Weekend Box Office: A Breath of Fresh Air

If this summer proved anything, it’s that kids’ movies and horror flicks have a better chance at success than the giant, expensive, VFX-heavy studio tentpoles. This weekend’s big winner was of the horror variety. While three of the new movies saw mild results, the scary movie made more than enough to dethrone the reign of ‘Suicide Squad’.

From 3,051 locations, ‘Don’t Breathe‘ landed at the coveted top of the box office. The last time director Fede Alvarez had a picture on the big screen was 2013’s ‘Evil Dead’ remake. With the established brand, that one opened to $25.7 million. It’s even more impressive that his new, original picture debuted even stronger without any major stars in it. The $26.1 million it earned is a grand feat for two reasons: 1) it was only expected to open around $11 million, and 2) it was produced on a budget of just $10 million. With such a great opening, strong word-of-mouth and excellent critics’ reviews, it’s likely that ‘Don’t Breathe’ will have some long money-making legs. I paid $9 to see a premium format matinee on Saturday.

Four weeks into its run, ‘Suicide Squad‘ dropped into second place. Dipping 42% in attendance, it grossed another $12.1 million, which brings its domestic total up to $282.8 million. With another $353.1 million in overseas ticket sales, its worldwide draw sits at $635.9 million, ranking it #8 among all of 2016’s releases.

Laika’s family film ‘Kubo and the Two Strings‘ opened in the #4 spot last week, but thanks to a light 37% decline in attendance, it managed to climb up to #3 this weekend. The $60 million stop-motion delight added $7.9 million to its bank, bringing its domestic ten-day total up to $24.9 million. From eight international markets, it has also made $2.7 million, for a $27.6 million worldwide total.

With a 50% drop in attendance, ‘Sausage Party‘ fell from second place into fourth. Three weeks in, it pulled an additional $7.6 million. The film’s domestic 17-day total now rests at $80 million – which is fantastic for a $19 million R-rated animated comedy. With $8.7 million in international sales, its worldwide total is up to $88.7 million.

After ‘Don’t Breathe’, the second-best of the new releases was Jason Statham’s action sequel, ‘Mechanic: Resurrection‘, which rounded out the Top 5. The first ‘Mechanic’ picture opened to $11.4 million in 2011, so the $7.5 million opening for ‘Resurrection’ isn’t up to snuff. Playing on 2,258 screens, it made for a low per-screen average of $3,322. Considering the $40 million budget, the movie’s international run (which has yet to begin) will need to be strong if it’s going to turn a profit. If Summit wants to continue with this franchise, it will need some major retooling.

From 813 locations, the Barack and Michelle Obama romantic comedy ‘Southside with You‘ had a thirteenth place debut. The $3 million opening equates to $3,764 per-screen. Bigger returns would have been needed for Roadside Attractions to expand it any farther. At this point, 813 screens is about as far as it will go. There’s no second term for Obama this time.

Just one day before it was to open on more than 2,000 screens, the Weinstein Company choked and instead limited the initial roll-out of the boxing drama ‘Hands of Stone‘, planning to boost it up to 2,000 screens on Wednesday of this week. Having seen how poorly the film performed on 810 screens so far, I highly doubt it will go to the full 2,000 this week. The $1.7 million opening landed it in the #16 spot with a lousy $2,141 per-screen average – the cinematic equivalent of a TKO.

Playing on two screens, IFC’s unique relationship drama ‘Complete Unknown‘ had decent success. Despite mixed reviews, it managed to pull in $15,680 and a per-screen average of $7,840. There’s no word on if or when the Michael Shannon/Rachel Weisz picture will expand.

Weekend numbers have yet to be released for Mel Gibson’s ‘Blood Father’.

Top 10:

1. ‘Don’t Breathe’ (Screen Gems) – $26,115,000

2. ‘Suicide Squad’ (Warner Bros.) – $12,110,000

3. ‘Kubo and the Two String’ (Focus) – $7,909,000

4. ‘Sausage Party’ (Sony) – $7,665,000

5. ‘Mechanic: Resurrection’ (Summit) – $7,500,000

6. ‘Pete’s Dragon’ (Buena Vista) – $7,282,000

7. ‘War Dogs’ (Warner Bros.) – $7,255,000

8. ‘Bad Moms’ (STX) – $5,760,000

9. ‘Jason Bourne’ (Universal) – $5,230,000

10. ‘Ben-Hur’ (Paramount) – $4,530,000


  1. Chris B

    Although the movie is receiving pretty mediocre reviews, I’d be interested to see how Hands of Stone is received in South America and Mexico. Will Latin Audiences be far more apt to watch a bio-pic about one of the great hispanic boxers of all time? I know if they ever make a movie about the life of Manny Pacquio they may as well declare a national holiday in the Philipenes because everybody will be at the movies.

  2. William Henley

    Ouch for Pete’s Dragon and Ben-Hur! I was hoping positive word of mouth might have helped Pete, but it seems I was wrong. As for Ben-Hur, it probably means that no one will take a chance on a Bible epic (well, its not technically a Bible epic, as its not a Bible story, just takes place around that time and has a Christian main character) again for a long time.

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