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Weekend Box Office: Magnificent Seven Lives Up to Its Name, Storks Grounded

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By Chris Kavan - 09/25/16 at 07:34 PM CT

While the weekend itself didn't quite turn around the September doldrums the box office has been going through, but at least there was a silver lining as the top film distinguished itself. Overall, the box office was off 25% compared to the same weekend last year and the top 12 couldn't crack $100 million total for the fifth weekend in a row now. So, yeah, the numbers continue to be pretty bad for Hollywood but this is September, always known as one of the weaker months for films. But we will soon bid the month adieu and can only hope October kick-starts things back in the right direction.


The big, bright spot at the box office over the weekend was for The Magnificent Seven. While its $35 million opening wasn't any kind of September record, it did manage to snag a few records. For one, it is now director Antoine Fuqua's biggest opening, topping the $34.1 million of The Equalizer (also starring Denzel Washington). Speaking of Washington, it is his third-best opening - coming in behind only ($40 million back in 2012) and American Gangster ($43 million in 2007). As far as westerns go, for live-action films, it is one of the best as well, coming in just behind Cowboys & Aliens (which is hard to consider a "western" but I digress) at $36.4 million. In terms of September, it will wind up in the fifth or sixth place, depending on whether it can top Sully when the final numbers are released. In any case, with an "A-" Cinemascore and 63% on Rotten Tomatoes, this will crack $100 million. Where it winds up from there depends on the competition from the likes of Deepwater Horizon - but $125 million is likely the best-case scenario.


While The Magnificent Seven rode away to a suitably impressive opening, the same couldn't be said for the animated Storks. While it did open in second place, it could only muster up a $21.8 million opening. Compared to past animated September films, that's not saying much as Hotel Transylvania scared up a (then record) $42.5 million, and also less then the $30.4 million of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs back in 2009 and even below the $23 million of Open Season back in 2006. The good news for Storks is that it was well-received by audiences with an "A-" Cinemascore ("A+" for those under 25) and it carries a light budget of $70 million (compared to the $100 million of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs). Thus, if the film can make it to $75 million, and it has some international help, it will likely still wind up in the black. So far it has made $18.3 million with several territories yet to come. Still, I can't see this one leading to a Storks franchise any time soon.


Two-week champion Sully finally had to take a back seat to the competition and dropped to third place. Still, it only fell 36.1% - a very good hold for its third weekend - and took in $13.8 million for a new total of $92.3 million. It won't have any trouble catching up and passing Flight ($93.77 million) and is quick becoming the first worthy Oscar contender of the fall. The film has already well surpassed its $60 million budget and could very well double that by the time it runs its course. In any case, Sully has to be considered on the the bright points of this rather dull month and I have a feeling it will be hanging around well in to October.


Even though it opened below Blair Witch last weekend, Bridget Jone's Baby managed to stay on top of the under-performing horror film, dipping 47.3% and landing in 4th place with $4.52 million. That gives the sequel a new total of $16.45 million. It's doing much better intentionally with a $67.1 million total thus far ($83.6 million total). So while it's certainly not going to measure up domestically to the other films, it's going to come out just fine thanks the overseas audience. Still, I'm not going to be holding my breath for Bridget Jone's Murder Spree or whatever fourth film the studio had in mind.


Rounding out the top five was Oliver Stone's Snowden. The biopic starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt took a 48% hit in its second weekend but also topped Blair Witch. With a $4.1 million weekend, Snowden now stands at $15.1 million. I don't think this one is going to be sticking around much longer, and it certainly isn't going to make it anywhere close to its $40 million budget but I still think I will catch this on streaming in the near future as, even if it didn't live up to expectations, that story looks too juicy to pass up on for too long.

Outside the top five: Blair Witch took a huge hit and tumbled from second to sixth place with a massive 59% drop (not uncommon for a horror film, though - especially one with a dismal "D+" Cinemascore). It still earned just a hair under $4 million and still tops Snowden with $16.1 million total in the bank.

No huge milestones this week - When the Bough Breaks cracked $25 million with a $2.5 million (9th place) finish and a new $26.6 million total.

In limited release, Disney's Queen of Katwe opened in 52 theater for just a so-so $305,000 opening ($5,865 per-theater average). This one is going to go semi-wide next week so we'll see if it garners a better response then.

Next week brings us the long-delayed comedy Masterminds, the oil-rig drama Deepwater Horizon and Tim Burton's MIss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.


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