LOS ANGELES – After a record-breaking September and the massive success of New Line Cinema’s “It,” the October box office brought a series of major flops and disappointments.
“This has been a really rough month at the box office,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at measurement firm ComScore. “All the momentum that was gained in September was pretty much lost in October.”
Ticket sales were down 13 percent compared to last October, grossing $539 million compared to 2016’s $622.6 million, which has done nothing to help remedy the overall year-to-date box office deficit. “We’re left with 2 months in this box office year to make up a 5 percent deficit,” said Dergarabedian. “That’s going to be really tough.”
Despite 16 new wide releases in October – including disappointments such as “Blade Runner 2049” and “Geostorm” and complete nonstarters such as “The Snowman,” “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women” and the weekend’s “Suburbicon” – nothing could touch last month’s monster success “It,” which has grossed $323.7 million domestically to date.
This weekend’s $75 million gross is one of the lowest of the year.
“It’s all about momentum at the box office,” said Dergarabedian. “None of the films released this month really ignited much excitement.”
Next month, a higher profile and more diverse spate of films is expected to ignite that spark, with anticipation especially high for the release of superhero franchise entries “Thor: Ragnarok” from Disney and Marvel, and Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment’s “Justice League.”
“November could be a monster,” said Dergarabedian. “And we need it.”
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“Between ‘Thor’ and ‘Justice League’ alone, I think this could, ironically enough, be one of the biggest Novembers ever,” he said. “The sheer excitement surrounding both of these movies is maybe a case of a lot of moviegoers just waiting for November to come along to get them back into the theater.”
November 2016 produced three titles that grossed more than $200 million in the U.S.: “Doctor Strange,” “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and “Moana.”
This year, family-friendly films Disney-Pixar’s “Coco” and Sony’s “The Star,” and a pair of sequels to sleeper hit comedies — Paramount’s “Daddy’s Home 2” and STX Entertainment’s “A Bad Moms Christmas” — are also hoping to lure moviegoers back into theaters. Fox also offers the star-studded mystery “Murder on the Orient Express.”
“Everything can change,” said Dergarabedian. “What a difference a week can make.”
Over the weekend, horror and Halloween-themed films led the box office before the Oct. 31 holiday with Lionsgate’s latest, “Jigsaw,” coming out on top while the George Clooney-helmed “Suburbicon” proved to be a massive disappointment.
“Jigsaw,” the eighth installment in the popular “Saw” franchise, scared up an estimated $16.2 million in the U.S. and Canada, below analysts’ expectations of $20 million or more, according to figures from ComScore.
Directed by Michael and Peter Spierig, the R-rated “Jigsaw” follows, in reviewer Noel Murray’s words, “bad folks stuck in an elaborate torture chamber” and earned an average B rating from audience polling service CinemaScore and a 39 percent “rotten” rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
“Jigsaw” comes seven years after “Saw VII: The Final Chapter,” once intended to wrap the franchise, and 13 years after the first “Saw” film.
Dropping one spot since last week was “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween,” also by Lionsgate, which brought in $10 million over the weekend, a 53 percent decline. The film has a cumulative total of $35.5 million.
Now in its second week, “Boo 2!” garnered mixed reviews from audiences and critics, earning an A-minus rating on CinemaScore and a dismal 7 percent “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Warner Bros.’ environmental disaster thriller “Geostorm,” also in its second week, came in third, slipping one spot. It brought in an additional $5.7 million, a 59 percent drop since opening, giving it a total of $23.5 million.
In fourth place, Blumhouse’s horror film “Happy Death Day” added $5 million, a 46 percent drop since last week. In three weeks, the film has earned a total of $48.4 million.
Rounding out the top five was Alcon Entertainment’s “Blade Runner 2049,” now in its fourth week and adding $4 million to its earnings, a 46 percent dip. To date, the sci-fi film has taken in $81.4 million.
A sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi cult classic “Blade Runner,” about a futuristic society where androids known as replicants are almost indistinguishable from humans, the $150 million film earned an A-minus rating on CinemaScore and an 88 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The weekend’s other notable newcomer, Paramount’s “Suburbicon,” debuted with $2.8 million.
Starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, the $25 million madcap comedy is set in a suburb in the ‘50s in the aftermath of a crime. Directed by George Clooney with a screenplay originally written by Joel and Ethan Coen and revised by Clooney and Grant Heslov, the film was unpopular with both audiences and critics, earning an unusual D-minus on CinemaScore and a “rotten” 26 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Los Angeles Times critic Justin Chang called its indictment of white privilege “condescending.”
Universal’s drama “Thank You for Your Service” also premiered over the weekend with $3.7 million. Following a group of American soldiers returning home from Iraq, the film earned an A-minus rating on CinemaScore and a 77 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Miles Teller stars.
In limited release, Open Road premiered “All I See Is You,” starring Blake Lively. The film opened in 283 locations and brought in an anemic $153,504. Directed by Marc Forster, the film centers on a blind woman and her husband (played by Jason Clarke) and earned a 32 percent “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Magnolia Picture’s art world satire “The Square” opened in four theaters with $76,000, for a per-screen average of $19,000. The film, which scored the top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, was directed by Ruben Ostlund and earned a 78 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” from A24, expanded to 33 locations in its second week, earning $221,532, for a per-screen average of $6,713, and a cumulative gross of $392,453. The film, which follows a surgeon who befriends a fatherless teen to frightening results, stars Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman.
This weekend, Marvel and Walt Disney premieres superhero sequel “Thor: Ragnarok,” which has already earned a mighty $107.6 million internationally.
Meanwhile, in limited release, A24 will bow Greta Gerwig’s festival favorite “Lady Bird” starring Saoirse Ronan, and Amazon and Lionsgate will debut Richard Linklater’s “Last Flag Flying” starring Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne.
©2017 Los Angeles Times
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