Wait, so is the movie industry in trouble or not? After the worst month for American ticket sales in 15 years, the box office seems to have dramatically rebounded; this weekend’s returns inched us closer to a record-best September, presumably slingshoting panicked studio suits back through whatever window they may have leapt out of when, un, Leap flopped. But don’t bust out the bubbly just yet, Hollywood: All of this week’s new wide releases did a little worse than expected, to the point where we’re still pretty sure that this magic month all comes down to one runaway smash featuring a clown from the ’80s dragging everyone into the gutter. Can’t imagine why that would resonate with America right now.
After a fortnight at the top, It slipped into second place with a $30-million third weekend. Not that anyone at Warner Bros. has cause to complain: At $266 million, the Stephen King smash is now only $25 million shy of passing The Sixth Sense for the title of biggest horror hit in American box-office history. (Of course, adjusting for inflation puts it out of that running for now, and Shyamalan still has the international horror record safely in the bag.) With Halloween right around the corner, Pennywise will probably stick around in theaters for a few more weeks, though he’ll soon face stiffer fright-flick competition from such past marquee fiends as Leatherface and Jigsaw. Certainly, those horror headliners should put up a bigger fight than the supernatural Facebook troll of Friend Request, which debuted down in seventh place this weekend with a paltry $2.4 million.
It was Kingsman: The Golden Circle that dethroned It, but not handily. Though the star-studded sequel managed to best the debut of its sleeper-success predecessor, that was perhaps to be expected, given that it didn’t have to shoulder the burden of introducing audiences to a new property. Considering both its built-in franchise recognition and the bevy of name actors who popped in to play this time, The Golden Circle’s $39-million take looks a little soft. Still, it’s a better showing than what Warner’s kid-courting (as opposed to kid-killing) The Lego Ninjago Movie managed. Opening well below expectations in third place with about $21 million, Ninjago continued the diminishing returns (commercial as well as creative) for this franchise. Was it asking too much of audiences to expect them to shell out for two irreverent feature-length toy commercials in one year? Maybe it’s just that nobody but the youngest of viewers seems to know what the hell a “ninjago” is.
In limited release, Stronger managed $1.7 million on about 500 screens, edging out Brad’s Status, which made about $1 million after expanding into a comparable number of theaters. Meanwhile, Battle Of The Sexes cleared $500,000 on just 21 screens, which bodes well for the future box-office prospects of this inspirational sports drama, and Victoria And Abdul did even better, making $152,000 on only four screens. Meanwhile, Spider-Man Homecoming finally slipped out of the top 10, a dozen weeks after hitting theaters. Domestically, it won’t catch either Wonder Woman or fellow Marvel tent-pole Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. But worldwide, it just quietly became the biggest superhero hit of the year. Again, when it comes to the box office, winning and losing is often a matter of how you crunch the numbers.
For a closer, more detailed look at these numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.