your head. RottenTomatoes has a score of 35% fresh at the time of this writing, with "top critics" at a slightly better 38%. The Cinemascore was decent at a B+, which may help this one stay relevant as It counter-programming next weekend. Now, before we move on, consider that American Assassins had about half the positive reviews that Mother! has, but a much, much better Cinemascore.

Mother! is third, earning only $7.5 million and floundering below American Assassins. Mother! is directed by Darren Aronofsky (PI, Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan), so one would expect a brilliant film from a great director. Aronofsky goes more for true horror this weekend, versus the thriller Black Swan, for which Natalie Portman won an Oscar, and from which Fox Searchlight made $329 million against a $13 million budget. Following the Black Swan script, Aronofsky brings in his fangirl Lawrence, who jumps in without reading it. Now it’s got an award winning director, an award winning writer, and an award-winning actress – however, only one of those three has read the script. IMDb’s short form synopsis says, “A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence” – but that’s not all there is to it, right? The odd marketing just made this one odder, so instead of audiences attending in droves, they decided to stay away.

Obviously, it didn’t help that It was pounding around like a 5,000-foot Godzilla clown, vacuuming up all the horror dollars that were out there. Paramount picked a terrible release date, as a simple Google search would have showed the foothold that It already had when they chose the release date. Reviews were actually pretty good – currently at 68% and dropping, as Middle America and web reviewers get a hold of Mother! – but "top critics" were much higher at 76% fresh, indicating the strain between critics who review for a living and those that just like to see a good movie. That was shown brilliantly by the Cinemascore, which came in an F, the lowest grade you can get, and one seen even less than the rare A+. Word-of-mouth stands to be disastrous, as this will not be getting the Black Swan legs that were predicted for Mother! prior to release. I wouldn’t be surprised if it failed to make its $30 million budget back (plus marketing costs). Last, that likely means no trip to the Oscars for JLaw, as her next big hope is Red Sparrow, which isn’t opening until 2018.


The rest of the top ten is a sad sack of retirement home losers. Last weekend’s second place film, Reese Witherspoon’s Home Again, drops 38% and earns $5.3 million over the weekend. It was made for $12 million and has now earned $17.1 million. Former three-time winner as top flick, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, earned $3.6 million this weekend and fell 26%. That one has earned $70.4 million at the domestic box office against a $30 million budget.

Wind River got a nice build up and peaked at $6 million over Labor Day weekend, but has since come back down to earth, this weekend earning $2.55 million. The good news, though, is that the $11 million film has now earned $29.1 million. Annabelle: Creation didn’t get hammered as badly by It as one might think – last weekend dropping 47%, and this weekend 35%, with a gross of $99.9 million. It’s going to need another day or two to crack $100 million.

Overall, It continues to make the box office comparable versus last year, but had it tanked, we would still be in the ugliest streak since Jesus was kid. The top 12 films this weekend earned $103.7 million, way up from the $75 million earned last year when Sully led for the second time, and three promising openers all failed to punch above $10 million. Next weekend brings two biggies in the Kingsman sequel and The LEGO Ninjago Movie, and another horror title in Friend Request (not a great title, sorry). These three will have to compete with year ago totals that included The Magnificent Seven’s $34.7 million and Storks’ $21.3 million.

Top Ten for Weekend of September 15-17, 2017
Estimated Gross (millions)
Weekly Change
Running Total (millions)
1 It Warner Bros. 60.0 -51% 218.7
2 American Assassin Lionsgate 14.8 New 14.8
3 Mother! Paramount 7.5 New 7.5
4 Home Again Open Road Films 5.3 -38% 17.1
5 The Hitman's Bodyguard Lionsgate 3.6 -26% 70.4
6 Annabelle: Creation Warner Bros. 2.6 -35% 99.9
7 Wind River The Weinstein Co. 2.6 -19% 29.1
8 Leap! The Weinstein Co. 2.1 -13% 18.7
9 Spider-Man: Homecoming Sony 1.9 -7% 330.3
10 Dunkirk Warner Bros. 1.3 -30% 185.1
11 Logan Lucky Bleecker Street 1.0 -38% 26.9
12 The Emoji Movie Sony 1.0 -14% 83.9

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