Tyler Perry’s horror-comedy sequel “Boo 2! A Madea Halloween” is providing the only bright spot on a downbeat weekend with about $23 million at 2,388 North American locations, early estimates showed Friday.
Four other new films are showing little traction among moviegoers. The most prominent is costly weather disaster drama “Geostorm,” which is heading for a financial disaster with an opening weekend of $13 million at 3,246 venues for Warner Bros. The studio — which had forecasted a finish in the $10 million to $12 million range — took the unusual step of not holding Thursday night previews, as it had not held screenings for critics.
Sony’s opening of firefighting drama “Only the Brave” is heading for about $6 million at 2,575 locations — a disappointing result, given its $38 million budget. Universal’s murder mystery “The Snowman” is faring even worse with about $5 million at 1,813 North American theaters, well below muted estimates in the $8 million to $12 million range. And Pure Flix’s faith-based “Same Kind of Different as Me” is underperforming with a quiet $2 million at 1,250 sites.
Lionsgate’s “Boo 2” should be down about 20% from the year-ago returns of the original “Boo! A Madea Halloween,” which won the weekend easily over “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” with $28.5 million and finished with $73 million domestically. The sequel, set at a haunted campground, is directed by, written by, and also stars Perry in his ninth iteration as the tough-talking Madea.
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“Boo 2” is a fairly low-risk project for Lionsgate, with a combined production cost and marketing spend in the $20 million range. Lionsgate is likely to dominate the box office next weekend during the pre-Halloween period with the opening of “Jigsaw,” its eighth movie in the “Saw” franchise, and the second weekend of “Boo 2.”
“Geostorm,” starring Gerard Butler and Jim Sturgess, is particularly painful this weekend due to its reported $100 million budget, co-financed by Warner Bros. and Skydance Media. The film, directed by Dean Devlin, is set in a near future where climate-controlling satellites malfunction, triggering massive storms — which may have dampened moviegoer interest in the wake of the recent massive damage from hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
The hopes for “Geostorm” will now rest on the international market. The film is being released this weekend in 50 overseas markets, including Germany, Russia, Korea, Brazil, Australia, Spain, U.K., and Mexico.
“The Snowman” appears to have been done in partly by dismal reviews, resulting in an 11% score on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s based on Jo Nesbø’s best-seller about the hunt to capture an ingenious serial killer in Norway and is produced by Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner as well as Piodor Gustafsson and Robyn Slovo. Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Val Kilmer, and J.K. Simmons star in the movie, directed by Tomas Alfredson.
It’s an opposite situation for “Only the Brave,” based on the true story of the 19 Arizona firefighters who died in the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire. Initial reviews for “Only the Brave” have been stellar, earning it a 90% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but moviegoers appear to have little interest. It’s possible that the recent massive Northern California wildfires — which left 42 dead and destroyed 5,700 structures — may have prevented moviegoers from being engaged.
Black Label Media financed “Only the Brave” and opted to move the film from Lionsgate to Sony last spring following disagreements over marketing. The film stars Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Taylor Kitsch, James Badge Dale, and Jennifer Connelly.
“Same Kind of Different as Me” had been in the works at Paramount, but the studio opted out earlier this year and the project was picked up by faith-based specialist Pure Flix. The drama is toplined by Greg Kinnear, Renée Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Olivia Holt, Jon Voight, and Stephanie Leigh Schlund with Kinnear’s character befriending a homeless man (played by Hounsou) in order to try to save his marriage.
The second weekend of Universal’s low-budget “Happy Death Day” should finish in the $9 million to $10 million range following a strong $26.5 million opening. Warner Bros.’ third frame of “Blade Runner 2049” will probably follow in third with around $7 million. The science-fiction sequel has grossed $66.9 million domestically in its first two weeks.