Weekend Box Office: Scorch Settles In At Number One

The second installment in Fox’s Maze Runner franchise, The Scorch Trials, opened at the top of the North American box office while Warner’s gangster drama Black Mass had a solid debut in second place. In a more limited release, Universal’s IMAX exclusive run of Everest also yielded big results.

After a bummer of a summer movie season, Fox finally had something to be happy about with the $30.3 million earned this weekend from 3,791 theaters for The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. While the number was quite impressive for a September release, the sequel’s start was approximately 7% less than the first Maze Runner, which earned $32.5 million in its first three days.

It’s not surprising that the latest chapter in the Maze Runner series opened lower than its predecessor. Those who may have checked out the original out of curiosity may have deemed one trip to the Maze Runner universe was enough. Negative reviews from the critics may have also been a deterrent. Competition from the likes of Black Mass and to a lesser degree, Everest, may have also been factors.

The Scorch Trials foreign total currently stands at $78 million, a marked improvement over the first film’s performance at the same time last year.

The third and final installment in the series is scheduled for the 2017 President’s Day holiday weekend.

Black Mass, the well-reviewed dramatization of Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger and his association with the FBI, landed in second place with a solid $23.4 million from 3,188 theaters. The film marks a comeback of sorts for Johnny Depp, who plays the Irish mobster in the Scott Cooper-directed production. The once white-hot Depp has suffered a series of creative and financial setbacks over the past few years, films that include the likes of The Lone Ranger and Mordecai.

Mass opened in the same league as other Boston-based crime flicks The Departed ($26 million) and The Town ($23.8 million). Whether Black Mass will have the same box office good fortune that those two Warner hits did remains to be seen. While the film may have scored with most critics, it may not be as successful with ticket buyers. There was no increase in business on Saturday, a day that normally sees increases –or decreases- in ticket sales from the previous day fueled largely in part by ticket buyer feedback.

In third place was Universal’s micro-budgeted hit The Visit with $11.3 million from 3,148 theaters. Off 55%, the M. Night Shyamalan thriller has earned $42.3 million and could finish with approximately $60 million.

Fourth place went to last week’s number one film, Sony’s The Perfect Guy with $9.6 million from 2,230 theaters. Off a steep 63%, the $12 million romantic thriller has scored $41.3 million so far and should wind down its domestic run with about $55 million.

Rounding out the top five was Universal’s IMAX-only release of Everest, which scored a solid $7.5 million from 545 screens. The $13,867 per screen average was the best in the top ten. Reviews were decent for the adventure film starring Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film goes into wide release this upcoming Friday.

The remainder of the top ten was as follows:

  1. War Room (Sony) $6.3 million (-19%); $49.1 million
  1. A Walk in the Woods (BGP) $2.7 million (-42%); $24.8 million
  1. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (Paramount) $2.25 million (-45%); $191 million
  1. Straight Outta Compton (Universal) $1.96 million (-50%); $159 million
  1. Grandma (Sony Pictures Classics) $1.6 million (+148%); $3.7 million

Next weekend sees the arrival of Hotel Transylvania 2, The Intern and The Green Inferno.

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