Weekend Box: ‘House With a Clock’ Tops One of the Year’s Worst Weekends
It was a bad weekend for a trio of buzzy festival movies as Life Itself, Assassination Nation, and Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9 flopped harder than expected at the box office. So bad, it ended up being the third-worst weekend of the year so far. But there were some winners, including Eli Roth’s family-friend horror movie, A House With A Clock In Its Walls, which landed at number one. Here’s the full weekend box office chart:
|1||The House With a Clock In Its Walls||$26,850,000||$7,475||$26,850,000|
|2||A Simple Favor||$10,400,000 (-35%)||$3,353||$32,562,414|
|3||The Nun||$10,250,000 (-44%)||$2,765||$100,895,307|
|4||The Predator||$8,700,000 (-65%)||$2,138||$40,435,122|
|5||Crazy Rich Asians||$6,515,000 (-25%)||$2,325||$159,439,483|
|6||White Boy Rick||$5,000,000 (-44%)||$1,997||$17,410,368|
|9||The Meg||$2,350,000 (-39%)||$1,173||$140,522,919|
Though the Hostel director is best known for his cringe-inducing gore, Roth went and made a PG-rated horror movie for kids. The House With a Clock In Its Walls earned a B+ CinemaScore and mixed reviews (this critic wasn’t crazy about it), but nevertheless landed at the top of the box office chart. The haunted house movie, which follows a young orphan who moves in with his warlock uncle (Jack Black), surpassed expectations and debuted with $26.8 million over the weekend, making it Roth’s biggest opening to date – Hostel follows behind at $19.5 million. It also performed better than Black’s last fall family horror movie, 2015’s Goosebumps, which opened to $23.6 million. Dropping a spooky PG movie right as kids are going back to school was certainly a smart choice.
As for the rest of the weekend’s wide releases, it was another type of horror story. A trio of films that made the festival rounds from Sundance and Toronto, Dan Fogelman’s Life Itself, Neon’s Assassination Nation, and Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9, all bombed hard. Moore’s latest doc was the only one of the three to break into the weekend’s top 10, though earning just $3.1 million across 1,719 screens. Expanding to that many locations on opening weekend instead of opting for a slower roll-out may have hurt the film.
The next most disappointing opening was tear-jerker drama Life Itself from the This Is Us creator, which landed in the 11th spot with $2.1 million. Despite a stacked cast, the film got dreadful reviews – like 12 percent on Rotten Tomatoes level dreadful – that even prompted Fogelman to blame white male critics; too bad multiple female critics and people of color were vocal about the movie's manipulative problems. And then there’s black comedy Assassination Nation, which was the biggest purchase at Sundance this year (bought by Neon for $10 million). Surely Neon expected more than the film opening to a bleak $1 million and – wait for it – earning a mere $733 per-theater-average. Ouch indeed.
With those three opening so poorly, a few holdovers made it into the top 10. Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor landed in the second spot with $10.4 million, The Nun, in third place, cracked $100 million domestically, and Searching held on strong in the 10th spot – the second-highest 2018 Sundance earner behind Hereditary. There was also good news at the specialty box office with two sharp and refreshing period movies. The Keira Knightley-led literary drama Colette opened to $156,788 in four locations with a solid $39,197 per-theatre-average, which as Indiewire notes makes its two-city limited opening the best since Eighth Grade this past summer. Jacques Audiard’s surprisingly subversive western The Sisters Brothers, led by a great cast including John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix, also opened in four theaters with a $30,507 average. Hopefully the rest of the fall season only goes up from here.
Gallery – The Highest Grossing Movies of All Time: