As per usual, August continues to slow down with a very quiet end to the summer in sight.
Sinister 2 took the top spot among the newcomers, continuing the trend of horror films failing to reach strong heights.
The last horror film to open to over $30M was Annabelle from October of 2014. So far, between the disappointing results of the Poltergeist remake and The Gallows, it seems as though it is another slow year for horror. It took in $10M this weekend, which is about
half of what the original Sinister did, taking in $18M for its opening. That was above average at the time for a very low
budget supernatural horror thriller, which could likely be chalked up to a lack of strong competition, combined with marketing and word of mouth that made it clear that it was a genuinely terrifying film. (As someone who lost some sleep over the Super 8 films, I can confirm that.) Sinister 2, on the other hand, didn’t look nearly as scary and almost corney at some points.
The atrocious 13% on Rotten Tomatoes likely didn’t help it either. It was also a strange choice to release this in August, as it undoubtedly would’ve done better in October. The only horror competition in October is Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, which is probably going to set a new low in the franchise anyway. Having such a drastic dropoff from such a well received film is certainly disappointing. Given how front loaded it was, Sinister 2 will likely top out with less than $25M total.
Straight Outta Compton actually took first place this weekend with $26M, a strong hold for the R rated biopic. It seems as though this will easily be the highest grossing film of the month and should be able to hold onto first place for another two to three weeks. Next week the only competition comes from We Are Your Friends, which will likely register less than a blip on the radar, followed by The Transporter Refueled on September 4th, which given its Labor Day release date will fail to garner any attention whatsoever.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation also managed to just barely top all the newcomers, taking $11M in its fourth weekend, with a new domestic total of $157M. Sometime this week it should be able to top The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water to become Paramount Pictures’ highest grossing film of 2015 thusfar. It’s also close to topping the adjusted gross of Mission Impossible III, with $166M. It’s likely that Mission Impossible will top out domestically at around $175M, down just around $30M from the previous installment. Given the usual heavy drop from a Christmas to summer release, that’s a very strong result. Factor in the $280M and counting from foreign grosses and it seems that Mission Impossible is all set for a sixth installment.
Hitman Agent 47 was a bit better than expected with $8.2M, though not really good enough to call it a win. While many will call this doomsday for the video-game movie genre, Uncharted and Warcraft actually have a chance to prove the genre can be good (whereas Hitman‘s 7% rating says otherwise), but those are much more popular franchises that actually feel as though a film adaptation works. Obviously the studios are confident in them, as they are both getting releases smack dab in June of 2016 for Warcraft and 2017 for Uncharted.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E fell 45% with a second weekend take of $7.4M, bringing its new domestic total to a soft $26M, and its worldwide total to $38M. That’s way below the $75M budget, and shows that profitability is an impossible goal at this point.
American Ultra went up in smoke with just $5.5M for the weekend, not an entirely shocking result for a low budget stoner comedy. It received a B- Cinemascore meaning word of mouth will be weak. Without a ton of competition, it will likely wind up with just around $13M total.