'Madea' drop kicks 'Jack Reacher' as 'Moonlight' sets per-theatre average record

ScreenerBlog
Box Office Outlook

A lackluster October managed to turn things around in its second-to-last weekend, with solid performances from a trio of new releases bumping the box office to 28% higher than it was last weekend and 20% higher than the same weekend last year. Boo! A Madea Halloween and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back both pulled in more than expected, but it was Madea who grabbed the crown. Boo!'s $27.6 million opening is one of the highest of Tyler Perry’s directorial career, behind only Madea Goes to Jail ($41 million), Madea’s Family Reunion ($30 million) and the non-Madea Why Did I Get Married Too? ($29.2 million). An A CinemaScore and the upcoming Halloween holiday should bode well for the horror comedy over the coming weeks.

In second place is action sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, which earned a more than serviceable $23 million. That’s a jump from the $15.2 million the first Jack Reacher opened to in 2012, though negative reviews and a B+ CinemaScore indicate Never Go Back probably won’t have the same box office resilience as its predecessor. Still, foreign markets made up for 63% of Jack Reacher’s worldwide gross, and Never Go Back has already earned $31 million internationally, so that bodes well. Never Go Back might not make enough to merit another sequel, but it should be able to earn back its $60 million budget quite handily.

Coming in third place is horror prequel Ouija: Origin of Evil, whose $14.06 million opening is about on par with expectations. Origin of Evil was the weekend’s best-reviewed new film, but it had working against it the fact that its predecessor, despite being a big earner, wasn't much liked by the people who saw it--hi there, C CinemaScore! Origin of Evil has a C CinemaScore, too, which indicates that word of mouth won’t be great. Still, its budget was only $9 million—Blumhouse Productions knows how to be thrifty.

Coming in just behind Ouija: Origin of Evil at number four is holdover The Accountant (weekend gross $14.02 million, total gross $47.9 million), followed by The Girl on the Train (weekend gross $7.2 million, total gross $58.9 million) rounding out the top five. On down at spot number seven is new release Keeping Up with the Joneses, which earned only $5.6 million on 3,022 screens. With Masterminds, that makes this the second Zach Galifianakis film to tank in less than a month, so somebody buy him a cupcake or something.

The highest-earning limited release was faith-based Columbine school shooting drama I’m Not Ashamed, which opened to $900,000 on 505 screens. That’s a per-theatre average of only $1,782—not so hot. Other limited releases included American Pastoral ($151,000 on 50 screens), The Handmaiden ($91,600 on five screens), Michael Moore in TrumpLand ($50,200 on two screens), In a Valley of Violence ($30,000 on 33 screens), Janus Films' re-release of Tampopo ($17,200 on one screen), Fire at Sea ($11,350 on two screens) and—all opening on a single screen—King Cobra ($9,500), We Are X ($8,300), Spices of Liberty ($6,625) and The Uncondemned ($5,146).

The big story as far as specialty releases are concerned, however, is Barry Jenkins’ gay coming-of-age drama Moonlight, released by A24 on four theatres. On those four theatres it earned a whopping $414,740, giving it the highest per-theatre average of the year ($103,685) and the 24th highest per-theatre average of all time. A24 will expand Moonlight's screen count this weekend before going national on November 4th