While Universal’s The Girl on the Train comfortably reached the top spot this weekend, its take of just under $25 million is a little disappointing but possibly inevitable given its critical mauling (44% on rottentomatoes.com). It’s a decent enough opening for the thriller but it will face serious competition next weekend from WB’s The Accountant, so a sustained run looks unlikely for it. It also fell some $13 million short of Gone Girl’s opening two years ago; a film that The Girl on the Train clearly hoped to emulate both in style and performance. The weekend’s two other new wide releases, Birth of a Nation and Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, failed to bother the top 5 and finished 6th and 7th respectively.
Holdovers dominate the rest of the top 5 with Miss Peregrine’s and Deepwater Horizons performing as expected with drop offs around 45% as they both fall one place from last weekend. The Magnificent Seven continues to do solid business to finish 4th and has now taken $75 million domestically putting it on course to go over $100 million in the US, which should satisfy Sony with its performance. And WB’s Storks rounds off the top 5 with another decent weekend take of $8.5 million.
The bigger story once again, though, is the box office overall fell nearly 9% compared to its equivalent last year. The autumn season has been crying out for sleeper hit like The Martian last year but it doesn’t look like we’re going to be seeing one anytime soon. Obviously, Hurricane Matthew will have caused a dip in revenue on the East Coast and it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the election is hogging a vast amount of audience share currently with the weekend media dominated by last night’s debate and THAT recording of Trump surfacing on Friday.
Such things mean it’s still too early to be writing hysterical headlines like “Cinema is dead!” and so forth, and we’ve yet to see any true tent-pole releases collapse this year but the canvas is starting to weigh heavy on those coming up in the Holiday season, like Dr. Strange and Star Wars: Rogue One. But there’s little doubt that, over the last 6 weeks there have been too many releases falling short of their projections and not enough surpassing theirs to compensate, so it’s a situation that should be filed under “concerning” for the time being.
Yet, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel for October with Jack Reacher: Never Go Back looking to carry on the success of its popular predecessor; Tom Hanks reprising Robert Langdon in Inferno is pretty much a banker for at least $150 million domestically; and, with Halloween coming up, Ouija: The Origin of Evil could be a big surprise at the box office thanks to its very promising trailer.
However, while Clinton Vs. Trump continues to keep US audiences occupied, the movies might just have to take a backseat until after November 8th.