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Weekend Box Office: Happy Death Day scares up big…wait, hasn’t this happened before?

Happy Death Day (Photo: Universal Pictures)

Talk about déjà vu. Like an ornery weatherman stuck living the same day over and over again, ticket-buyers trudged again to their local theater and, for the third time this year, made a horror film from Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions the No. 1 movie in America. Happy Death Day, which is basically Groundhog Day with a masked murderer instead of unbearably cheerful Pennsylvanians (tough call on which is worse), debuted in first place, just as Split and Get Out did last spring. And though its $26.5-million opening was a little shy of what those other movies made in their inaugural weekends, the sub-$5-million budget makes the cyclical comic thriller an instant hit. With Halloween right around the corner, America might come back for more, allowing for future variations on this lame loop metaphor we’re torturing.

Speaking of history repeating itself: While Blade Runner 2049 is certainly performing better than its 35-year-old predecessor, it’s probably just as much of a box-office disappointment, relatively speaking. Losing about half of its audience in weekend two, Denis Villeneuve’s lavish sequel scored a second place finish with an additional $15 million; at a $60-million domestic total, the film seems increasingly unlikely to reach the $150 million Warner Bros. spent on it. Its underperformance will break one major cycle: For the first time in five years, the first few weeks of fall will pass without a science-fiction or at least space-related hit, as Blade Runner 2049 fails to repeat the autumn earnings of Gravity, Interstellar, The Martian, or even Villeneuve’s more modestly budgeted Arrival. (Maybe the director should have taken his expanded view of the Blade Runner universe even further and sent Ryan Gosling to those fabled, unseen off-world colonies. Audiences can’t get enough of their space operas, after all.)


Despite a title and posters that labored very hard to create a connection to one of the year’s biggest hits, Professor Marston And The Wonder Women flopped, grossing just $737,000 on more than 1,200 screens. Chronicling the unconventional romance behind DC’s lasso-twirling superhero, the film maybe should have rolled out a little slower, building word of mouth in a few theaters rather than fighting for the patronage of a close-to-wide-release audience. Marshall did much better, squeezing $3 million out of 821 screens; its “A” CinemaScore suggests that the biopic (and unexpected Josh Gad vehicle) could stick around through the rest of the month. Finally, Jackie Chan’s The Foreigner opened in third place with $12.8 million—better than most estimates for the no-frills action thriller, and a decent haul for a movie that only cost around $35 million to make. Remember when Hollywood used to invest in mid-budget movies? Seeing those make a big comeback would cause the best kind of déjà vu.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.

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