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Weekend Box Office: It Remains Champ as American Assassin Opens Solid, Mother! Stumbles

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By Chris Kavan - 09/17/17 at 05:45 PM CT

Last week's box office champion, and multiple record-breaker, It, remained the top film at the box office by a wide margin. American Assassin managed a decent opening in the second-place spot amidst the competition while Darren Aronofsky and Jennifer Lawrence didn't find much love for Mother! The continued success of It means the box office continues to show strength after a disastrous end-of-summer slump and, hopefully, the next few weeks can bolster the box office and, if the fall turns town a bit, at least we have awards season to look forward to in short order.

1) IT

After It opened to a record-breaking $123 million last weekend, it managed another big feat - for an R-rated horror film with such a huge opening, it managed to stay strong in its second weekend. Yes, it dipped a little over 51%, but that is a great hold and earned the film another $60 million, for a new total of $218.7 million. By the way, that $60 million second weekend would still be the top September opening of all time, and the biggest opening for an R-rated horror film. The $218.7 million total makes it the highest-grossing September release of all time (not adjusted for inflation), topping the $174.8 million of Crocodile Dundee. Even with inflation, It would still be in the top 10 and, after it's inevitable push to $300 million, it will break in to the top five on that list. It is also just $14.2 million shy of topping The Exorcist ($232.9 million) to become the highest-grossing R-rated horror film of all time (also, not adjusted for inflation). It is not just big in North America, overseas, the film took in $60.3 million, including a record (horror) opening of $13.8 million in Mexico. It has earned a worldwide total of over $370 million and shows little sign of slowing down. If It continued to play similar to The Conjuring, it will easily wind up with over $350 million domestic alone. We'll see if any upcoming films can put a dent in It, but I wouldn't be too worried.


Sure, It may be getting most of the attention, but that doesn't mean the box office can't welcome new blood. American Assassin opened with $14.8 million, which may not seem like much, but it was better than the opening for John Wick ($14.4 million) and not bad at all for a $33 million picture. It also earned a very good "B+" Cinemascore, from a mostly male (55%) audience that was also older (just 29% under 35). Much like Mechanic: Resurrection or London Has Fallen, American Assassin is a gritty action film, and it's nice to see Dylan O'Brien step outside teen-friendly films and TV for something with a little more bite. If American Assassin can hoof it to the $40-$50 million range, that will do just fine. It has made $6.2 million overseas as well, so even a little bump in that area should be enough for this to remain profitable.


Mother! looks like it may have been a little too out-there for audiences. While it has garnered a respectable view among critics, audiences awarded the film the dreaded "F" Cinemascore. Along with the poor reception, it didn't draw much of a crowd, having to settle for measly $7.5 million opening. That represents the worst wide-release for Jennifer Lawrence since she broke on to the scene with Winter's Bone - and that was a limited release. It was well under the $12.2 million that House at the End of the Street opened with back in 2012. It also suggest that Mother! won't be long for theaters as, if it plays like The Box (which was also earned an "F" Cinemascore and opened to $7.5 million), this will earn less than $15 million and be out of theaters quickly. For a $30 million film, it better hope the world is more open to its weirdness, because Americans aren't going to help it out much.


The romantic comedy held on strong in its second week, dipping a light 37.7%, and bringing in $5.33 million. While the $15 million film isn't going to be a standout for Reese Witherspoon and company, the $17.13 million it has brought in so far means that if it can have a few more weekends of this kind of hold and Home Again will be able to at least save face, and, amidst this kind of competition, that is about the best any film can hope for.


After five weekends out, The Hitman's Bodyguard is still looking like a winner. With a light 26.1% drop, the film nabbed $3.55 million for a new total of $70.35 million. This officially passes Shaft ($70 million) to become Samuel L. Jackson's highest-grossing film in lead role (not including his many, many supporting roles, including the Marvel films) in North America. It also represents a big win for the film itself, with had a $30 million budget and it remains one of the few bright spots to come out of August. It should be able to break the $75 million mark and hang around through at least the end of September.

Outside the top five: In limited release Brad's Status (starring Ben Stiller, Jenna Fischer, Luke Wilson, Austin Abrams and Michael Sheen among others) was the limited release winner with a $100,179 in just four theaters for a stellar $25,045 per-theater average. It looks to expand to over 450 location next weekend, we'll see if the it continues to impress a wider audience.

War of the Planet of the Apes opened to $62.3 million in China - representing the largest opening for a Fox film in that market. War is still running $275 million behind Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and $50 million behind Rise of the Planet of the Apes through the same period.

Next week brings us another action film with the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle, a bit of fun with the animated LEGO Ninjago Movie and a little more horror with the social media set Friend Request.


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