In a nearly unprecedented series of events, there was a three-way tie for #1 at the weekend box office up until the last minute.  Newcomer Doug Liman’s ‘American Made’ starring Tom Cruise gave serious competition to last week’s Top Two, ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ and ‘It’.  In a startling turn of events, at the last minute, ‘It’ actually scared its way back to #1 after being usurped last week by ‘Kingsman’.  ‘It’ grossed an additional $17.3 million, and internationally, hit another milestone, crossing the $500M mark.

Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing and distribution for New Line said:

“Crossing $500 million is rarified air for any film, but for a horror film it is history-making, and we could not be prouder.  The filmmakers and cast did more than make a box office hit; they created a communal, must-see moviegoing event that has reverberated around the globe and is still going strong.  We congratulate Andy Muschietti, the extraordinary producing team, and everyone involved in ‘IT’ on reaching this amazing milestone.”

Keep in mind that despite the tight competition, $17M isn’t stellar for any of the three.  Overall, it was a weaker than expected weekend in theaters.

Despite critical acclaim (87% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), ‘American Made’ just couldn’t soar past the current crop of hits.  The fight for second place came down to the wire.  Both ‘American Made’ and ‘Kingsman’ made $17M, but it appears that ‘American Made’ took in a scant $16,000 more to take #2, edging ‘Kingsman’ to #3.

It’s interesting that ‘American Made’ has gotten such great reviews yet did more poorly than last year’s ‘Jack Reacher 2’, which critics hated.  There is increasing scrutiny on the impact of Rotten Tomatoes and other aggregate sites on public perception, but films like this tend to underscore that while reviews can influence interest, they don’t dictate it.

‘It’ and ‘Kingsman’ scored with the valuable younger moviegoers.  ‘American Made”s audience was only 9% under the age of 25!  There were a few other factors that worked against it, one being that this true story is another drug running action comedy, too similar to the likes of ‘Savages’ and ‘War Dogs’.  In fact, there is speculation that some even felt it wasn’t worth it to head to theaters to see this when they could switch on Netflix at home and watch ‘Narcos’ or ‘Breaking Bad’.

The film has already opened in some foreign markets and has done $81.7M in business.  The big difference is that overseas, Tom Cruise is still a bankable star.  Cruise alone cannot draw audiences in the U.S., but then again, the same is honestly true of most “movie stars.”  But as the attendance for ‘American Made’ indicates, younger viewers have zero interest in this former Top Gun.

Speaking of younger audiences, they also had zero interest in Sony/Cross Creek’s ‘Flatliners’, the ill-conceived remake of the 1990 thriller.  The original benefited from being the first Julia Roberts-starring film to follow her breakout role in ‘Pretty Woman’.  Even though it was a success and retains a cult following, it’s not a movie that still stands out like other horror classics from the same era.  Fans of the original had no interest in this reboot, starring pretty twenty-somethings and those under 25 had largely never even heard of it.

While ‘Flatliners’ was dead on arrival with a lousy $6.7M, earning the #5 spot, it managed to score an even more dubious “honor” a perfect ZERO% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Nope, not ONE good review!  That’s… something.  Wow.

With ‘Kingsman’ at #3, that leaves ‘The LEGO Ninjago Movie’ at #4.  Despite the domestic slip, ‘Kingsman’ is still the #1 movie in the world this weekend.

  1. It (New Line/Warner Brothers) – $17.3M
  2. American Made (Universal) – $17.0016M
  3. Kingsman: The Golden Circle (20th Century Fox) – $17M
  4. The LEGO Ninjago Movie (Warner Brothers) – $12M
  5. Flatliners (Sony) – $6.7M

Next week welcomes ‘Blade Runner 2049’ which is tracking to open huge.  Its advance ticket sales have surpassed those of ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and ‘Arrival’ two other fall hits from the past couple of years.  Killer reviews are helping drive anticipation of this sequel to the 1982 classic.

Just how well will it do?  Check back to find out.

Source: Deadline