Barry Seal, a TWA pilot, is recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning communist threat in Central America and soon finds himself in charge of one of the biggest covert CIA operations in the history of the United States, one that spawned the birth of the Medellin cartel and eventually almost brought down the Reagan White House with the Iran Contra scandal.
September 1st, 2017 (Wide), released as Barry Seal: El Traficante
This is the first Tuesday of the year, so it should be no surprise that there are not a lot of top-tier releases on this week’s list. In fact, there were so few releases worth mentioning that I had to pad the list with some films that were not selling well enough to be worth mentioning during most weeks. As for the Pick of the Week contenders, there were only two: Lucky and Battle of the Sexes. It was a close race, but in the end, I gave that title to Lucky on DVD.
September ended on a slow note, but it looks like October will open fast. Blade Runner 2049 has been setting October pre-order records for a few sites, but it will also need strong walk-up sales in order to actually break the October weekend record, currently held by Gravity, with $55 million. I don’t think that’s likely, but at this point I would be shocked if it didn’t land in the top ten weekends for the month. The Mountain Between Us looks more and more like busted Oscar-bait. Its reviews have fallen from just over 70% positive to under 50% positive. As I started writing this, My Little Pony: The Movie still had no reviews, which is almost worse than bad reviews. (Reviews are starting to trickle in.) Finally there’s Victoria and Abdul, which is expanding. It isn’t expanding wide, or even semi-wide; however, it should still earn a spot in the top ten. This weekend last year, The Girl on the Train opened with $24.54 million. Blade Runner 2049 could earn twice that. If 2017 does win in the year-over-year comparison, then it will be on the back of Blade Runner 2049.
The top three films on the weekend box office chart landed in the same order as predicted; however, it was a much closer race than most thought it would be. Kingsman: The Golden Circle ended up on top with $16.94 million, just ahead of It with $16.90 million. The best new release of the week was American Made with $16.78 million. The other new releases struggled, to be kind, with Flatliners earning a distant fifth place and Til Death Do Us Part opening in ninth place. Overall, the box office fell 23% from last weekend to just $90 million. It was also 21% lower than the same weekend last year, thus ending 2017’s mini-winning streak. Year-to-date, 2017 has earned $8.06 billion, putting it 4.8% or $410 million behind last year’s pace.
Warner Bros. is claiming a weekend win at the box office for It as of this morning, but whichever way you slice it, we have a threeway tie at the top of the chart, based on Sunday morning estimates. In fact, we might have a rare weekend where three different movies will top the daily chart. American Madetook a lead on Friday with a $6.17 million opening day, It won on Saturday with around $7.9 million, and the eventual result for the weekend will depend on whether Kingsman: The Golden Circle wins on Sunday, and by how much. As of this morning, Kingsman is projected to make $17 million, American Made $17.02 million, and It (a slightly optimistic, for my money) $17.3 million. We’ll know the real winner on Monday morning, and It probably has a slight edge.
American Made topped the box office chart on Friday with $6.1 million. This is a little better than predicted and certainly better than previews were suggesting it would make. Its 85% positive reviews should result in long legs. On the other hand, its B plus from CinemaScore is the definition of average. It could grab first place with just over $16 million, but it is not the only film on pace to earn that much this weekend.
It looks like September will end with a whimper, as there are three wide releases, none of which are expected to be midlevel hits. American Made should have no trouble being the biggest of the three new releases, but it has a less than 50/50 chance of earning first place. Flatliners’ buzz started out quiet and it failed to grow by any significant margin. It looks like it will open below $10 million. Finally there’s Til Death Do Us Part, which may or may not manage a spot in the top ten. 2017’s mini-winning streak looks to be over, as this weekend last year had two films earning more than $20 million, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Deepwater Horizon. This year, there will likely be none.
September ends on a low note with two wide releases, American Made and Flatliners, neither of which are expected to be anything more than midlevel hits. American Made is nearly done its international run (It only has about a dozen markets left to open in) and it is not going well. That said, it is still expected to do much better than Flatliners, so it is the better choice for the target film in this week’s box office prediction contest. In order to win, one must simply predict the opening three-day weekend box office number for American Made.
We are starting the Halloween Trick or Treat contests a little early, because I still have a lot of horror films I’ve saved for this time of year and this will be the last Halloween for the Box Office Prediction contest. In fact, the Box Office Prediction contest will be ending at the end of the year. Each winner from now until Halloween will either win a horror movie or a movie so bad it is scary it was made. (Each winner will also get a TV on DVD release or a kids DVD, because I’m trying to run out of prizes by the end of the year.)
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film’s opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going over, will win a Trick or Treat Frankenprize, as described above.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film’s opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going under, will also win a Trick or Treat Frankenprize, as described above.
Finally, we will be choosing an entrant from the group of people who haven’t won, or haven’t won recently, and they will win the final Trick or Treat Frankenprize, as described above.
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don’t delay!
Spider-Man: Homecoming returned to the international top five earning first place with $71.82 million on 21,675 screens in 47 markets for totals of $495.74 million internationally and $823.43 million worldwide. The film debuted in first place in China with $69.12 million on 20,440 screens over the weekend for a four-day opening of $70.63 million. This is already the biggest single market for the film, overtaking South Korea, where it has earned $51.51 million. At this point, the film will have no trouble getting to $900 million worldwide, but $1 billion is out of reach.
As bad as July was, August actually managed to be worse. 2017 was over $300 million behind 2016’s pace during August alone. That’s worse than the rest of the summer combined. The only film that was an unqualified hit was Annabelle: Creation, although there were a couple of other films that are doing well enough to be considered financial hits. There’s some good news and some bad news for this September. The month gets off to a slow start with no wide releases the first weekend, but there are three films opening during the rest of the month that are expected to top $100 million and all three should be better than the best August had to offer. It is expected to be the biggest hit of the month and is tracking to break the record for the biggest September weekend. Both Kingsman: The Golden Circle and The Lego Ninjago Movie are expected to cross $100 million, although they are opening the same weekend, so that could hurt both of their chances. Meanwhile last September, Sully was the biggest release of the month earning $125.07 million. It should top that, while Kingsman: The Golden Circle and The Lego Ninjago Movie won’t be too far behind. 2017 should cut the gap with 2016, but sadly only by a little bit.
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