Sci-fi thriller 'Morgan' bombs, 'The Light Between Oceans' meets modest expectations

By Joey Nolfi
September 04, 2016 at 05:59 PM EDT
Gordon Timpen

As the summer movie season fades away, domestic box office totals have softened compared to the record-breaking grosses seen earlier in the year, as Don’t Breathe yet again tops a relatively quiet weekend of underperforming newcomers. Still, overall domestic box office totals are up around 5.7 percent from the same frame last year, with 10 of the past 11 weekends having out-paced their 2015 counterparts.

Leading the weekend ahead of a weak crop of new wide releases is Don’t Breathe, which repeats at the top of the pack for a second week in a row after pulling in an estimated three-day total of $15.7 million. The horror flick dips a soft 40 percent from its $26.4 million debut, continuing 2016’s stretch of successful, micro-budgeted (around $10 million) genre titles that have grossed exponentially more than they cost to make. 

Don’t Breathe coasts to its second week atop the box office on solid reviews (it stands at 86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 7.1/10) and decent word-of-mouth, with audiences giving the film an average B+ grade on CinemaScore. 

Finishing the weekend at No. 2 is Warner Bros.’ DC Comics adaptation Suicide Squad, which nears the $300 million domestic mark as it adds approximately $10 million over the three-day weekend. The $175 million production has grossed more than $672 million globally after one month in theaters. Unadjusted for inflation, it is now actor Will Smith’s second-highest grossing film of his nearly 30-year career in the entertainment industry, trailing just under $10 million behind 1996 blockbuster Independence Day‘s $306.2 million total. The film marks career-high totals for Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, and director David Ayer as well. 

Pete’s Dragon vaults from No. 6 to No. 3 with a three-day weekend finish of $6.471 million, narrowly edging out Kubo and the Two Strings‘ $6.467 million gross. The films are neck-and-neck heading into Monday’s Labor Day stretch, which could see Kubo rising ahead of Pete, as the LAIKA animated title is still a newer release. The R-rated animated comedy Sausage Party rounds out the top five, gaining $5.3 million after its fourth weekend in wide release. 

Outside the top five, The Light Between Oceans performed in-line with modest expectations as the highest-grossing new release of the week, nabbing just under $5 million over the three-day frame. The week’s other wide opener, Morgan, bombs with audiences (C+ on CinemaScore) and critics alike, making a paltry $1.96 million from 2,020 locations for a per-theater average of $970 on an $8 million budget. 

STX Entertainment’s Bad Moms becomes the latest female-driven comedy to cross the $100 million mark this weekend, pulling in $4.7 million at No. 7 on a reported $20 million budget, becoming the distributor’s first $100 million+ grosser in its one-year history. The film’s impressive run is further bolstered by strong performance overseas, which sees the Mila Kunis-fronted picture earning an extra $5 million from 3,900 locations in 50 markets, bringing its worldwide total to $141.2 million and counting. 

In limited release, Elizabeth Wood’s White Girl, the titillating Sundance indie, performs well, averaging about $12,000 per-screen from three theaters. 

Sept. 2-4 three-day weekend estimates are below. Check back here on Monday, Sept. 5 for four-day totals. 

1. Don’t Breathe – $15.7 million

2. Suicide Squad – $10 million

3. Pete’s Dragon – $6.471 million

4. Kubo and the Two Strings – $6.467 million

5. Sausage Party – $5.3 million

6. The Light Between Oceans – $5 million

7. Bad Moms – $4.74 million million

8. War Dogs – $4.71 million

9. Hell or High Water – $4.5 million

10. Mechanic: Resurrection – $4.3 million

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