Photo From “Happy Death Day.” Photo Courtesy Of Universal Pictures.

“Happy Death Day” Scares “Blade Runner 2049” Away From The Number One Spot

The latest entry from Blumhouse Productions, the Groundhog Day-esque slasher film Happy Death Day, managed to scare up $26 million on its opening weekend, defeating the blockbuster Blade Runner 2049 which continues to stumble.

Results Courtesy Of Box Office Mojo:

  1. Happy Death Day ($26,039,025) (NEW)
  2. Blade Runner 2049 ($15,492,244) ($60,970,631)
  3. The Foreigner ($13,113,024) (NEW)
  4. It ($6,055,633) ($314,935,154)
  5. The Mountain Between Us ($5,750,951) ($20,603,873)
  6. American Made ($5,500,950) ($40,230,815)
  7. Kingsman: The Golden Circle ($5,379,417) ($89,716,457)
  8. The LEGO Ninjago Movie ($4,316,424) ($51,579,113)
  9. My Little Pony: The Movie ($4,111,877) ($15,625,311)
  10. Victoria And Abdul ($3,006,155) ($11,233,099)

The strong debut of Happy Death Day proves to be another example of producer Jason Blum’s winning formula of making horror movies dirt cheap and casting mostly relative unknowns. It worked for Get Out ($175M domestically against $4.5 million budget), it worked for Split ($138M domestically against $9 million budget), and it even worked for The Visit ($65M domestically against $5 million budget). This formula has become so potent at the box office that more high-profile titles get very nervous about competition. The fact that low budget horror films, which rely on concept rather than special effects and star power, can make a film like mother! with Jennifer Lawrence change its release date and can domestically outgross a blockbuster like the latest Pirates entry proves how powerful they have become.

Besides Happy Death Day, the Jackie Chan actioner The Foreigner made its debut as well but with $13 million. It isn’t terrible but with a $35 million budget, we’ll see how it holds up stateside. For what it’s worth, it’s playing well overseas and already has grossed $101 million worldwide thanks in large part to Jackie Chan’s star power and social media presence.

The Foreigner certainly had more presence than the weekend’s other new releases. The biopic Marshall starring Chadwick Boseman made an adequate $3 million in just 821 locations while Professor Marston And The Wonder Women made an abysmal $737K in 1,229 theaters. I’m guessing that distributor Annapurna Pictures wanted to give Professor Marston a semi-wide release as a way to capitalize on the success of Wonder Woman. But when I discussed the film’s poor box office with people on Twitter, they said they hardly saw any ads for it. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this was an underperformer and sadly, even though it’s such a great movie, it likely won’t stick around in theaters much longer. Hopefully, those that missed it in theaters will at least discover it on streaming.

In the specialty market, Victoria And Abdul held steady in tenth with $3 million for the weekend and a $11 million domestic cum. Even if Judi Dench somehow doesn’t make a dent in the competitive Best Actress race, this is still an impressive performer for the esteemed veteran. Also, The Florida Project expanded impressively, making $368K in just 33 theaters. In the Oscar race for Best Picture, there is always a “little movie that could” like Beasts And The Southern Wild or Room that competes against the more high-profile studio pics. It looks like this year, that title will go to The Florida Project.

As for the two major awards contenders that made their debut this weekend, Breathe and Goodbye Christopher Robin, it looks like they are already out of breath and we may have to say “goodbye” to their chances. Breathe opened with a measly per theater average of $5K in four theaters and Goodbye Christopher Robin with an average of $6K in nine theaters. Just for comparison, when The Big Sick first opened, it opened with $421K in five theaters with a much higher per theater average of $84K.

What did you guys see this weekend? Please feel free to share what you saw and what you think of these results in the comments section. Thanks for reading!
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