×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Box Office: ‘Girl on the Train’ Speeds Past ‘Birth of a Nation’ on Friday

“The Girl on the Train” is tracking for a $26.5 million opening weekend after earning $9.4 million on Friday at 3,144 locations. Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation,” meanwhile, is not faring as well.

Friday totals show Fox Searchlight’s controversial film about Nat Turner earned $2.6 million at 2,105 theaters, and is heading for an opening weekend of about $8 million.

Lionsgate and CBS’s “Middle Schoool: The Worst Years of My Life” opened to $2 million at 2,822 locations on Friday, which should grow to $6.4 million by the end of the weekend.

“The Girl on the Train” stars Blunt as a woman whose post-divorce life slowly disintegrates amid murder accusations. The film is directed by “The Help” helmer Tate Taylor, and also stars Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Edgar Ramirez and Lisa Kudrow. Produced by DreamWorks Pictures, “The Girl on the Train” is the first film to be released under Universal’s new partnership with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners. It carries a production budget of about $40 million.

The thriller is based on Paula Hawkins’ bestselling novel, which was frequently labeled as “the next ‘Gone Girl'” when it was released in 2015. In fact, two years ago during the first weekend in October David Fincher’s “Gone Girl” adapted from Gillian Flynn’s novel, reaped a $37.5 million opening.

The Birth of a Nation” is co-written, directed and stars Nate Parker as Nat Turner, who led a slave revolt in 1831. The film has a 79% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Fox Searchlight purchased rights to “The Birth of a Nation” at Sundance for $17.5 million — the largest deal ever made at the festival.

Since the acquisition Parker has embarked on a treacherous press tour, rife with controversy over the 1999 trial of Parker and his former Penn State roommate and “Birth of a Nation” co-writer Jean Celestin, who were accused and later acquitted of raping a fellow student. The unidentified woman committed suicide in 2012.

“Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life” is based on the 2011 novel by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts. Steve Carr directs the film from a script written by Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer and Kara Holden. Griffin Gluck and Lauren Graham star in the comedy about a middle schooler (Gluck) who discovers that school is not as glamorous as he expected, and becomes determined to stand up to and humiliate his strict principal played by Andy Daly.

The second weekend of 20th Century Fox’s “Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children” is expected to finish second overall behind “The Girl on the Train” at about $15 million. The second weekend of Lionsgate’s “Deepwater Horizon” is expected to take third with $11 million.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Johnnie To Quits Taiwan Golden Horse

    Johnnie To Quits Golden Horse Awards as China Builds Pressure

    Leading Hong Kong film maker Johnnie To has dropped out of the Golden Horse Awards, where he was set to be president of the jury deciding the prize winners. The awards, which take place and are organized from Taiwan, have long been considered the most prestigious prized in Chinese-language cinema. However they are currently under [...]

  • Zeroville

    Film Review: 'Zeroville'

    I’m tired of hearing how some novels are “impossible to adapt.” Balderdash! Just because some books don’t lend themselves to being translated from page to screen doesn’t mean that the attempt ought not to be made. Just ask James Franco, who’s shown a speed freak’s determination to tackle some of the unlikeliest literary adaptations of [...]

  • Red Penguins review

    Toronto Film Review: 'Red Penguins'

    “Red Penguins” is a cautionary tale with particular resonance in the context of our current bizarre intertwining with Russia, the country that interfered in the last U.S. presidential election and is led by the POTUS’ apparent BFF. This wild tale of attempted transnational commerce just after the demise of the USSR in the 1990s chronicles [...]

  • Danny Ramirez'On My Block' TV show

    Danny Ramirez to Star in Film Adaptation of 'Root Letter' Video Game (EXCLUSIVE)

    An English-language film adaptation of Japanese video game “Root Letter,” starring Danny Ramirez, is in production in the U.S. through Akatsuki Entertainment USA. Besides Ramirez (“Top Gun: Maverick,” “Assassination Nation”), the film stars Keana Marie (“Huge in France,” “Live in Pieces”) and Lydia Hearst (“The Haunting of Sharon Tate,” “Z Nation”). With a screenplay by [...]

  • Screen writer Beau WillimonMary Queen of

    Beau Willimon Re-Elected as President of Writers Guild of America East

    Beau Willimon, the playwright and showrunner who launched Netflix’s “House of Cards,” has been re-elected without opposition to a two-year term as president of the Writers Guild of America East. Willimon also ran unopposed in 2017 to succeed Michael Winship. Kathy McGee was elected to the vice president slot over Phil Pilato. Secretary-treasurer Bob Schneider [...]

  • Running With the Devil review

    Film Review: 'Running With the Devil'

    A retired Navy SEAL who for a time was a military advisor on the Colombian drug trade, Jason Cabell conceived his first solo feature as writer-director to tell the story of that particular commerce “from the point of view of the drugs.” The result isn’t exactly a docudrama indictment like “Traffic,” a thriller a la [...]

  • Sweetheart review

    Blumhouse's 'Sweetheart' Sets October Digital Release From Universal (EXCLUSIVE)

    After making waves at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the Blumhouse project “Sweetheart” is set to hit digital and on demand platforms. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will offer the film on all major streaming hubs and paid video on demand come Oct. 22, unleashing the creature feature which stars Kiersey Clemons in a harrowing tale [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content