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'House With a Clock In Its Walls' Debuts with $26.8M While Fellow New Releases Stumble

by Brad Brevet
 

 
September 23, 2018

Despite the over performance of Universal's new release The House with a Clock in Its Walls and the strong hold from Lionsgate's A Simple Favor, this weekend is still one of the worst of the year. Things weren't helped by the soft openings from Fahrenheit 11/9, Life Itself and Assassination Nation as the three other new wide releases struggled to find an audience. Additionally, for the second weekend in a row, the previous weekend's #1 film dipped mightily in its sophomore session.

At the top of the weekend box office is Universal and Amblin Entertainment's The House with a Clock in Its Walls with an estimated $26.85 million. Heading into the weekend the expectation was for a debut in the low twenties as it wasn't quite clear whether this one could match the performance of the previous Jack Black kid-targeted family horror Goosebumps, but in fact it managed to outperform the 2015 release, which debuted with $23.6 million before going on to gross just over $80 million domestically. Goosebumps did receive slightly better reviews and the "B+" CinemaScore for Clock is a bit below the "A" for Goosebumps so there's no telling if these variations will have any kind of major effect, but given the release timing of Clock it is positioned well to play throughout the Halloween holiday.

Of the film,'s 3,592 theaters, House with a Clock in Its Walls opened on 400 IMAX screens in North America, generating an estimated $2.5 million of the film's opening weekend gross. Included with those showings was an exclusive IMAX 3D version of Michael Jackson's Thriller. How much of a draw the music video may have been isn't clear, but it's an interesting side note to a solid debut for the $42 million production.

Internationally, Clock debuted in just 14 markets, bringing in an estimated $9 million led by its opening in the UK with $4.4 million. Next weekend the film will open in France, Russia and Thailand.

Landing in second is the strong hold from Lionsgate's A Simple Favor. The thriller from Paul Feig and starring Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick dipped just 35% in its second weekend, pulling in an estimated $10.4 million for the three-day, pushing the film's domestic cume to $32.56 million. Internationally, the film added $5.2 million from 36 markets for an overseas total that now stands at $10 million. The film's international reach expands much further next weekend with openings in France, Belgium, Brazil, Netherlands, Mexico, Spain and Sweden.

Warner Bros. and New Line's The Nun dropped 44% this weekend, finishing with an estimated $10.2 million for the weekend as the film's cume now tops $100 million domestically. The Nun is the fourth film in the Conjuring franchise to reach the century mark and it will soon become the second highest grossing film in the franchise, behind The Conjuring, which grossed $137.4 million domestically back in 2013.

Internationally, The Nun released in its final 18 markets and for the third weekend in a row is the #1 film overseas bringing in an estimated $35.4 million from 80 total markets, pushing the film's global tally to $292.6 million. The film's release in Mexico continues to be the top grossing market with just over $20 million while openings this weekend included South Korea ($4.6m), France ($4.4m), Russia ($4.3m) and Italy ($2.9m).

Fox's The Predator took a steep dive from its chart-topping position last weekend, dropping 65% this weekend for an estimated $8.7 million three-day. The film's domestic cume is now over $40 million, but it is falling fast.

Internationally, The Predator brought in an estimated $15.3 million from 82 markets for an international cume reaching $54.5 million. This weekend's new openings included Mexico ($3.2m) and Colombia ($609k) with Russia remaining the film's top market with an estimated $6.5 million. Upcoming major market releases include Belgium (Oct 3), France (Oct 17) and Italy (Oct 11).

Rounding out the top five is Warner Bros.'s Crazy Rich Asians, which dropped only 25% as it enters its sixth week in release, delivering an estimated $6.5 million. The film's domestic cume is now just shy of $160 million, currently ranking as the seventh largest romantic comedy of all-time and soon to pass The Proposal ($163.95m).

Internationally, Crazy Rich Asians brought in an estimated $5.1 million from 35 markets for an overseas total that now stands at $47 million. The film's worldwide gross is now $206.4 million.

In search of the weekend's three other new wide releases we first come to Fahrenheit 11/9 in eighth with in an estimated $3.1 million from 1,719 locations. The film's debut ranks as the 15th largest ever for a documentary, but the $1,804 per theater average is a bit disconcerting. Opening day audiences, however, did give the film an "A" CinemaScore.

Just outside the top ten we come to Amazon Studios's Life Itself, which, according to estimates, delivered the second worst opening weekend of all-time for a film debuting in over 2,500 locations. With an estimated $2.1 million from 2,609 theaters the reported $10 million acquisition could only manage $807 per location. After debuting at the Toronto Film Festival in September the film received largely negative reviews, which seem to have clearly had an impact on its release this weekend. Life Itself received a "B+" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

Faring even worse is Neon's Assassination Nation, which only averaged $733 per location as it opened in 1,403 theaters with an estimated $1 million. The studio's response to the opening, while disappointed in the turnout, remains supportive: "Sam Levinson has created a bold, visionary and ultimately cathartic response to the dumpster fire that is 2018. We're admittedly disappointed more people didn't come out this weekend, but those that did were loud and overwhelmingly positive. It's going to take more time for Assassination Nation to find its audience, but even Heathers wasn't made in a weekend (total box office $1,108,462)."

In limited release Bleecker's Colette delivered an estimated $156,788 from four locations for a strong $39,197 per theater average while Annapurna's The Sisters Brothers also delivered solid results from four theaters, debuting with an estimated $122,028 ($30,507 PTA). Additionally, IFC's Tea with the Dames brought in $15,031 from one theater and Parade Deck's Half Brothers opened with $1,100 from three theaters ($367 PTA).

Overall, the weekend's top twelve generated $82.5 million making it the third worst weekend of the year from that perspective. We'll have to wait and see how things stack up once actuals roll in to see how the overall weekend compared.

Next weekend Warner Bros. will debut their newest animated title Smallfoot into 4,000 locations while Lionsgate gets a head start on Halloween with Hell Fest in 2,200 theaters; Universal brings the Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish comedy Night School to 2,800 locations; and Pinnacle Peak will debut the moderate release of Little Women into ~600 theaters.

You can check out all of this weekend's estimated results right here and we'll be updating our charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.

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