October 2017 Box Office Recap

By Steven Slater

November 7, 2017

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6) Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle

Monthly Box Office: $35.5 M

As we get to the sixth highest grossing film for October, notice that half of the films are holdovers from September. Another trend is the 2017 habit of sequels underperforming their previous entries, which applies to Kingsman. Made for a bit more than the original, and opening a bit higher, this one will peter out just a hair over $100 million, about a third lower than the initial entry. The good news is that both appealed to international audiences, as they will each earn over $400 million worldwide. The spy and action genre is certainly alive and well, and Kingsman has carved out a nice little niche for second tier properties. A third film has already been green lit.

7) The Foreigner

Opening Weekend: $13.1 M
Monthly Box Office: $29.9 M

Jackie Chan returns to live action for the first time since 2010’s Karate Kid, but the end result will be quickly forgotten. Maybe they should have gone with the novel’s original name, The Chinaman. I mean, when your tag line is “A blah-blah man with a buried past seeks justice”, I think the job of screenwriter should just be handed over to AI at this point. Regardless, Chan and director Martin Campbell have a miss, and this continues a string of misses for Campbell since his triumphant return to Bond with Casino Royale. Jackie Chan, although forever enshrined in film history by his amazing output, is probably in or beyond the twilight of his career. The nostalgia for 1980’s everything these days keeps trying to bring everything back from that era, but perhaps the actors should not be a part of the package. That worked well with Mad Max, and Blade Runner split the difference. Sometimes loving something means letting go. We’ll never forget you Jackie! Never!

8) The Mountain Between Us

Opening Weekend: $10.6 M
Monthly Box Office: $28.3 M

Occasionally you see a trailer for a film, and something just seems a bit...off. The Mountain Between Us looks like a film that is simple and straight forward; two people crash in the mountains, and have to survive. Cue cannibalism. But it seems like the writers looked at what they had, decided it needed something more, and shoe-horned in a romance. I mean, do what you have to to survive, but I imagine more carnal instincts surface while stranded in snowy mountains, not wining and dining. It appears that movie goers felt the same way, as this film opened low considering the star power, and will not earn back it’s relatively small $35 million budget. Idris Elba has not been having a good year, although he totally deserves one (is he still being considered for the next Bond?), and writer Chris Weitz struck out after back to back successes with Cinderella and Rogue One. And if director Hany Abu-Assad is trying to make his way from Israel to Hollywood, this is not his vehicle for success.

9) Geostorm

Opening Weekend: $13.7 M
Monthly Box Office: $24.9 M

Excuse me while I pick myself off the floor after having a laughing fit at this movie. I mean, I am someone who is completely on board with man-made climate change, and this movie causes me extreme eye roll syndrome. Apologies to everyone involved, but what in God’s name were you thinking? Warner Bros. especially intrigues me, as I love that they keep giving lots of money to some risky filmmaking, but sometimes it’s as though they are unable to see the obvious. Geostorm reminds me of Jupiter Ascending, another WB financial disaster that confounds all reason. I suppose there is a Yin to every Yang, as this year WB has gambled and won with Wonder Woman, Dunkirk and IT, while stumbling with Blade Runner, King Arthur, and now Geostorm. Dean Devlin, forging ahead without Roland Emmerich for some reason, continues trying to destroy the world. Maybe he can direct a Gray Goo movie next (look it up). At least international audiences seem to still lap this up (I can only imagine the amazing dubs for this film), but the totals will still be far less than this film requires to get into the black. Dean and Roland, stop, stop this now.


10) LEGO: Ninjago Movie

Monthly Box Office: $24.8 M

Rounding out the top ten for October is last month’s LEGO movie, which is Jackie Chan’s other near-miss for the month. This movie feels like one of those titles that should have been released on home video only, as the audience never showed up to theaters. This is pretty surprising, considering the dearth of good children’s fare in the recent past. The last big kid’s movie was Despicable Me 3 which opened June 30th! (Let us never speak of anything emoji related). It is up to Coco to bring back the youngins, or perhaps as I myself have seen in evidence, the new younger generation has some trouble paying attention to one thing for an hour and a half. I mean, I am a millennial and I get blamed for everything, so it’s time I start complaining about the next generation for something. Back in my day you either saw a movie on the big screen or waited six months for a $20 copy on VHS to watch on a 14-inch combo TV/VCR! And you watched that damn thing two hundred times until you wore out the tape. What a time...

To complete the top ten October films that opened in this month add Jigsaw, My Little Pony, Only the Brave and The Snowman. It feels bad that Only the Brave had pretty rapturous reviews, but opened much lower than expected. Perhaps it should have aimed for awards season, something I never thought I would say about a Joseph Kosinski film. As for MLP, at least it will earn more than the 1986 film, but we all wonder why the power of the bronies did not materialize. And although it did not officially open this month, Victoria and Abdul did earn about $17 million in October, quietly flying under the radar the way good independent films do. Can you believe there’s an outside chance it outgrosses Geostorm? I suppose I should toss in a mention of Suburbicon here, simply because the Coen brothers, George Clooney and Matt Damon could only open a movie to $3 million.

October’s top twenty films came in just under half a billion, at $497 million, which is one of the lower monthly totals for the 10th month. Last year was about equally bad, but you would then have to travel all the way back to 2007 to find another total that low. Perhaps Blade Runner could have performed closer to The Martian in another universe, and buoyed totals somewhat, but that was not to be. Sometimes films just pass us by and fade into the background, like tears in the rain. November looks to be in much better shape, however, given the totals for Thor and the expected success of Coco and Justice League. I am, however, skeptical of Kenneth Branaugh’s latest, Murder on the Orient Express, as it gives me that Mountain Between Us Vibe (#mountainbetweenusvibe). It does allow for the second film to be released in 70mm this year, however, which is very cool.

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