North America saw two winners emerge at the box-office this weekend, which is a jolly good surprise considering how lacklustre things were getting. Both the films – The Perfect Guy and The Visit – were made on low budgets and excelled over the weekend with strong collections. In a tight race, The Perfect Guy came out on top earning $26.7 million over the weekend, more than twice its production budget of $12 million. The Perfect Guy follows the strong performances of Straight Outta Compton and War Room, each of them having African Americans as the leading cast. A 31% score on Rottentomatoes indicates that the critics weren’t too impressed but these movies have a certain target audience which don’t really worry about what the critics think. It is quite likely that there would be a steep fall in the coming weeks, but The Perfect Guy has done more than enough already to make it a success for distributor Screen Gems.
On the heels of The Perfect Guy was M. Night Shyamalan’s horror film The Visit which grossed $25.7 million in North America. That is somewhat similar to the opening of the previous Shyamalan movie After Earth, but while the latter was made on a hefty production budget of $130 million, the new movie The Visit was made with only $5 million. It’s a fantastic recovery for M. Night Shyamalan who had seen a bit too many of his previous movies fail which had all but eroded the goodwill that The Sixth Sense had created sixteen years back. The Visit has been distributed by Universal Pictures, who can do nothing wrong this year, after the master of low-budget horror films Jason Blum took the movie to the studio. The movie’s reviews have been better too (62% score on Rottentomatoes) and after a long time there is a positive buzz around Shyamalan once again. Hopefully, he will make good use of it.
War Room slipped to third spot at the domestic box-office to accommodate the two newcomers. The movie continues to add theatres which has led to very low drops each weekend. It has already earned $39 million, a fantastic figure as compared to its $3 million production budget. Another faith-based movie 90 Minutes in Heaven released this weekend in limited theaters earning $2.2 million, which makes for only $2,461 earnings per theatre; hardly encouraging. The movie’s production budget is only $5 million but I doubt it is going to manage a profit. Last weekend’s winner A Walk in the Woods dropped by a rather reasonable 44% whereas The Transporter Refueled fell sharply by 63%. The Transporter Refueled has earned only $23 million globally so far, but there should be more markets in which it is yet to open, where it can still salvage something.
Among other big stories, China ended its 2-month ‘blackout period’ for Hollywood movies. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation thus opened last Tuesday in China, going on to rake $86 million which pushed its worldwide box-office collections to $613 million. It is now on its way to catch up with the $695 million collections of 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. The animated movie Minions released in China on Sunday, earning $20 million and thus officially becoming the second-highest earner amongst animated movies with $1.08 billion worldwide collections – ahead of Toy Story 3 and behind Frozen. Incredible achievement for the studio Illumination Entertainment which is only eight years old! Another animated movie to have done amazingly well this year is Inside Out which grossed more than $351 million in North America alone to become the third-biggest domestic movie of the year, domestically, moving ahead of Furious 7. This Pixar film has earned $747 million globally so far. Do not forget, there is another Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur which will hit the theatres in a couple of months. Expect many more changes in the rankings by the time the year comes to an end!
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. The Perfect Guy ($26.7 million)
2. The Visit ($25.7 million)
3. War Room ($7.4 million; third weekend)
4. A Walk in the Woods ($4.6 million; second weekend)
5. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation ($4.2 million; seventh weekend)