Tom Cruise’s “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” is heading for a narrow victory over “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween” with about $22 million at the domestic box office, early estimates showed Friday.
Paramount’s “Never Go Back” was locked in a heated battle with Lionsgate’s “Madea Halloween” for opening day supremacy with Friday grosses pointing to $8 million to $9 million for each, with weekend estimates going as high as $24 million for both. But Lionsgate, however, maintained Friday afternoon that the ninth Madea movie was heading for a finish in the $15 million range.
It will likely be the third straight weekend that the box office winner has opened in that vicinity. Ben Affleck’s “The Accountant” took in $24.7 million in its launch on Oct. 16-18 and Emily Blunt’s “The Girl on the Train” grossed $24.5 million on its opening weekend on Oct. 9-11.
Universal’s “Ouija: Origin of Evil” was looking to finish in the $12.5 million to $14 million range, where it will fight the second weekend of “The Accountant” for third place. And Fox’s action-comedy “Keeping Up With the Joneses” was performing in line with modest expectations in the $6 million to $7 million range at 3,022 locations.
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“Never Go Back” is performing above forecasts, which had pegged the opening at $19 million at 3,280 locations. It’s a respectable performance for Paramount, which has seen disappointments this year from its “Star Trek” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” franchises.
The first “Jack Reacher” was a modest hit in 2012, opening with $15.2 million and grossing $218.3 million worldwide on a $60 million budget. The second installment also costs $60 million.
Lionsgate’s “Boo!” originated from Chris Rock’s 2014 comedy “Top Five,” which mentioned a Madea Halloween movie. Perry, who originated the character in the 1999 play “I Can Do Bad All by Myself,” told Liosngate that a movie would be viable as a spoof on horror movies.
The previous eight Madea films have grossed nearly $380 million combined globally. “Boo!,” which carries a $20 million budget, had been forecast prior to its opening to finish with about $15 million at 2,260 theaters.
Universal’s “Ouija: Origin of Evil” had been projected to bring in $17 million at 3,168 sites. The first “Ouija” debuted to $19.9 million in 2014, going on to make $103.6 million globally.
“Origin of Evil” should benefit from stronger reviews than the first, which carried a 7% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The new “Ouija” enjoys a 81% “fresh” rating on the aggregation service.
Production companies for “Origin of Evil” are horror specialist Blumhouse Productions, Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes, and Hasbro. As with many Blumhouse titles, such as the “Insidious” and “Purge” franchises, “Origin of Evil” should be highly profitable, given its modest $9 million price tag.
Fox’s “Keeping Up With the Joneses” will struggle to wind up in profit, give its $40 million budget. It stars Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot as secret agents hiding out in an Atlanta suburb who get discovered by their neighbors Isla Fisher and Zach Galifianakis. Critics were unimpressed, resulting in a 16% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The fall season has been relatively disappointing for the overall business with Warner Bros.’s “Sully” emerging as the top performer with nearly $120 million in six weeks. Fall business is down about 8%, noted Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore, but should see a surge with the Nov. 4 release of Disney’s “Doctor Strange.”
“A fresh batch of sequels, including the latest from Tom Cruise (adding to what has become one of the most star-driven fall movie seasons ever), hope to collectively goose a crazy slow fall movie season into the realm of box office positivity,” he said. “As we await Election Day for perhaps the strangest presidential campaign ever, ‘Dr. Strange’ will hopefully provide the prescription for holiday season success … and boy do we need it!”