In the second slowest weekend this year, horror titles dominated the pre-Halloween box with Lionsgate’s opening of “Jigsaw” leading the way at a respectable $16.3 million at 2,941 North American locations.
The second weekend of “Boo 2! A Madea Halloween,” also from Lionsgate, turned in a solid performance with $10 million at 2,388 sites, but no other title cleared the $6 million mark. Matt Damon’s “Suburbicon” struggled with a dismal $2.8 million at 2,046 sites and Miles Teller’s “Thank You For Your Service” finished with $3.7 million at 2,054 theaters; both came in below what were modest forecasts in their launch weekends.
“Jigsaw” is the eighth title in the “Saw” franchise, which centers on the deranged killer played by Tobin Bell. Audiences gave the movie a B Cinemascore, and the film made about $4 million less than projected in its launch weekend. The movie, which has a budget around $10 million, is set a decade after the death of Jigsaw as police investigate a series of gruesome murders that fit the Jigsaw style.
“Saw” launched in October, 2004. with James Wan directing and Lionsgate released a film in every year through 2010 with “Saw 3D.” David Spitz, Lionsgate’s domestic distribution president, noted that the studio relied on that history in marketing “Jigsaw.”
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“This franchise has a very loyal fan base with nearly $1 billion worldwide,” he added. “Historically, the films of the Saw franchise have always benefitted from a Halloween launch.”
“Boo 2,” starring Tyler Perry as Madea, declined 53% from its opening weekend and will wind up with $35.5 million in its first 10 days. It’s Perry’s ninth film as Madea, dating back to 2005’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.”
Warner Bros.’ second weekend of weather disaster tale “Geostorm” finished a distant third with a 59% decline to $5.6 million at 3,246 venues, followed by Universal’s third weekend of “Happy Death Day” with $4.7 million. Warner’s fourth weekend of “Blade Runner” snagged fifth place with $4 million at 2,421 sites and “Thank You for Your Service,” produced by DreamWorks Pictures and released by Universal, came in sixth in its opening weekend.
“Thank You for Your Service” follows a group of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq who struggle to integrate back into family and civilian life. Teller stars along with Haley Bennett, Joe Cole, Amy Schumer, Beulah Koale, Scott Haze, and Keisha Castle-Hughes. Universal promoted the film heavily in areas nearly military bases.
“Suburbicon,” which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, centers on the dark side of a prototypical suburban community in 1959. Audiences were unimpressed and gave the comedy-drama a D- Cinemascore. Paramount acquired U.S. distribution rights last year for $10 million with Black Bear Pictures financing.
“Suburbicon” is the lowest opening for a movie directed by George Clooney and the second-lowest opening for a movie starring Damon after 2000’s “All the Pretty Horses.” It finished in ninth place behind the second weekend of “Only the Brave” at $3.5 million and the third weekend of “The Foreigner” at $3.2 million.
The overall domestic weekend is heading for a disappointing total of about $75 million, according to comScore. The only lower 2017 weekend was the final frame of August with a total of $69.3 million.
October has been a rough month so far with $539.1 million, down 13.4% as of Sunday, and the year-to-date total is $8.73 billion — down 5% from the year-ago total. Business should pick up next weekend with the opening of “Thor: Ragnarok” expected to open with $125 million.
“It’s been another really slow weekend for a month of October that has seen a ton of product with both big and small released into theaters with a seemingly indifferent (and distracted) audience that is clearly waiting for the Holiday blockbuster and Oscar season to motivate them toward the multiplexes,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore. “The World Series and ‘Stranger Things’ certainly were major small screen distractions over one of the lowest grossing weekends of the year thus far.”
New Line’s eighth weekend of horror-blockbuster “It” finished in 10th with $2.5 million, lifting its total to $323.7 million. “It,” which led the September box office to a record, is the 54th top domestic grosser of all time.
Atlas Distribution’s faith-based “Let There Be Light,” executive produced by Fox News’ Sean Hannity and directed by Kevin Sorbo, opened solidly in 11th place in limited release with $1.8 million at 373 screens. The story centers on an atheist who has a near-death experience.
Magnolia’s launch of Swedish drama “The Square,” which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in May, generated an impressive $76,000 at four locations in New York and Los Angeles.