Weekend Box Office: Sequels Scare Up Decent Business

Another trio of sequels settled into multiplexes across North America this weekend as Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween emerged the victor. Paramount’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back scored decent numbers in second while Universal’s Ouija: Origin of Evil saw moderate success in third. Each of these openings was positively spectacular in comparison to the atrocious start for Fox’s Keeping Up with the Joneses.

The top ten showed some life this weekend, up 29% over last year at this time. Pre-Halloween activities may suck the life out of the box office next weekend but that dip will be short lived as Doctor Strange arrives on the scene November 4th.

It’s been two years since a film directed by Tyler Perry has hit movie screens and three years since one has featured his alter ego, Madea. This weekend saw the return of both Perry the filmmaker and Madea as Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween arrived on 2,290 theaters where it earned a solid $27.6 million.

As with his other directorial efforts, the $20 million Boo! received a chorus of boos from critics. Negative notices, however, have seldom factored into the opening of a Perry production and this one was no exception.

Tom Cruise appears to still have a fan base in this country as his latest vehicle, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, opened to an estimated $23 million from 3,780 theaters. While the opening for Never Go Back was roughly 50% higher than the $15 million earned by the 2012 original -Hail, Xenu!- in its first three days of release, its long-term prospects may not be as good.

Not only did critics dismiss the $60 million production, it appears that ticket buyers were pretty indifferent to the film as well. While most films experience a healthy bump in business from Friday to Saturday, business for Never Go Back was flat. This may be an indication that opening day ticket buyers are telling others to take the latter part of the film’s title to heart.

Should Never Go Back become a fast fade domestically, it should be able to make up the slack overseas where Cruise is still a big draw. The first Reacher earned $138 million from foreign markets, and the new chapter has gotten off to a fast start with a $31 million opening this weekend.

The third sequel new to the market this weekend was Universal’s Ouija: Origin of Evil with an estimated $14 million from 3,168 theaters. Reviews for the follow up to the 2014 sleeper hit were surprisingly strong, but it wasn’t enough to help the feature open bigger than its predecessor’s $20 million debut. Still, with a $9 million production tag –and Halloween happening in little over a week- this prequel should return a tidy little profit before long.

The fourth and final new arrival at theaters was the Fox comedy Keeping Up with the Jonses, which bombed in seventh place with a dismal $5.6 million from 3,022 theaters. Reviews were terrible for the Zach Galifianakis/Jon Hamm comedy and ticket buyers weren’t buying it either. The dismal opening for Jonses marks the second box office bust for Galifianakis this fall following last month’s Masterminds.

Ticket buyers appear to be enjoying Warner’s The Accountant, which slipped from first to fourth place but still managed to have a good sophomore session. The Ben Affleck thriller was down a moderate 43% to earn $14 million from 3,332 theaters. After ten days, The Accountant has scored $48 million and could work its way to the $80 million mark by the end of its run.

Rounding out the top five was Universal’s The Girl on the Train with an estimated $7.3 million from 3,091 theaters. After three weeks of release, Girl has scored $59 million domestically and an additional $45 million from overseas. A final stateside haul near $75 million is a possibility for the Emily Blunt headliner.

  1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Fox) $6 million (-33%); $74.4 million
  1. Kevin Hart: What Now? (Universal) $4.1 million (-65%); $19 million
  1. Storks (Warner) $4 million (Warner); $64.7 million
  1. Deepwater Horizon (Lionsgate) $3.6 million (-43%); $55.2 million

Next weekend sees the arrival of one new film: Inferno. The Sony Pictures thriller opened overseas two weeks ago and has earned $95 million so far.


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