Dylan O'Brien's 'American Assassin' has the No. 2 spot in its sights
It has still got it. Warner Bros. and New Line’s big-screen adaptation of the Stephen King horror novel is on track to gross an estimated $60 million in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, topping the box office for a second time. On the flip side, Darren Aronofsky and Jennifer Lawrence’s psychological thriller mother! is stumbling with an estimated a $7.5 million debut.
After a record-breaking bow last week, It declined just 51 percent, bringing its domestic total to an estimated $218.7 million after just 10 days in theaters. The movie is now the highest-grossing September release ever, eclipsing the $174.8 pulled in by Crocodile Dundee in 1984. It is also set to add another $60.3 million overseas, which would put its worldwide tally at $371.3 million.
Andy Muschietti (Mama) directed It, which stars Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff, and Jeremy Ray Taylor as a group of unpopular kids in small-town Maine who battle an evil presence that feeds on its young victims’ greatest fears. Bill Skarsgard portrays the malevolent being in its favored form, a demonic clown named Pennywise.
King’s novel was published in 1986 and previously adapted as a 1990 miniseries. A sequel to Muschietti’s movie has not been officially given the green light but is already in development.
Fortunes are looking less favorable for mother!, which is on pace to come in well below industry projections of about $11 million. That puts the Paramount film in third place for the weekend and resets the bar as the lowest nationwide release of Lawrence’s career (displacing The House at the End of the Street and its $12.3 million five years ago).
Despite having a name director in Aronofsky and a star-studded cast — including Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer — mother! was largely rejected by audiences. They hit it with an F CinemaScore, putting it in rare company and likely hobbling word-of-mouth prospects. Critics’ reviews were not as dire but still somewhat mixed.
The film, which Aronofsky also wrote, stars Lawrence as a young woman whose tranquil life with her husband, a creatively blocked poet (Bardem), is upended by the arrival of an enigmatic couple.
Speaking to EW about the extreme reactions to his movie, Aronofsky said, “Anytime you do something that aggressive there are going to be people who enjoy it, who want to be on that roller coaster ride, and then there are others who say, ‘Oh no, that was not for me.’ It’s a strange one. You see Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer and people are conditioned for a certain type of movie. And … we didn’t do that type of movie. [Laughs] It’s all good.”
Sliding between It and mother! at the No. 2 spot is another R-rated film, American Assassin. The new release, which marks Dylan O’Brien’s first time back on the big screen since his serious injury on the set of Maze Runner: The Death Cure last year, will gross about $14.8 million this weekend. It’s a satisfactory start for the action-thriller, about equal to that of the original John Wick (which just got a second sequel).
Directed by Michael Cuesta (Kill The Messenger) and released by Lionsgate, American Assassin stars O’Brien as a CIA black-ops recruit under the tutelage of a Cold War veteran (Michael Keaton). Critics were unimpressed by the film, but audiences gave it a respectable B-plus CinemaScore.
Rounding out the top five are the Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy Home Again, with an estimated $5.3 million, and the Ryan Reynolds-Samuel L. Jackson action-comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which an estimated $3.6 million.
And on the specialty front, Mike White’s dramedy Brad’s Status, starring Ben Stiller as a middle-aged family man questioning his life choices while touring colleges with his son, is leading the pack with an estimated $100,179 from four locations. That breaks down to a solid per-theater average of $25,045 for the Amazon and Annapurna release.
According to ComScore, overall box office is down 4.9 percent year-to-date. Check out the Sept. 15-17 figures below.
1. It — $60 million
2. American Assassin — $14.8 million
3. mother! — $7.5 million
4. Home Again — $5.3 million
5. The Hitman’s Bodyguard — $3.6 million
6. Annabelle: Creation — $2.6 million
7. Wind River — $2.5 million
8. Leap! — $2.1 million
9. Spider-Man: Homecoming — $1.9 million
10. Logan Lucky — $1.3 million