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BO Sept 23-25

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With the overall weekend gross being down 25% compared to this time last year and in a year where audiences have been vehemently opposed to remakes at times, Sony can breathe a sigh of relief with The Magnificent Seven‘s satisfactory take of $35 million to top the box office over the weekend. However, that haul is some way short of the $40 million plus some analysists were predicting and it’s looking like Antoine Fuqua’s remake will probably finish its run with around $100 million to its name domestically, which should see it comfortably out of the flop zone that certain other remakes have been condemned to in recent months.

The Magnificent Seven won’t have been helped by its lukewarm critical reception (62% on Rotten Tomatoes) but it does at least show that a “traditional” western is still commercially viable (the biggest successes in the genre this century have come from the decidedly untraditional outings of Django Unchained and The Revenant). One could have expected a bigger take based on some of the big names involved but again this is perhaps proof that star power is waning with modern audiences and simply isn’t enough to break into the realm of top earners currently dominated by legacy properties and cutesie animation.

Speaking of which, WB’s Storks did reasonable business over the weekend to bring in nearly $22 million but this is far from spectacular for animated fare these days and Warner’s would have hoped for at least $5 million more from it. On a weekend where Pixar’s mega-hit Finding Dory moved ever closer to a worldwide take of $1 billion and up to third place in this year’s top grosses, it shows how competitive the animation space really is. Indeed, audiences are being sated almost weekly with a new CGI offering so getting critics on your side is often invaluable to such films but Storks could only muster 51% on Rotten Tomatoes and has no doubt hurt its cause somewhat. Rumour has it that WB saw this a potential franchise starter but that will now depend entirely on how it holds out over the next few weeks.

Moving on to the holdovers making up the rest of the top ten, Sully continues to impress with another short drop off of 36% to finish in third and can be one of the few September releases to be genuinely pleased with its performance alongside Screen Gem’s horror hit, Don’t Breathe, which managed to stay in the top ten with a similar drop off. The news isn’t so good for two of last week’s holdovers: Universal’s Bridget Jones’ Baby could only manage a paltry $4.5 million in its second week, likewise Lionsgate’s Blair Witch tumbled out of the top 5 over its second weekend and about the only positive Lionsgate can take from this abortive attempt to kickstart the found footage franchise is its minuscule production budget.

Elsewhere, Oliver Stone’s Snowden did respectable business once again to finish in fifth and Open Road Films can be reasonably satisfied with the film’s revenue so far given how much it was bounced around the release schedule. And finally, Suicide Squad continues to take in a few million but it’s looking like it will just fall short of its predecessor, Batman vs. Superman, with neither coming close to that fanciful $1 billion target WB had set for them with both having to settle for around three-quarters of that princely sum.

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