Weekend Wrap-Up

by Tim Briody

September 16, 2018

Photos from the Big British Book of Smiles.

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Another trio of September releases arrives, each with its own expectations. One pretty much met them, one exceeded them a little bit, and one does not really do that.

Despite the huge opening by The Nun last weekend, we do have a new number one film this weekend, as The Predator earns an estimated $24 million.

The bad news is that's not that impressive a total and it took a tremendous second weekend collapse by The Nun to get it there. A continuation of the Predator franchise that first began in 1987 and was last seen in 2010, The Predator basically matched the opening weekend of that 2010 release, Predators, which started with $24.7 million. With eight years of inflation, that's not a good sign at all.

Fox was counting on around $30 million for the weekend, but the action film was hurt on two fronts; first the reviews were abysmal, rating 34% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, and the negative publicity the film received over the last few weeks regarding a scene costar Oliva Munn shot with a friend of writer/director Shane Black's who happened to be a registered sex offender, causing a very last minute edit on the film. While I do agree with Kim Hollis's analysis from yesterday that those most turned off by the latter were very likely not going to buy tickets to this anyway, there was certainly a non-zero impact to The Predator's box office.

Predators collapsed 72% in its second weekend and landed with $52 million after a $24.7 million start. A very similar fate likely awaits The Predator, and the hope is that there's some international box office that will help it surpass the reported $88 million budget.

Taking a massive nosedive in its second weekend is The Nun, dropping 66% from opening weekend to $18.2 million. The Conjuring franchise has never been the leggiest, but this is the biggest second weekend drop after The Conjuring 2's 63% decline in 2016. The Nun still has a solid $85 million in two weekends against a reported $22 million budget, and it's on pace to be the second highest grossing film in the franchise, topping the $102 million totals by The Conjuring 2 and Annabelle: Creation (the original Conjuring leads the way with $137.4 million).

A Simple Favor takes third on the weekend with $16 million, maybe a notch or two above expectations. The neo-noir starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively (and directed by Paul Feig, to this point known much more for comedies than dramas), A Simple Favor capitalized on good reviews and the star power of both Kendrick (the Pitch Perfect movies, of course) and Lively (anyone who could open The Age of Adeline to $13.2 million and The Shallows to $16.8 million is a draw in this age) to earn a decent opening weekend.

There's a fair chance A Simple Favor holds pretty well next weekend, as between the good word-of-mouth and lack of competition, it's going to be a decent option for a lot of moviegoers and perhaps even older audiences. It also only cost $20 million to make, so Lionsgate should be very happy with this one by the time it's done.


White Boy Rick is another opener and it places fourth with $8.8 million. An early festival darling that couldn't keep its buzz going (and critics gave it a meh, rating 63% Fresh), Matthew McConaughey is the big draw here (along with a 15-year old starring as the title character in what's literally his first role) and that opening is right in line with the expectations. It reportedly cost about $29 million, but has some work to do to get that back after the opening, though.

Crazy Rich Asians approaches a milestone as it earns $8.7 million in its fifth weekend (down 34%) and now has $149.5 million to date. $150 million is an impressive figure for the romantic comedy that's had some outstanding legs, and while the last couple weeks have slowed down its momentum, it still has something left in the tank and we're probably looking at $185 million by the time it's done.

Jennifer Garner's Peppermint takes a hit in its second weekend, falling 55% to $6 million and giving it $24.2 million after two weekends. The female revenge fantasy should no longer harbor any franchise hopes after this drop, though it has just about matched its budget, something that hasn't happened for STX Entertainment's last couple of releases (Mile 22 and The Happytime Murders).

The Meg starts to wrap up its run with $3.8 million (down 38%) and $137 million after six weekends. It's a hair under $500 million worldwide, so don't be surprised about a sequel announcement at any point (unknown if it will include tornadoes).

Searching adds $3.2 million (down 30%) and has $19.6 million after three weekends in wide release. I'm still puzzled why Sony platformed it. I think they may have been able to capitalize on a weak weekend if they had just gone wide(r) on either the last weekend of August or over Labor Day.

We get a bit of an unexpected surprise in ninth place as Unbroken: Path to Redemption earns $2.3 million. A sequel to Christmas 2014 release Unbroken (directed by Angelina Jolie), the sequel is from Pure Flix Entertainment, purveyor of faith based films, and returns nobody from the original. In just 1,620 theaters, Pure Flix knows how to properly target their films, and make them on the cheap (it cost just $6 million). Reviews are even worse than The Predator (25% Fresh), but the target audience rarely cares about that. It's likely one and done, but it wasn't expected to be any sort of factor at all this weekend, so who knows.

Mission: Impossible - Fallout ends its top ten run with $2.3 million, and $216.1 million in eight weekends, making it the highest grossing film in the venerable franchise's history, finally surpassing 2000's Mission: Impossible 2. Paramount has to be very happy with this performance, and I'm sure the franchise will continue as long as Tom Cruise is interested and they can keep coming up with crazy plots and set pieces.

Your top 12 films this weekend totaled $96.8 million, down from last year's $103.5 million when IT dominated for a second weekend with $60.1 million.

Next weekend is another variety show, as we get a fantasy novel adaptation in the form of The House with a Clock in Its Walls, as well as a Michael Moore anti-Trump documentary, Fahrenheit 11/9.

Top Ten for Weekend of September 14-16, 2018
Gross ($)
Weekly Change
Gross ($)
1 The Predator 20th Century Fox 24.0 New 24.0
2 The Nun Warner Bros. 18.2 -66% 85.0
3 A Simple Favor Lionsgate 16.0 New 16.0
4 White Boy Rick Sony Pictures 8.8 New 8.8
5 Crazy Rich Asians Warner Bros. 8.7 -34% 149.5
6 Peppermint STX Entertainment 6.0 -55% 24.2
7 The Meg Warner Bros. 3.8 -38% 137.0
8 Searching Sony Pictures 3.2 -30% 19.6
9 Unbroken: Path to Redemption Pure Flix Entertainment 2.3 New 2.3
10 Mission: Impossible - Fallout Paramount 2.3 -40% 216.1
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations



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