‘The House With A Clock In Its Walls’ Waking Up To $24M+ Alarm; Counterprogramming Hits Snooze – Saturday Update

$1.8M (-29%)
$5M (-43%)
2, 2016 frame with $28.8M. House's production cost is far cheaper than Miss Peregrine, an estimated $40M to $110M. House is above Sony's Goosebumps which drew $600K at 2,567 theaters on its Thursday night before notching a $23.6M weekend win in mid-October 2015. House is also under Goosebumps' $55M pricetag before P&A. House is expected to be in the same $20M+ opening neighborhood as those movies with a $20M-$22M take from 3,592 locations. Thursday's take is under such spooky family pics like Fox's Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, another kids book feature adaptation like House, which earned $1.2M on its Thursday before winning the Sept 30-Oct. Note, kids are still in school, so the play for House will be largely from Saturday and Sunday matinees.
$9.4M (-48%)
On Screen Engine/ComScore's PostTrak, The House drew 44% general audience, 19% parents and 37% kids. The audience gave it three-and-a-half stars overall. Those under 25 led the way at 28%, followed by 26% females under 25, females over 25 at 25%, and men over 25 at 21% — essentially evenly spread, which is a distributor's hope in turnout.
$579K (-45%)
Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 earned $23.9M in its opening weekend at 868 venues, but understand that was due to its massive P&A from Lionsgate and IFC; though Briarcliff took out national TV ads for 11/9, they've kept their P&A ~$10M. Only 9% under 25 showed up. Furthermore, 9/11 had a great taboo groundswell to spur blue state audiences: It was the doc that was so dicey, so Bush-bin Laden confidential, Disney didn't want Miramax to release it. Next to Life Itself and Assassination Nation, 11/9 has a better chance of sticking around in a faithful handful of theaters in subsequent weeks thanks to any awards attention it gets, as well as older adult audiences who catch these films later than sooner in their runs. Biggest demos here were 52% men over 25 and 39% women over 25. Simply put, Briarcliff's Fahrenheit 11/9 went too wide at 1,719 theaters, and that's why its opening is so low. BoxOfficeMojo shows that there's only been 7 docs to opening between 1,000 to 2,000 theaters, and most of them are Disney nature docs. Each has created business for the other, thanks to in-theater trailering on the previous release. Top that buzz off with its Palme d'Or win at the Cannes Film Festival; the only doc to take the top prize on the Palais. RBG ($14M), Won't You Be My Neighbor ($22.6M), and Three Identical Strangers ($12M). This is the widest debut ever for a Michael Moore doc, and the reason why Briarcliff went wide was to get the filmmaker's anti-Trump message out to the widest possible audience before Election Day. The only hope here for 11/9 –and note audiences love it with a solid A CinemaScore and four-and-a-half stars on PostTrak while critics enjoyed it at 80% certified fresh–is that it's living in a rich holdover marketplace for documentary films, i.e. The pic isn't just booked in the big cities, but small towns, which typically have to wait weeks on end for a Moore movie to hit town. A limited platform release would have done the same trick, buzz-wise, and avoided any lackluster ticket sales in regards to its wide break.
3-day (-%)
A Simple Favor
But through the first 18 days of the month, September is faring quite well with $413M, 7% ahead of the same running period in 2016 (which finaled at $587.9M) and pacing behind September 2017 by 8%. Universal's Kevin Hart-Tiffany Haddish PG-13 comedy Night School could push the month's ticket sales even higher as the pic is tracking for a $25M-$34M opening next weekend. Now the September box office will not reach the all-time record of last September's $698.5M record, of which Warner Bros.' It repped 41%. If this month maintains its current pace, it could wind up being the second-best September ever at $629M.
$10.5M (-34%)
Its predecessor, Predators from July 2010, ran into Christopher Nolan's Inception in its second weekend and saw a 72% tumble to $7M. 20th Century Fox's The Predator in its second weekend will ease to about $7M-$9M in its second weekend after a No. 1 take of $24.6M. 2 take of $9M-$10M. That Blake Lively-Anna Kendrick movie is likely to beat the monster for a No. Early industry reports show that on Thursday The Predator was neck-in-neck with Lionsgate's Paul Feig comedy noir A Simple Favor drawing $1.24M a piece. The sixthquel from Shane Black grossed $31.7M in its first week.
Praises social RelishMix, "There are numerous positives in this partnership. Those wide releases that opened in late August were set back at the B.O. (read Happy Time Murders), since late night and AM talk shows were on summer break. Second, many cast members were not activated to this point – including Jack Black. "The longtime comic actor has been less active on his official feeds, and more visible in special clips cut for the film, like behind the scenes on FilmIsNow and special magic tricks made for the DreamworksTV audience," reports RelishMix. This is a great example of an effort other studios could easily replicate in their own campaigns." Black is the social media star of the film, counting 10M across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. That wasn't a problem here with the House cast getting face time on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen. First of all, the campaign reaches the core audience of the film, which is often those who read the original material. Finally, other cast members who are not officially on social media, like Cate Blanchett, were able to participate, too.
Also, Jack Black certainly has his fans, and they’re happy to see the comedian in this role. In regards to the success of House, the third weekend in September has organically been built to serve family and teenage audiences. Universal and Amblin met the demo head on, with an IP that media monitor RelishMix says has "lots of fans chiming" on social media, "with memories of the books from childhood, and they're excited to see the movie adaptation. And, like other family/live action films, House definitely has that 'moment' that has people talking, in this case, the slimy, gross pumpkins." Overall, CinemaScore is a B+, which is the same as Miss Peregrine, but below Goosebumps' 'A' grade. Read: it's a place where such movies as Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs ($30.3M), The Maze Runner ($32.5M), and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials ($30.3M) have launched to solid business, even though it's not a time when many schools are off (ComScore reports only 2% K-12 are currently off).
The Nun and The Predator are occupying ranks 3 and 4, with, respectively, $9.4M and $8M, and that's hipster pocket change that indie Assassination Nation does not have (plus it has a middling RT score of 65% fresh). The Nun looks to hit $100M by tomorrow. Much of that has to do with the fact that there's plenty of solid holdovers standing in these new pics' paths. 2, driven by 70% females, with an estimated $10.5M, easing only 34%, for a 10-day total by Sunday of $32.7M. Lionsgate's noir comedy A Simple Favor is No.
This Sam Levinson-directed pic is coming in at $1M. Again, blame The Nun and The Predator for chiefly standing in the way of this indie pic's business. A digital campaign was largely executed. While Assassination Nation aims to be daring in its modern day Salem witch trial colliding with Internet hacking, critics such as Amy Nicholson for Variety feel that the teenage satire is an "immature screed" and more of a "Molotov cocktail thrown at a hazy target" in its arresting of sexism, fragile male egos, etc. Neon/AGBO's Assassination Nation was aiming to make a microbudget play (both companies shelled out $10M for global rights out of Sundance) in the vein of Blumhouse's BLT releases, but typically success comes with those movies with a $3M-$5M opening, zeroing in on a specific demo. A wide release was promised versus a platform like The Orchard's hip Sundance pick-up American Animals (which with MoviePass as its partner pushed stateside ticket sales to $2.8M in the end). They weren't wowed with a two-and-a-half stars and 60% overall positive on PostTrak, with a very low 39% definite recommend. NEON enjoyed the edginess of the pic; that's why they bought it for theatrical. The pic played largely to adults, not the under-25 set, with men over 25 showing up at 32%, followed by females over 25 at 29%.
Meanwhile, the weekend's fresh counter-programming –Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 11/9 ($2.8M), Amazon's Life Itself ($2.1M), and NEON/AGBO's Assassination Nation ($1M)–is going down the tubes.
$3.3M (-45%)
4TH UPDATE, WRITETHRU SATURDAY AM: With demos Spooky kids movies still work at the box office, with Amblin Entertainment/Universal's The House With a Clock in its Walls looking at an estimated $7.8M Friday and $24.6M opening weekend.
2,802 (-583)
Story follows a 10-year-old who goes to live with his uncle whose house has a mysterious tick-tocking heart. House is based on the children’s book written by John Bellairs and illustrated by Edward Gorey. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle actor Jack Black stars alongside Oscar winner Cate Blanchett. But his new town’s sleepy façade jolts to life with a secret world of warlocks and witches when Lewis accidentally awakens the dead. Director Eli Roth is stepping out of his hardcore genre zone here to helm House.
Also opening this weekend is Neon/AGBO's Sundance acquistion of the teen action comedy Assassination Nation which is looking to post around $3.5M; Thursday night previews are estimated around $120K. All pics held Thursday night previews.” /> Amazon has This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman's drama weepy Life Itself, which hasn't won over critics with a 12% Rotten score, is expected to earn $4M-$5M; the ensemble pic which stars Oscar Isaac, Antonio Banderas, Olivia Wide, Annette Bening among others earned $100K. Tom Ortenberg's Briarcliff Entertainment has the Michael Moore doc Fahrenheit 11/9 going wide at 1,719 venues with industry projections seeing $5M-$6M and posted $275K last night.
$1.48M (-57%)
1ST UPDATE, 7:29AM: Amblin Entertainment's The House With a Clock in its Walls from Universal drew $840K from 2,700 locations on Thursday night.
$6.3M (-27%)
$2.9M (-51%)
$2.1M (-45%)
$2.4M (-77%)
But no, this one is playing it straight." Turnout here was 54% females over 25, followed by 30% guys over 25. rights acquisition Life Itself to its box office grave (former Amazon motion pictures boss Jason Ropell beat out Paramount and Universal for Life Itself rights, the latter studio a sister to NBC which airs director Dan Fogelman's hit Emmy-winning series This Is Us). If you're a tearjerker movie, you're as good as dead at the box office, no thanks to film critics who don't buy into any Kleenex sentiment for such fare. That translates into bad RT scores of 13% Rotten and sends Amazon's $10M-U.S. Time's Stephanie Zacharek slams, "So perversely jaw-dropping in its attempts to extort feelings out of us that it could almost be a black comedy. A low 47% definite recommend here. Part of the sour message that critics are transmitting about Life Itself is, 'Why head to the movies when you can watch this This Is Us multi-generational family melodrama on TV on Tuesday night?' Like Will Smith's Collateral Beauty, Life Itself isn't a movie that was built for critics, but general moviegoers, evident in its positive test screenings, five-minute standing ovation at TIFF (that happens at Cannes, not TIFF), and the B+ CinemaScore, which isn't too shabby (PostTrak audiences like it far less at two-and-a-half stars). Fogelman in the press blamed white male critics for the bad word of mouth on Life Itself, but there were many top female critics who didn't go for this movie. Once again, the weepy melodrama film is exhibit A in how RT scores impact certain types of films at the domestic box office.
The house…
The Predator
Two of the best-reviewed specialty releases of the weekend, Annapurna's Joaquin Phoenix-John C. rights to the Wash Westmoreland movie for mid-seven-figures out of Park City, UT as Deadline exclusively reported. Bleecker Street and 30WEST snapped up U.S. Reilly western comedy The Sisters Brothers (82% certified fresh RT) and Bleecker Street's Colette (92% certified fresh) have the best theater averages, respectively with an estimated $30K and $41K. Sisters Brothers, which launched at Venice and then played Deauville and TIFF, is looking at $120K at four NY and LA sites, while Colette, which world-premiered at Sundance back in January and recently played TIFF, is making $164K at four NY and LA venues.
The Nun
$3.7M (-38%)
2,680 (-300)
2,003 (-848)
3,707 (-169)
Not bad for a pic which cost $40M, 63% cheaper than Tim Burton's $110M Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, another haunted kids book feature adaptation from two autumns ago.
fahrenheit 11/9
$1M (-38%)
Life Itself
Crazy Rich Asians
To lure audiences into the movie theater this weekend, Universal leveraged Jack Black's star wattage with family crowds in the wake of the enormous success of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ($404.5M domestic), with the actor participating in a bulk of custom content, such as the final episode of Funny Or Die’s “IMDB ME,” as well as an appearance on Rhett & Link. 6, reading from the original The House With a Clock in its Walls. Along with the rest of the cast, Black participated in National Read A Book Day Sept.
White Boy Rick
screens (chg)
The Meg
$8M (-67%)
4,070 (+33)