The RedState Box Office Report - A Large Crowd Checks In for The Weekend

Promotional images courtesy 20th Century Fox; Focus Features; Lionsgate
Promotional images courtesy 20th Century Fox; Focus Features; Lionsgate

A flurry of new releases battles some strong holdovers, and much was unsettled.

We have entered into the stronger fall season already and this weekend shows it with multiple new releases arriving and making for a crowded marketplace. While there was no monster opening among them some very strong numbers were spread around for a very healthy frame. That some strong ongoing titles were also involved meant there was some fierce competition on the board.

Most notable in this competitive mix is that the top-5 titles are all unique in what is brought to the table. Period drama, sci-fi, action, horror, and female dramas are seen, and the battle was a strong one, with questions on how the slots would fill out. Here is the scorecard to help you sort out the finish.

1.  DOWNTON ABBEY – $31.0 Million  
The smash British television drama has been highly anticipated after it was announced that there would be a transfer to the big screen, but this manages to even exceed the hoped-for expectations, 40-50%. This makes for a record best opening for studio Focus Features. A long run could be in store as the exit scores were a strong “A”. The story behind the success is the audience makeup. One third of ticket buyers were 55-up, and one half 45+. This led to a curious result in the schedule, as many theaters reported strong sales all the way to 8:00pm viewings, but then a dropoff in the later showtimes.

2. AD ASTRA – $19.21m  
Many have been talking in advance of this title but it appears there was much working against a higher return, the first being a crowded weekend. Brad Pitt in a space drama is a draw, but the title is a bit of a mystery, and the marketing was also struggling to get the gist of the plot sold without spoiling the film. Then ad in this was a Fox production with marketing shifting after the Disney merger. There were a number of release date changes as well, partly due to reshooting scenes and the studio takeover. Overall it is a $100 million production, and there is looking to be a struggle ahead for business, as critics raved over this (80% on Rotten Tomatoes) but audience CinemaScore is low at a “B-”. A heavy reliance on the foreign sales is ahead.

3. RAMBO: LAST BLOOD – $19.01m
Pacing very closely with Brad Pitt but this is a bit lower than projections. We covered this Stallone feature on our podcast this week and word is that it appears like a much more gory version of the “Taken” films than the “Rambo” series. However there is an upside here compared to “Ad Astra”. It cost about half as much, has a slightly better audience score of “B”, and Lionsgate only bought in to the rights for the US and Britain, so it has little exposure and needs a modest return to see any profits.

4. IT: CHAPTER TWO – $17.24  
Still drawing some attention although it falls -62% this weekend. At this same stage in its release the sequel is lagging behind the original by about $60 million, but it should still easily float past the $200 million mark in a couple of weeks, and then squeeze out more dollars on the way to Halloween.

5. HUSTLERS – $17.01m
The hit female drama with J-Lo heading a group of strippers on a white collar heist is maintaining its strong presence. Taking less than a -50% drop amid heavy competition is a sure sign of strength. The ladies should be swinging to success for quite a few weeks.

THE LION KING – $2.57m  
It has just now barely dropped under showing on 2,000 screens after 10 weeks. This is beginning to fade at the perfect time for Disney, as it is going to start falling away in time for the release of “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” next month.

GOOD BOYS – $2.51m  
Another title showing resilience, although this is more of a surprise. This bawdy pre-teen comedy has been out six weeks and is still showing on 2,025 screens.

Gerard Butler is also hanging around as his latest action piece has moved ahead of the sequel “London Has Fallen” in total returns.

OVERCOMER – $1.51m  
Just now beginning to shed screens this faith-based film from Alex Kendrick is approaching the levels of his successes “Fireproof”, and “Courageous”.

10. HOBBS & SHAW – $1.46m  
The buddy film from the “Fast & Furious” franchise just hit the $750 million mark globally. Expect a sequel, of this spinoff, from the sequels of that franchise.