Something happened this weekend at the box office that hasn’t happened since the weekend of February 19, 2016. Can you guess? It was that weekend Deadpool notched its second straight victory, replacing Kung Fu Panda 3, which had spent two weeks at the top, and the only week in which The Revenant finished at No. 1. That was five straight weekends atop the box office for a single studio (Fox) with three different films. This weekend, it was Warner Bros. turn. The Meg started it off on August 10. It was followed by three weeks of Crazy Rich Asians. And The Nun just took over.
When James Wan introduced the universe of The Conjuring in the summer of 2013 it opened to a huge $41 million and a total gross of $137 million. A year later, its world was expanded with a prequel to its prologue with Annabelle. It opened to $37.1 million. Two years later The Conjuring 2 opened to $40 million on its way to $100 million, and in 2017 Annabelle: Creation started with $35 million and finished with over $102 million. This is a $1.2 billion franchise for Wan and Warner Bros., and that number only grew this weekend when The Nun bested all of their starts.
The Nun’s $53.5 million weekend was the second best of any film to open in September behind just last year’s It. No film has opened to $50 million or higher and failed to reach $100 million, and it would take a massive rejection of the film from here on out for it not to hit that. (Paranormal Activity 3 opened to $52 million and made just $104 million.) That would make it just the 14th R-rated horror film to pass that milestone. Only five have ever grossed $108 million or more (It, The Exorcist, Get Out, The Blair Witch Project, and The Conjuring). Despite the film getting the worst critical response with a 28% Tomatometer score (Annabelle was 29%), the film’s worldwide total stands around $124 million and we will track its progress in the record books right here over the coming weeks.
Despite a week’s worth of TV ads that you could not avoid, STX still could not get one-time buttkicker Jennifer Garner to best one-time buttkicker Bruce Willis in their respective 2018 revenge flicks. Garner’s Peppermint opened to just $13.3 million, putting it right on par with her Daredevil spin-off Elektra ($12.8 million) and also Bruce Willis’ Death Wish remake from this past March, which opened to $13 million. Director Pierre Morel’s release could not beat the 17% score of Eli Roth’s film, as Peppermint garnered just a 13%. That’s three pretty weak returns in a row for STX after Mile 22 and The Happytime Murders. Even with Peppermint’s production budget reportedly somewhere around $25 million, it is going to take some international help to have a return on its investment.
With another $13.6 million this weekend, Crazy Rich Asians remains about $19 million ahead of the pace of The Help, which puts its final estimate somewhere between $185 million–$190 million now. Last week’s Sundance thriller, Searching, with John Cho, held firm in the fifth place slot with just a 25% drop. It is now the fouth highest grossing film from the festival this year with its sights now on Sorry to Bother You and Won’t You Be My Neighbor next. Hereditary tops that list with $44 million.
Also in big money news, Mission: Impossible – Fallout has risen to over $726.6 million worldwide and is now the highest-grossing film of the franchise. Those still holding out hope for a sequel to The Meg, the Jason Statham shark film has passed $130 million in the States and nearly $492 million worldwide. It may need a GoFundMe page from fans to grab the final $48 million needed to put it into the black.
We saw the biggest September opening of all-time on this weekend. The big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s It opened to $123.4 million — we’re talking by nearly a full $75 million more than the previous champ (Hotel Transylvania 2’s $48.46 million). Home Again with Reese Witherspoon finished second. With $8.5 million. That is less than It grossed on its fifth weekend on its way to become the seventh highest grossing film of 2017. The Top 10 last year grossed $153 million and had an average critical score of 63.6%. This year’s total from the weekend was $105.4 million with an average of 67.4%.
The first on-screen victim of The Predator, Shane Black, returns to direct and co-write (with his Monster Squad partner Fred Dekker) the next chapter. Angelina Jolie does not return to direct the continuing story of Louis Zamperini in Unbroken: Path to Redemption. Paul Feig takes a stab at a crime drama with A Simple Favor and Matthew McConaughey tries another ’80s true story with White Boy Rick.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]