Cruise v Pennywise v Kingsman at the Box Office: September Slumps
By John Hamann
October 1, 2017
The last time Doug Liman and Tom Cruise got together, we got Live Die Repeat. Unfortunately for Liman and Cruise, the box office result for American Made is doing just that – repeating, with more dying than living.
It’s a tight race for first place as It quickly closes the $10 million lead held by Kingsman: The Golden Circle last weekend, when the sequel triumphed. We’re four weekends in now, and Pennywise chomping kids refuses to go away. American Made started off slow with its Thursday previews, but that film was certainly in the mix as well.
The tie goes to It, but that could absolutely change when actual numbers are reported tomorrow. It won by $300,000 or so, as the $35 million production picked up another $17.3 million after crossing the $500 million worldwide mark this week. After dropping 51% last weekend, It actually holds up quite a bit better in this frame, losing 42% compared to the previous weekend. Still is anyone really counting at this point? Warner Bros. can easily fund four Its based on this one film, as it prepares to take a run at $300 million domestic. This clown certainly brought the box office back to life, and Warner Bros. is hoping Pennywise can pass that box office baton off to a bunch of replicants next weekend.
It looked Tom Cruise and Doug Liman had clicked with second place finisher American Made, and critics seemed to be ready to line up and throw roses, but then it fizzled just a bit, hitting opening weekend with a still very strong 87% fresh rating. Regular Joe critics liked it more than top critics (the ones that actually get read), as the top critics rating is significantly lower, at 78% fresh. The Thursday preview amount put the “die” back into the equation, as Cruise failed to help American Made earn even a measly $1 million on Thursday, with that number coming in at only $960,000. With a budget of only (yeah, I know) $50 million, it looked like a repeat of the previous Liman/Cruise team up was in the cards, as Edge of Tomorrow had to claw its way across the $100 million mark at the domestic box office, despite being one of the greatest sci-fi films of our time (I understand Blade Runner 2049 will challenge my words next weekend). Thankfully for Cruise, Liman and Warner Bros., our friends overseas bailed Edge out, as it finished with $370.5 million – likely a financial loser theatrically, but it would have turned the corner at some point. Based on that Thursday preview amount alone, it looked like American Made was going to do much, much worse.
The Friday number brought a little life back to American Made, providing some relief to all parties. The Friday number, combined with the Thursday preview, was reported at $6.1 million, not the $5 million or less most people were expecting. A $1 million difference on Friday generally means a $3 million difference over opening weekend, and as much as a $12-$15 million difference for the domestic total. For a $50 million film, this is big news. It could also change the way we look at Tom Cruise movies. Audiences obviously didn’t rush out on Thursday to see American Made, and then – maybe – the more discerning moviegoer read the reviews and showed up on Friday. With some very good and recent Mission: Impossible movies, and Edge of Tomorrow, audiences may be letting up on Cruise just a little bit – it’s too bad he did The Mummy and the last Jack Reacher film. Still, the evidence is there, but it wasn’t going to save this one domestically by any stretch.