Weekend Report: “Black Mass” Solid, “Scorch Trials” Stumbles, “Everest” Climbs to Excellent Debut

Both new movies in wide release were a bit disappointing, but neither of them can really be labeled as failures.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials opened with $30M this weekend. That’s a bit down from The Maze Runner‘s $32M debut from exactly one year ago. That’s a bit disappointing for a number of reasons; one, this film was more anticipated than the last film. Two, it seemed as though it would have a higher opening given that the first film was a slow grosser than made most of its money after its opening weekend. Given that sequels for films in this genre are typically much more front loaded than their predecessors, Scorch Trials is probably only going to wind up in the $80-$90M range. That’s not a huge problem, however, given that the majority of its gross will come from overseas, where the film is already doing excellent business. It opened to $78M outside the US, bringing its total to $108M. Given those numbers it will likely top $300M worldwide by the end of its run.

Black Mass opened to $23M this weekend. That’s lower than expected given its Thursday and Friday numbers, but its not a bad opening. Having seen the film, it is certainly a hard sell. It’s brutally violent, has constant swearing and is not something that many wide audiences would enjoy. It seems like something that would’ve done better in an arthouse limited release and then gone wide later in order to build up buzz rather than simply go right for the big weekend, but given its $53M budget the studio was likely eager to get as much money as possible. What’s interesting is that it made the exact same amount of money on Friday and Saturday ($8.815M) followed by a sharp 35% drop on Sunday (estimates, of course) which isn’t great for an adult oriented film. In comparison, Gone Girl had a 15% jump on Saturday. If word of mouth is good, it could hold on well but probably won’t top the $100M mark domestically.

Everest had a limited release in IMAX and certain Large Format theaters and opened to a fantastic $7.5M. That’s way higher than expectations, though there’s really no other films that this could be compared to. The studio made the wise choice to get the film out in IMAX a week early not only to promote that it needed to be seen on the biggest screen possible, but also because if they did it normally on the 25th would’ve lost its big screens in just 5 days, as The Walk is pulling a similar strategy (opening in IMAX/LFT on the 30th and in wide release on Oct. 9) Even though this will take away a decent chunk from its opening weekend, Everest could end up being a big surprise next weekend. In comparison, Gravity made $11M in its opening weekend from IMAX, which represented a 21% share. If Everest follows a similar path, it will open with around $30M next weekend.

Among holdovers, The Visit was in first with $11M. That’s a perfectly reasonable 55% drop, which is fine for a found footage horror film. That brings its domestic total to $42M in two weeks, and could wind up with around $60M by the end of its run. Given the $5M budget, that’s a fine result. What’s funny is that even with such a small budget, The Visit may actually outgross Shyamalan’s last film After Earth domestically.

The Perfect Guy was down a sharp 63% from its opening weekend, bringing i\n $9.6M this weekend. That’s hardly surprising given how front loaded films in this genre always are, but don’t look for this to make much more than $50M before disappearing from theaters.

Sicario opened in six theaters this weekend and took in a fantastic $390K, with a per theater average of $65K. Last years Birdman made $106K average at 4 theaters, but that had much more of an arthouse appeal with its meta premise and surrealist imagery, whereas Sicario is an action thriller. Whether or not this is going to be an indication of its wide release is yet to be seen.

War Room brought in yet another $6.2M, down just 20% from last weekend. Tristar keeps adding theaters every weekend, which seems to help fueling its excellent gross. It’s up to a whopping $47M domestic, making it one of the highest grossing Christian dramas of all time, behind Heaven is for RealSon of GodThe Nativity StoryGod’s Not Dead and Passion of the Christ when adjusted for inflation.

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