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'House With A Clock In Its Walls' Looks to Top Soft Weekend

by Brad Brevet
 

 
September 20, 2018

SATURDAY AM UPDATE: With an estimated $7.8 million, Universal and Amblin's The House with a Clock in Its Walls is on track for an opening right around the $23.6 million Goosebumps delivered three years ago. Opening day audiences scored the film with a "B+" CinemaScore.

None of the weekend's three other new wide releases are looking quite as rosy. Briarcliff's release of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 11/9 brought in an estimated $1.05 million on Friday and is looking at a possible $3 million weekend. Opening day audiences scored the film with a "A" CinemaScore.

Amazon Studios's Life Itself is really struggling in a massive 2,609 locations with an estimated $760,000 on Friday, heading toward a $2 million weekend, which would mean a paltry $768 per theater average. Opening day audiences scored the film with a "B+" CinemaScore.

Even worse is Neon's Assassination Nation, which debuted this weekend in 1,403 theaters and brought in an estimated $420,000 on Friday and is looking at an opening under $1 million.

You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Universal Pictures The House with a Clock in Its Walls grossed $840,000 in previews from 2,700 theaters on Thursday night. The performance compares favorably to Goosebumps, which brought in $600k from previews before opening with $23.6 million.

Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 11/9 played in 1,250 locations last night and brought in $275,000.

Amazon Studios's Life Itself held previews beginning at 7PM and the film brought in $100,000 from 1,213 locations.

Finally, Neon's Assassination Nation held screenings in ~1,100 locations beginning at 7PM, though no grosses have yet been reported.

We'll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: This weekend is looking to be one of the worst of the year with a top twelve that would be hard pressed to deliver a combined $80 million. The weekend's new crop of releases will be led by Universal's The House with a Clock in Its Walls, which will easily take the weekend's top spot. Meanwhile, Michael Moore's new documentary Fahrenheit 11/9 should manage a top ten finish while Amazon Studios's Life Itself becomes the distributor's widest debut yet, though a lack of awareness and troubling reviews won't likely help the film's debut.

Looking to top the weekend is Universal and Amblin Entertainment's The House with a Clock In Its Walls. Debuting in 3,592 locations, the adaptation of John Bellairs and Edward Gorey's children's story was directed by Eli Roth and studio expectations currently peg the film at a debut around $20 million with tracking coming in at $22 million. We're anticipating a debut in a similar range using comps such as Jack Black's previous family-friendly horror feature Goosebumps ($23.6m opening), the last couple of films in the Maze Runner franchise and 2016's Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children ($28.8m opening).

While online ticket retailer Fandango.com reports that House with a Clock in its Walls is pacing similar to Peregrine, one thing tempering our expectations is overall awareness of the source material compared to properties such as Goosebumps and Peregrine along with IMDb page view data, which shows the film currently trailing all four comps referenced. Depending on how you look at it, historical comparisons suggest we might be looking at a film that could deliver a $25 million opening, but Clock doesn't appear to have a wide enough demographic reach to hit that number. That being said, we're going with a relatively safe expectation of $21 million with a little wiggle room on either side.

In second place, look for a bit of a battle between Lionsgate's A Simple Favor and New Line's The Nun as both should deliver $9+ million three-day performances.

We're currently giving the edge to A Simple Favor, which enjoyed a solid $16 million debut last weekend with a "B+" CinemaScore from opening day audiences and has since pushed over $20 million. Additionally, Darcey Bell's book from which the film was adapted, has found itself on Amazon's Most Sold list for the past week suggesting interest in the film is maintaining if not expanding. Should the film hold to our expectations it will push toward $32 million by the end of the day Sunday.

For The Nun, a $9 million weekend would put the film at or just shy of $100 million domestically as it enters its third week in release. The film would then need only a couple million more to become the second highest grossing domestic release in the Conjuring franchise.

Last weekend's #1 film, The Predator, is looking at a steep drop this weekend. Despite playing in 1,368 more theaters than 2010's Predators, The Predator was unable to top its predecessor's opening weekend, pulling in just $24.6 million last weekend from 4,037 locations. To that point, the 2010 film dipped a massive 71.7% in its second weekend and we see no reason for The Predator to fair much better. Right now we're expecting a 66% decline and a three-day around $8.4 million and a domestic cume topping $40 million by the end of day Sunday.

Like second place, fifth place could also be a tight race and perhaps between as many as three films. Right now we're leaning more toward Michael Moore's new documentary Fahrenheit 11/9 for that fifth slot, which is described as a "provocative and comedic look at the times in which we live" relating to the "Trump Era". The film debuted at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month and has so far earned mostly positive reviews, currently holding a Metacritic score of 75. Opening in 1,719 locations we're currently looking for a $6 million opening.

Whether or not Fahrenheit 11/9 reaches that high, we're expecting Crazy Rich Asians to at least come in around $5.7 million as it enters its sixth week in release. The film has already grossed over $152 million and after this weekend will enter the week with around $159 million. After 36 days in release it is pacing ~$2.6 million behind Hitch, which ranks as BoxOfficeMojo's third highest grossing romantic comedy of all-time. Crazy Rich Asians currently places ninth on that list and should be able to reach sixth, but whether it can top There's Something About Mary's $176.4 million to enter the top five may be too daunting a task.

The third film potentially competing for that fifth slot is Amazon Studios's Life Itself and the only way we see it reaching so high would be as a result of its unexpected 2,578 location count. This is easily the widest release since Amazon started distributing their own films, but on top of that it is just shy of the 2,597 theaters The Big Sick played in at its widest release and that film received an Oscar nomination.

Given the theater count you might expect Life Itself to debut around $9-10 million, but we're having a hard time supporting such a performance, expecting a debut closer to the $4.7 million for Before I Fall and Labor Day's $5 million wide opening back in 2014. That being said, a per theater average of only $2,000 would put the film over $5 million for the weekend so we're not counting out a slightly larger performance.

Whether it rounds out the top ten or finishes just outside, Neon's Assassination Nation is debuting in over 1,400 locations this weekend and we're currently expecting a debut around $2-3 million. IMDb page view comps show it performing behind the likes of both Upgrade and The Belko Experiment, suggesting a debut half as large would seem about right, suggesting a performance around $2 million or so should be doable.

In limited release, Bleecker will debut Colette starring Keira Knightley in four theaters; Annapurna's The Sisters Brothers will also begin its run in four locations; and IFC will release Tea with the Dames in one theater.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • The House With A Clock In Its Walls (3,592 theaters) - $21.0 M
  • A Simple Favor (3,102 theaters) - $9.1 M
  • The Nun (3,707 theaters) - $9.1 M
  • The Predator (4,070 theaters) - $8.4 M
  • Fahrenheit 11/9 (1,719 theaters) - $6.0 M
  • Crazy Rich Asians (2,802 theaters) - $5.7 M
  • Life Itself (2,578 theaters) - $5.2 M
  • White Boy Rick (2,504 theaters) - $4.6 M
  • Peppermint (2,680 theaters) - $3.4 M
  • The Meg (2,003 theaters) - $2.2 M

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