This weekend, audiences were high on loving you, you being the new Conjuring spin-off The Nun, which had the second biggest opening weekend ever for a September release. With a $53.5 million bow, that puts The Nun ahead of all past September opening weekends sans the gargantuan opening of It in this same weekend last year. It’s also noticeably ahead of every other opening weekend in the Conjuring franchise, surpassing the franchises previous peak opening (the $41.8 million bow of the very first Conjuring movie) by 28%. Such impressive figures are what happen when you have the excellent marketing campaign The Nun had, which included a fantastic teaser trailer, and when you’re the first major horror movie in two months. Audiences were hungry for something spooky and The Nun satisfied that demand big time.
Crazy Rich Asians finally relinquished the box office crown after three weeks at the top of the box office, but this romantic-comedy was still raking in cash with another $13.6 million, a 38% drop from last weekend. This Jon M. Chu-directed feature has now grossed $136.2 million domestically and only needs another $800,000 to surpass Ready Player One to become the biggest movie of 2018 for Warner Bros. and only needs another $13.8 million to become only the ninth romantic-comedy in history to cross $150 million domestically.
Peppermint opened to $13.2 million this weekend, on the high end of pre-release expectations and slightly ahead of the opening weekends of Death Wish and fellow STX Films action feature The Foreigner. It’s also 4% ahead of the $12.8 million bow of the last Jennifer Garner action film Elektra and the ninth biggest opening weekend ever for STX Entertainment. After suffering two big box office duds last month with Mile 22 and especially The Happytime Murders, I’m sure STX would have loved for this one to be a massive sleeper hit that blew past expectations rather than just met them, but for a $30 million action film not based on any prior source material, this is a decent debut that shows that Jennifer Garner is still a box office draw to a degree, though her return to action-packed cinema could have been bigger if the marketing had dared to be more distinctive.
Moving on to the holdovers, The Meg fell 42% this frame and grossed another $6 million, bringing it up to a fantastic $131.5 million domestic total. Experiencing by far the smallest weekend-to-weekend drop in the top 12 was Searching, which dipped only 25% in its second weekend of wide release, allowing it to add $4.5 million to its domestic haul that now stands at $14.3 million. Meanwhile, Mission: Impossible – Fallout dropped 46% this weekend, grossing another $3.8 million in the process and bringing it up to a $212.1 million domestic gross. Only $3.3 million to go before it surpasses Mission: Impossible II to become the biggest Mission: Impossible at the domestic box office. Christopher Robin added $3.1 million this frame, a 39% drop from last weekend, an improvement over the 51% post-Labor Day weekend drop of Pete’s Dragon. Christopher Robin has now grossed $91.7 million domestically.
In its second weekend of release Operation Finale fell 49%, a slightly better second-weekend hold than the 51% second-weekend drop of The Debt, giving it another $3 million for a $14.1 million domestic total to date. Next up, BlacKkKlansman grossed $2.55 million (not $1.56 million, as Box Office Mojo currently erroneously states) in its fifth weekend of release, a 39% drop from last weekend that brings its domestic haul to $43.4 million. The jury is still out on if this one can become only the second Spike Lee directorial effort in history to crack $50 million domestically. Rounding out the top ten was Alpha, which grossed $2.50 (a 45% drop from last weekend) million in its fourth frame, bringing its domestic total up to $32.4 million.
I thought studio Freestyle Releasing had been disbanded after they hadn’t released anything (sans a trio of 2017 direct-to-video releases that couldn’t crack $23,000 at the domestic box office) since the December 2016 film Believe, not to mention the fact that their parent company Entertainment Studios (which bought Freestyle Releasing) kicked off their own movie studio of the same name in June 2017. But no, this weekend’s final new wide release God Bless The Broken Road was in fact released by Freestyle Releasing into 1,235 theaters and it bombed badly with only a $1.56 million debut that’s dismal even by the standards of Christian movies. For example, that’s an opening on par with the $1.5 million bow of last years Christian movie dud All Saints and comes in just behind the $1.57 million debut of Megiddo: The Omega Code III. Freestyle Releasing has released numerous Christian movie box office bombs (The Identical, The Letters and The Masked Saint most notably) in the last four years in an attempt to replicate the success of their biggest movie, the first God’s Not Dead and God Bless The Broken Road turned out to be another example of this trend rather than a sleeper hit in the making ala I Can Only Imagine.
After a massive theater expansion last weekend, Incredibles 2 lost 1,444 locations this frame and fell 62% in the process, which gave it another $1.2 million for a $604.3 million domestic gross. With new STX action movie Peppermint in the marketplace, Mile 22 plummetted a whopping 68% this weekend, giving it a fourth weekend gross of $1.2 million for a domestic total of $35.1 million. Fellow August 2018 STX Films title The Happytime Murders also fell steeply this weekend as it dropped a massive 75% for a third weekend gross of $1 million, bringing it up to an anemic $20 million domestic total. Speaking of steep weekend-to-weekend declines, Kin had the second biggest second-weekend drop of 2018 (only behind the 75% plummet of Super Troopers 2), as it fell 72% for a second weekend gross of only $830,000 and a domestic gross of just $5.3 million. On the other hand, The Wife held extremely well this frame as it expanded into 153 locations and grossed $712,970 for a per-theater average of $4,660 and a $2 million domestic total after playing in only limited release for just four weeks. The Little Stranger plunged 83% from its opening weekend for a second-weekend haul of just $65,000 from 477 locations for a per-theater average of only $137. Having grossed only $680,058, it looks like The Little Stranger will be the first (exempting their direct-to-digital-retailers Focus World titles) Focus Features release to gross under $1 million domestically since Being Flynn in March 2012. No word yet on how Juliet, Naked fared this weekend as it expanded into 467 locations.
The top 12 movies this weekend grossed a total of $107.8 million, down 31% from this same weekend last year when It floated past all box office expectations, but actually the second-biggest 36th weekend of any given year in history and that includes the times the 36th weekend of the year coincided with a 4-day Labor Day weekend. Looks like Fall 2018, coming hot off the heels of a strong Summer 2018 box office, is off to a rollicking start.