This weekend, ‘It’ broke another few records. After last week, you may wonder what was left, but with a $60 million total, this marks the best second weekend for September and the second-best weekend for September. Er… that is, the best weekend for a movie in its second weekend, and the second-best weekend overall. Of course, the best weekend was last, when ‘It’ opened to $123.5M. With a cumulative gross of $218.7M, ‘It’ is the biggest September movie of all time.
Going backward a bit, ‘It’ proved too mighty to stop breaking records after opening weekend. Andy Muscietti’s horror behemoth raked in $8.8M on Monday, a new high for any Monday in September, topping ‘The Sixth Sense’s $6.37M in 1999. It actually picked up on Tuesday, earning another $11.4M, the best September Tuesday of all time, besting last year’s ‘Sully’ ($4.8M). That’s also the fourth highest Tuesday for the span between Labor Day and December, falling behind ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2’ ($11.77M, Nov. 20 2012), ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1’ ($12.1M, Nov. 25 2014) and ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ ($15.96M, November 26, 2013). ‘It’ is now the highest-grossing movie ever made based on a Stephen King book.
On the flip side, audiences F’ing hated Paramount’s ‘mother!’, with a capital F, as in that’s what this movie ranked according to CinemaScore exit polls. This is unheard of! To clarify, in the words of CinemaScore founder Ed Mintz:
“A’s generally are good, B’s generally are shaky, and C’s are terrible. D’s and F’s, they shouldn’t have made the movie, or they promoted it funny and the absolute wrong crowd got into it.”
PostTrak’s reactions were slightly kinder, with audiences giving this film a 51% positive ranking and 33% definite recommend. Those scores are still pretty terrible but better than CinemaScore’s findings. Normally, audiences are much kinder than critics, but this case is the exact opposite. ‘mother!’, starring Jennifer Lawrence and directed by her boyfriend Darren Aronofsky, is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with a decent enough 68%.
Speaking of misleading promotion, the film was marketed as a horror movie, but it really doesn’t live up to that and is instead a slow-building thriller which unfortunately devolves into what some are calling “torture porn” toward the end. Making it worse, as it turns out, this film is described as a Christian allegory but by most accounts, it’s particularly offensive to Christians, especially Catholics. (Then again, keep in mind, Aronofsky directed ‘Noah’ which had the Old Testament ark-builder fighting rock monsters, so maybe Biblical interpretation isn’t his strong suit.)
‘mother!’ earned $7.8M (against a predicted $11M) and came in at a disappointing third place, on a reported budget of $30M+. (This is likely a low ball estimate, as Lawrence alone earns $15M per picture.) This marks her worst opening, even lower than 2012’s ‘The House at the End of the Street’ ($12.3M) which came out before her ‘Hunger Games’ fame. That brings up another F-word: Flop.
This allowed ‘American Assassin’ to take the #2 spot with $15.5M. The film got a B+ CinemaScore and PostTrak rankings of 67% positive and 43% recommend. Overall, not bad but not stellar. Critics hated it though, with a 36% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes. The largest demographic was predictably men, but in a slight case of déjà vu younger females turned out because it featured ‘Teen Wolf’ heartthrob Dylan O’Brien. The same thing happened in July when an unusually large female audience showed up for ‘Dunkirk’ which included One Direction’s Harry Styles among the cast. It’s believed that ‘American Assassin’ siphoned off some of Lawrence’s female fans, who opted for this movie over her turn as a terrified victim instead of her usual tough lead roles.
Here’s the Top Five:
- It (New Line/Warner Brothers) – $60M
- American Assassin (CBS/Lionsgate) – $15.5M
- mother! (Paramount) – $7.8M
- Home Again (Open Road) – $5.3M
- The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Lionsgate) – $3.5M
‘It’ took a respectable 51% drop at the box office in its second week. It may still be able to hold onto #1 next week, but there are two strong competitors opening. Perhaps the movie with the best shot at taking the top spot is ‘The LEGO Ninjago Movie’. The ‘LEGO’ film brand already has two hits to its credit and there hasn’t been a major family film since ‘Leap!’ and ‘The Emoji Movie’ neither of which were very successful. Working slightly against ‘Ninjago’ that it is based on a LEGO subset which is squarely aimed at kids and doesn’t have the broad cultural appeal of ‘The LEGO Movie’ or ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’, which drew a broader audience including childless adults.
The other big opener next weekend is ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’. The first ‘Kingsman’ wasn’t a huge hit at the box office but seems to have found its audience on home video. Will that be enough to make this sequel worthwhile?
Check back and see how they fare!