'Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,' 'Boo! A Madea Halloween,' 'Ouija: Origin of Evil' take aim at 'The Accountant'
Three new wide releases vie for the top spot at the box office this weekend, as Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Boo! A Madea Halloween and Ouija: Origin of Evil are all expected to open somewhere in the mid-teens. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back will probably be the top earner; its predecessor opened soft 2012 but then did well on word-of-mouth, eventually earning $218.3 million worldwide against a $60 million budget. Reviews for Never Go Back have been solidly negative, but this is a franchise with a proven level of interest that may help counteract the critical drubbing.
The reverse is true for Ouija: Origin of Evil. The first Ouija earned $103.5 million worldwide against a $5 million budget, which is the reason we’re getting a sequel in the first place… but Ouija suffered from negative reviews and a C CinemaScore, which would seem to indicate few people who saw it are holding their breath for a sequel (or prequel, in this case). That said, handing the reins of the franchise to Oculus director Mike Flanagan has proven a good decision, creatively. Ouija: Origin of Evil has a 79% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to Ouija’s 7%, making it the best-reviewed new wide release of the weekend. Even if the first weekend is underwhelming, once word begins to get out that the Ouija prequel is actually good (no, really), things could turn around.
The final film with a shot at the top is Boo! A Madea Halloween. Reviews are bad (18% approval on Rotten Tomatoes), but that hasn’t stopped Madea movies before. This one will probably open on par with Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas' $16 million opening in 2013. Along with the three aforementioned films, The Accountant and The Girl on the Train will likely hang around in the top five, leaving new wide release number four Keeping Up with the Joneses in the dust. That film, an action comedy from director Greg Mottola, should sail on a wave of tepid reviews to an underwhelming opening gross of $5-$7 million. That would put it on par with Joneses co-star Zach Galifianakis' Masterminds, which opened to a disappointing $6.5 million last month.
Moving down to limited releases, Pure Flix is bringing their faith-based Columbine school shooting film I’m Not Ashamed to 505 theatres. It will likely open in the $1-$2 million range. A24’s awards contender Moonlight tests the waters in four theatres, in advance of a future expansion; the gay coming-of-age drama, directed by Barry Jenkins, got two Gotham Awards nominations and a special ensemble cast award earlier this week. Also new to theatres are American Pastoral, the directorial debut of Ewan McGregor; Ti West’s Western homage In a Valley of Violence; Korean auteur Park Chan-Wook's The Handmaiden; and the Michael Moore doc Michael Moore in TrumpLand, the existence of which was announced only a few days ago.