Weekend Box Office

Box Office: Girl on the Train Opens at #1 with an Estimated $24.7M

Sundance Favorite The Birth of a Nation Opens Mildly.

by | October 9, 2016 | Comments

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This weekend, Universal’s mystery thriller The Girl on the Train opened at number one at the North American box office taking in an estimated $24.7M in its first round of play. Based on the best-selling novel, the R-rated pic headlined by Emily Blunt was powered by older white women as studio data indicated that the crowd was 68% female, 55% over 35, and 67% Caucasian.

Averaging a solid $7,844 from 3,144 locations, Girl got off to a good start drawing from a built-in audience of fans of the book. But the road ahead will be rocky. Reviews were mixed and audiences were not too thrilled with the end product as evidenced by the B- CinemaScore grade. Also, Saturday sales were up a scant 2% from opening day Friday.

The opening weekend of Girl came in 34% below the $37.5M October bow of book-based mystery Gone Girl from two years ago which played to much the same audience, though having more male appeal. That Ben Affleck film was up 15% on its first Saturday and saw nice legs in its subsequent weeks. It may be a different trajectory for Girl on the Train.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children dropped 48% in its second weekend and landed in the runner-up spot with an estimated $15M putting Fox at $51.1M. A final in the neighborhood of $85M seems likely for the pricey film. Overseas markets are delivering solid numbers with a $42.5M weekend pushing the offshore cume to $94M and the global tally to date to $145.1M.

Another expensive sophomore title followed with the disaster film Deepwater Horizon grossing an estimated $11.8M for a better 42% slide. With $38.5M to date, the Lionsgate film should end up at about $65M which is less than half of its production cost. International markets are needed to perform. So far, Deepwater has banked $27.8M from 70 overseas markets, but many major territories are still to open.

Denzel Washington may still score another $100M hit for his career as The Magnificent Seven held up well in its third round with an estimated $9.2M, down 41%. Sony sits at $75.9M. Kidpic Storks slipped only 37% to an estimated $8.5M giving Warner Bros. $50.1M to date on its way to roughly $70M.

The Sundance favorite The Birth of a Nation had a mild opening weekend in wide release grossing an estimated $7.1M from 2,105 locations for a $3,373 average. The R-rated slave revolt drama started the year winning praise and awards in Park City leading to a big acquisition by Fox Searchlight. Media attention in recent months then shifted to director/star Nate Parker’s past causing a distraction but reviews upon opening were still mostly positive. The performance was on par with Race from earlier this year which bowed to $7.4M and a $3,104 average. With an encouraging A grade from CinemaScore, Birth will try to keep drawing business in the weeks ahead and then stay in the spotlight this winter when key nominations during awards season come out.

The kidpic Middle School debuted with an estimated $6.9M this weekend from 2,822 sites for a $2,445 average per site. Rated PG and based on the best-selling series of books, the new film from CBS and Lionsgate earned mixed marks from critics but a good A- CinemaScore from paying audiences. With no major competition for kids for the rest of the month, the road ahead sees some potential for the comedy.

Sully became Tom Hanks’ highest grossing live-action movie in seven years with an estimated $5.3M weekend, off 36%, for a new total of $113.5M. The Warner Bros. hit surpassed the $107.1M of the actor’s fall hit Captain Phillips which also found him playing a likable man in peril. A final of around $125M seems likely and he hopes to score the 20th $100M+ domestic blockbuster of his career in the weeks ahead with Inferno.

The comedy Masterminds fell 37% to an estimated $4.1M in its sophomore frame giving Relativity a weak $12.8M to date. Disney’s Queen of Katwe rounded out the top ten with an estimated $1.6M, off 35%, for a low $5.4M cume.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $94M which was down 12% from last year when The Martian stayed at number one with $37M; and down 29% from 2014 when Gone Girl remained in the top spot with $26.4M.

Compared to projections, The Girl on the Train and The Birth of a Nation both opened on target with my respective forecasts of $24M and $7M. Middle School was close to my $8M prediction.

Follow Gitesh on Twitter.

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