We enter the third weekend of the fall movie season, and while week one was a disaster, week two was a polar opposite record-breaking weekend. Now as we head into the third weekend of the fall season, we’re looking at a similar outcome as the previous week, and we have two new releases going wide: American Assassin and mother!, both of which I think will have their place at the box office, but neither are looking at a spectacular debut, and both will pale in comparison to It‘s numbers. Okay, let’s get going.
Where do we begin with It? About the only thing about what I was setting up last week that hasn’t lived up to or surpassed expectations is my stock market claims: I’ve said Time Warner’s stock would soar, but so far it’s gone up a couple bucks but then that’s it. Sometimes it takes a while, give it time. Anyways, we’ll get back to how It did last weekend and we’ll talk about what It will do this weekend. Well, as we’ve seen for many films with record-setting releases, that doesn’t always mean a small fall the next weekend, so after last weekend I’m anticipating It will be very front-heavy and we’re looking at a 65% drop and a second weekend of $43.1 million.
Second place will likely go to the new action/thriller American Assassin, opening this weekend. The stars of the film include Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, and Taylor Kitsch, which isn’t a big cast by any means, but still it’s gonna attract some people. It’s also an adaptation of a fairly popular novel series, so that will help bring in some folks, plus action fans haven’t had a lot to look forward to lately, so I think there’s positives to it. In the negative, though, reviews aren’t strong with 39% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the marketing campaign has been satisfactory, but nothing special. Tracking has the film hitting $14.5 million, and I’m gonna go down a bit for that and predict $13 million. Hitting 3,154 theaters, the film’s headed for a per-theater average of $4,122.
Third place is going to Darren Aronofsky’s latest, mother!, which some are saying will surprise us this weekend, and there’s an opportunity that it does over-perform. We’ve got quite a cast in this one: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, and Kristen Wiig, and while he’s not a terrific box office draw, Aronofsky has his big fans. The marketing for the film has been pretty in the dark about the plot of the film, but effective nonetheless. And critics are pretty much liking it with 75% of Rotten Tomatoes’ critics giving it the thumbs up. However, while you’d think being in direct competition with It would help it because it’s a new film and everybody’s seen It, I disagree. It has been an absolute powerhouse at the box office, and will continue to be through the rest of the month and potentially through Halloween. Those who were on the fence about seeing It and haven’t seen it yet might this weekend, and since mother! is not opening that wide, 2,368 theaters, I’m going with $10 million even. Tracking is at $11.2 million, so I’m going a bit lower, but I could end up reading this thing all wrong. And the per-theater average will be $4,223.
And now for the fourth and fifth place positions, I’m going with holdovers Home Again, falling 45% and making another $4.7 million, and then The Hitman’s Bodyguard spending one more trip in the top five circle, which I see earning another $2.6 million, down 45% as well.
Finally we’ll speak about the top five at last weekend’s box office. Hmm, not much to see here. Oh, wait. It has pretty much re-written the records books for any and all fall releases with an incredible, unbelievable, never before seen opening weekend of $123.4 million. I should have gone higher, then it would look a little better. My number was close to half of this, $67 million, so that’s embarrassing, though to be fair nobody out there could have predicted a number as high as $123 million. It not only broke records for greatest opening of a fall film, biggest September opening, biggest horror opening, it also was the largest opening in New Line Cinema’s history. True, they co-produced with Warner Brothers, but still, that’s noteworthy, considering The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003) are considered some of the best films of the last decade. Now, we can sit down and talk about how and why this happened, and I think national mood, lack of competition, lack of box office in the prior four weeks, marketing, etc., but there’s many, many other possibilities. Moving on, second place went to Home Again, which I thought would do better than it did with $8.5 million. I had it at $11.5 million. Third place was for holdover The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which earned another $4.8 million, lower than my $6.3 million prediction. Fourth place was for Annabelle: Creation, making another $4 million. I had it in fifth place making $3 million. And in fifth place Wind River, which was my fourth place predict, earning another $3.1 million. I had it at $4.9 million, so that one didn’t live up. All right, no doubt It will be number one again, and there is a possibility it tops Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)’s opening weekend previous record in It‘s second weekend, which would be another one for the history books, but again I’m thinking more front-loaded. We’ll see what happens.