'The House with a Clock in Its Walls' wins a quiet weekend box office

Universal‘The House with a Clock in Its Walls.’
  • “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” won the weekend box office with an estimated $US26.8 million.
  • The ambitious movies “Fahrenheit 11/9,” and “Assassination Nation” fell short.
  • Amazon’s “Life Itself” had the year’s worst opening weekend for a film that opened in more than 2,500 screens, as it only took in $US2.1 million.

As September wraps up, we are currently at a dry spot in the box office calendar with no major anticipated titles opening (the next big weekend will be the first in October when “Venom” and “A Star Is Born” start their runs).

That has led to a time of year where indie titles try to capitalise with more ambitious releases, and studios open titles it knows wouldn’t have a chance in a more competitive time on the calendar.

A perfect example is this weekend with the releases of Michael Moore’s latest movie, “Fahrenheit 11/9,” through Briarcliff Entertainment, and Neon’s latest genre title “Assassination Nation.”

Fahrenheit 119 Dog Eat DogDog Eat Dog‘Fahrenheit 11/9.’

Both titles opened on over 1,000 screens instead of the usual strategy of playing the movies in a handful of theatres in New York and Los Angeles and then widening the release in the following weeks. It’s debatable if the strategy paid off for either.

“Fahrenheit 11/9,” Moore’s documentary on the current political landscape, opened this weekend with an estimated $US3.1 million. “Assassination Nation,” a explosive drama that is basically “The Crucible” for the social media age, took in $US1 million.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that both of these titles should have started out smaller and built momentum into a wider release, but this sleepy time of year at the box office tempts distributors to make bold moves.

Life Itself Amazon StudiosAmazon Studios‘Life Itself.’

Like Amazon Studios releasing the polarising “Life Itself” on 2,600 screens despite a 13% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The drama directed by the creator of “This Is Us” ended up earning only $US2.1 million (an incredibly low $US807 pre screen average). That’s the worst debut for a movie this year that opened in over 2,500 theatres.

On the studio side, there was no stopping Universal’s “The House with a Clock in Its Walls.” The family friendly thriller based on the book of the same name and starring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett had no trouble winning the weekend box office with an estimated $US26.8 million.

Holdovers “A Simple Favour” and “The Nun” came in second ($US10.4 million) and third place ($US10.2 million), respectively.

With one weekend left before the heavy hitters come back, look for all these titles to shift their releases accordingly for next weekend so they can collect every penny they can.

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