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Weekend Box Office: Madea Scares the Pants Off Jack Reacher, Ouija for Big Opening

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By Chris Kavan - 10/23/16 at 07:21 PM CT

It looks like Tyler Perry can rest easy as Madea is still a crowd-pleasing charmer while Tom Cruise is probably still going to come out on top with Jack Reacher in the long run. Finally, the fall has its first big weekend with the top 12 coming in a full 20% ahead of the same weekend as last year and 28% above last weekend. While Ouija held its own, Keeping Up with the Joneses was an unmitigated disaster while Moonlight made the year's biggest splash in limited release. There's a lot to digest, so let's get to it.


While I stick by my opinion that I have never got the reason behind the popularity of Tyler Perry or his Madea films, audiences were more than happy to welcome back the director and his signature character. A Madea Halloween opened to $27.6 million - the best opening for Perry and a Madea film since 2009 when Madea Goes to Jail opened to just over $41 million. That is great news for Perry - and audiences also awarded the film a solid "A" Cinemascore. Given this is a Halloween-themed film, there is a good chance it will have a better second weekend than most Perry films - and also means it could very well wind up as the second-highest grossing Madea film (I don't think it will hit the $90 million of Jail), topping the $65.6 million of Witness Protection. That second week will tell a lot but given the response and the relative light competition, Perry should have clear sailing into November.


With Madea opening so big, Tom Cruise has to settle for the runner-up spot with the sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. The good news for this sequel is that the $23 million opening was well above the $15.2 million of the original Jack Reacher. The bad news is that the film doesn't seem to have nearly as much buzz - with worse reviews (40% on Rotton Tomatoes compared to 62% for the first film) and a "B+ Cinemascore compared to the first film's "A-". What it boils down to is that the domestic total is probably going to fall short of the Jack Reacher's total. It might not matter as, just like for so many other films, the international response is going to be much bigger and more important than its US response. Thus far it has $31 million and has a very good chance of topping the $218.3 million total of the original film, even with a lower domestic total.


For the time being, the Ouija sequel/prequel film is holding the slightest of leads over The Accountant (35,000 to be exact) but this could very well fall to fourth place by the time final numbers are released on Monday. In any case, for right now the film has an opening of $14.06 million. In a reverse Jack Reacher, this Ouija prequel opened to much better reviews than the previous film (81% on Rotton Tomatoes compared to the first film's... uh 7%) but audiences, who rightfully didn't like the first film (and it was pretty terrible) awarded this the same "C" Cinemascore - perhaps in spite of being fooled in to watching the first one. In any case, the 29% lower opening hurts a bit - but still, the film only has a $9 million budget, so the $14 million opening (along with international numbers) already mean this one is going to do just fine. We'll see where it winds up but, much like Madea, the Halloween holiday should help its cause.


Ben Affleck's Bourne Rainman mashup The Accountant had a nice hold, especially with Jack Reacher on the scene. Dipping a light 43.2%, The Accounted took in $14.025 million in its second weekend, raising its total to $47.9 million. That is above the $44 million production budget and there is a good chance final numbers will put this above the $50 million mark - if not, it will cross it on Monday. Maybe Affleck will have his out series to count on (aside from Batman, that is) - we'll see how it holds up against Tom Hanks and Inferno, but otherwise it's looking like a very solid result for a new potential franchise. Thus far it has only taking in $10 million overseas, but any additional money is simply gravy at this point.


Another adult-leaning drama rounded out the top five as Emily Blunt's Girl on the Train also took a light 40.6% drop, adding an additional $7.27 million to its total, which now stands at $58.9 million. It has already well surpassed its $45 million budget. We'll see if this is going to be able to leg it to $75 million domestic. It may be a tough road but I think it has enough gas in the tank to get close, if not top, that milestone before it exits theaters. Just like The Accountant and Jack Reacher, it will have to contend with Inferno, which looks to steal away a good chunk of its audience.

Outside the top five: Keeping up With the Joneses was never going to have a shot at a big opening, but it looks like it may wind up far worse than I would have imagined. At just $5.6 million (7th place) Joneses actually opened to less than Masterminds $6.5 million and looks to be joining the wrong kind of club as its final numbers on Monday could land it in the top 10 for worst debuts in 3000 plus theaters. It's also the second big miss for comedian Zack Galifianakis. Masterminds made just $20 million. Joneses is going to be lucky to hit $18 million.

In limited release the big news is that Moonlight opened to $414,740 - from just four theaters leading to the year's best per-theater average at $103,685 per theater and the 24th best per-theater opening for any film. Considering the film has no big names and is from a new director (Barry Jenkins), that opening is even more impressive. It's hard to say how the film will do as it expands, but the lowest-grossing film to open with a $100,000 plus per theater average was Inside Llewyn Davis ($13 million) while most wind up anywhere in the $20-$60 million range. Moonlight not only has a chance to expand, but it's now looking like it has a real shot at some awards.

Next week the only new wide-release opening is for Inferno, the third film featuring Tom Hanks in the role of Dan Brown's Robert Langdon character as he faces yet another crisis that threatens the world that only his mind can unravel. It's not Sully, but I'm thinking it will do OK in theaters.


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