Horror continued to be a performer at the box office, albeit with a caveat. This weekend’s results made it clear that audiences are still very much up for a horror film, but they want traditional chills, not art-house thrills packaged as a genre movie. IT came out on top again this weekend with a gross of $60 million, a drop of only 51% which is quite low for the genre. Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, on the other hand, fell flat with only $7.5 million in its opening frame. An aggressively off-putting and challenging art-house film sold with a campaign that suggested a traditional horror thriller, mother! did well with critics, but met with a hostile response from audiences who gave it an “F” Cinemascore. Releasing such a specialized film on so many screens at once was a definite risk, but Paramount evidently felt that Jennifer Lawrence’s star status would be enough to at least get the $30 million production a big opening weekend. That was not to be, however, so mother! will need foreign box office and ancillary markets in order to recoup. The good news is that the budget was a modest $30 million.
Also opening this weekend was the actioner AMERICAN ASSASSIN, which brought in a solid $14.8 million. The Michael Keaton vehicle will have strong competition next weekend from KINGSMEN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE, but should still prove profitable given its comparatively low budget.
The Reese Witherspoon vehicle HOME AGAIN finished fourth, while THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD took fifth place. Speaking of horror, ANNABELLE: CREATION continues to hold on and will finally pass $100 million this week, the only August release that will reach that mark.
In addition to the KINGSMEN sequel, next weekend will also see the opening of THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE, which hopes to repeat the business of its two forerunners.