All week, box office analysts were getting hyped at the prospect of Blade Runner 2049 possibly becoming the next early October science-fiction box office hit like Gravity or The Martian. Those huge advanced ticket sales numbers seemed to just spur on peoples hopes that this one would be a box office phenomenon….and that didn’t happen. In fact, Blade Runner 2049 sputtered out, grossing only $31.5 million on opening weekend. That’s only 31% higher than the opening weekend of Denis Villeneuve’s last movie, Arrival, and that had a much lower budget to its name and it wasn’t a sequel. This feature also had the fifth lowest-grossing opening weekend ever for a film debuting in over 4,000 theaters.
As someone who thought Blade Runner 2049 was tops blooby (it’s honestly a brilliant movie in terms of its story structure and how it deals with the concept of individualism), I will say it’s insane Alcon Entertainment and Sony/Columbia threw in $150 million into the project. All the money certainly shows up on-screen, I’m just shocked an R-rated sequel to a cult 1980’s classic got that budget and it turns out the films massive budget is unlikely to get reclaimed in its theatrical release even if it ends up doing solid business overseas. In a nutshell, it looks like this one’s marketing just wasn’t able to resonate with people who weren’t already fans of the original Blade Runner, hence why Blade Runner 2049 turned out to be so frontloaded which means it likely won’t have the box office legs of aforementioned October blockbusters like Gravity or The Martian. I imagine this one tops out around $80 million, which is really poor for such a massively budgeted film. A high-quality Blade Runner movie suffers from disastrous box office…the more things change, the more they stay the same.
In second place was fellow new release The Mountain Between Us, which grossed $10.1 million, in tis debut. That’s not awful for a motion picture that isn’t based on a hugely popular novel or a major historical event but it’s easy to see 20th Century Fox wanting this one to open higher given its $35 million budget and given the fact that they opened it in the same early October release date they used to launch mega-hits Gone Girl and The Martian. Poor Idris Elba, he just can’t catch a break at the domestic box office in 2017.
Meanwhile, It was in third place this weekend and grossed $9.6 million, a 43% drop from last weekend that brings the mega-hits domestic box office total to $304.9 million. I’m thinking this one ends up closing its domestic run between $335 and $340 million.
My Little Pony: The Movie became just the latest animated movie from Lionsgate to flame out at the box office as the project grossed only $8.8 million in its middling opening that turned out to be extremely frontloaded. Like Blade Runner 2049, this one seemed to be appealing just to the people who were already fans of this property while the marketing failed to get non-fans hyped. This opening weekend also means My Little Pony: The Movie is yet another animated family movie misfire for the 2017 domestic box office which has been littered with duds in that subgenre.
Rounding out the top five was Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which grossed another $8.1 million, a 52% drop from last weekend, for a 17-day domestic haul of $79.9 million. This one’s holding noticeably worse than its predecessor but it does look like it’ll sneak past $100 million domestic. Meanwhile, American Made went down 52% in its second weekend to gross another $8 million which brings its domestic total to an OK but not exceptional $30.4 million domestic total so far. The LEGO Ninjago Movie seems to be holding bit worse than usual for late September animated family fare as it dropped 42% to gross another $6.7 million for a domestic total of only $43.8 million.
Victoria & Abdul went into wide release this weekend and turned in some really good numbers as a result. Going into 732 theaters, Victoria & Abdul were able to gross $4.1 million for a per-theater average of $5,658, bringing its domestic total to $5.9 million so far. If this one holds well in the weeks to come, it could be only the fifth limited release of 2017 to cross $20 million domestically. Doing far worse at the domestic box office was Flatliners, which went down 42% in its second weekend (a better than usual second-weekend drop for a horror film) to gross another $3.8 million for a $12.3 million domestic total. Rounding out the top ten was Battle Of The Sexes, which increased its theater count by 50% but still went down 30% from last weekend to gross another $2.4 million for an underwhelming $7.6 million domestic total. Finally, some dog movie called The Stray barked up only $550,00 at 640 locations for a woeful per-theater average of only $859.
Meanwhile, The Florida Project got off to a splendid start at 4 locations this weekend, grossing $152,622 for a fantastic per-theater average of $38,156. That’s the eighth best-limited release opening weekend per-theater average of 2017 and the ninth-best opening weekend per-theater average among all movies in 2017. This one could be in for a solid box office run in the weeks ahead. No word yet on how fellow newbie limited release movies Una and So B. It fared in their opening weekends.
The Top 12 movies this weekend grossed a total of $95.2 million, a middle-of-the-road result as far as early October weekends go.