Friday Box Office Analysis
By Kim Hollis
October 13, 2018
After a record-setting weekend during the first October frame, the two films that finished at the top spot do battle with a few new releases. Let's just say that the holdovers are going to continue to dominate.
In fact, it's going to be VERY close between Venom and A Star Is Born as to which film will finish in first place. Yesterday, Venom came in with $9.8 million versus A Star Is Born's $8.5 million. Considering that Venom opened with $80 million and A Star Is Born started with $43 million, that difference isn't as much as Sony probably would have liked to see. Also, A Star Is Born beat Venom on Thursday. For Venom, the Friday total represents a 70 percent decline, while A Star Is Born fell a much more manageable 45 percent.
Let's be honest here. Venom had a definite rush-to-see factor last weekend, and those fanboys are much more likely to get out for opening weekend. A Star Is Born has both critical acclaim and positive word-of-mouth going for it, along with an audience that skews older and more female. Ultimately, I think Venom still wins, but I would not be at all surprised to see A Star Is Born sneak away with the weekend victory. Venom should wind up with $32.1 million, and A Star Is Born should be very solid with a total of $28 million.
That leaves the big new awards contender way in the background. First Man, from frontline star Ryan Gosling and director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land), took in just $5.9 million yesterday. Given that it's a more than two and a half hour long film, this isn't really all that bad, especially considering that the budget was modest at $60 million. Critics love the film for the most part (it's 88 percent at Rotten Tomatoes), though audiences aren't quite as enthusiastic (B+ Cinemascore). Since it's really more of a historical biopic than true science fiction, it's simply not going to have the same sort of wow factor like The Martian or Gravity. $16.4 million for the weekend is a fine start. With awards nominations, we'll see a lot more of it.
However, that total probably won't be quite enough for it to beat another of the new releases, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. Despite minimal presence of Jack Black, it did okay in opening with $4.9 million. That's a fair ways behind the $7.3 million of the original, but again, it was already starting with a disadvantage (Black is really barely in the commercials, and rightfully so since the bulk of his time went to a different family film, The House With a Clock in Its Walls). Still, because it appeals to families, it's going to earn $17 million and just beat First Man.
Our final new wide opener was Bad Times at the El Royale, the throwback thriller from director Drew Goddard. It earned $2.8 million even with Chris Hemsworth appearing totally shirtless and stuff. Crazy, I know. Anyway, look for a weekend total of $7.9 million and a future as a likely cult classic.
There were a couple of little surprises in the top ten. The Hate U Give, which debuted in just over 30 theaters last week, expanded to 248 and earned $522,000. It's amazingly reviewed and seems like a movie that people SHOULD see. Finally, the polarizing Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer (directed by super mega conservative and outspoken actor Nick Searcy) earned $441,000. I'm sure it presents a fair and unbiased view of the story [sarcasm]. I love love loved Searcy on American Gothic and Justified, but damn, man.