In an upset, Lionsgate’s “Midway” topped Warner Bros.’ “Doctor Sleep” at the box office, opening in first place with $17.5 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.
Even though the film outdid expectations, it is the lowest opening for a new release to hit No. 1 this year. For a fourth straight weekend, the overall box office was down versus a year ago, falling 28% short of the same three-day period in 2018 when “The Grinch” opened with $67.6 million. The year-to-date total now stands at $9.5 billion, 5.5% below last year.
Directed by Roland Emmerich, “Midway” chronicles the 1942 Battle of Midway, which took place six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor and marked an early victory for the allied forces in World War II.
The $100-million film, timed to coincide with Monday’s Veterans Day holiday, was originally pegged to earn about $13 million. It is one of the most expensive independent films ever made and stars Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Ed Skrein and Nick Jonas.
It earned an A CinemaScore from audiences, but a 40% “rotten” rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
In second place, “Doctor Sleep” disappointed with a $14.1-million opening, well under analyst projections of $25 million to $30 million.
A sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror classic “The Shining,” the $50-million film follows an adult Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) as he mentors a young girl (newcomer Kyleigh Curran) who exhibits the same “shine” as he did as a kid. The film is based on the 2013 Stephen King novel of the same name.
It was well-received with a B+ CinemaScore and a 73% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film joins Warner Bros.’ previous flops this year including “The Sun Is Also A Star,” “Shaft,” “The Kitchen,” “Blinded by the Light,” “The Goldfinch” and “Motherless Brooklyn.”
At No. 3, Paramount’s “Playing With Fire” opened with $12.8 million, above analyst projections of $7 million to $10 million.
The $30-million family film stars John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo and Tyler Mane as a group of firefighters turned babysitters. It earned a mixed reception with a B+ CinemaScore and a 24% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
In fourth place, Universal’s “Last Christmas” opened on the low end of analyst projections with $11.6 million.
The romantic comedy stars Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”) and Henry Golding (“Crazy Rich Asians”) in a story inspired by the George Michael and Wham! holiday song of the same name.
The $30-million film was directed by Paul Feig. Emma Thompson co-wrote the script and makes an appearance in the film. It was poorly received with a B- CinemaScore and a 50% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it unlikely to have legs during the holiday season even despite the Christmas hook.
Rounding out the top five, Paramount’s “Terminator: Dark Fate” added $10.8 million in its second weekend (a 63% drop) for a cumulative $48.4 million.
At No. 6, Warner Bros.’ “Joker” added $9.2 million in its sixth weekend for a cumulative $313.5 million. It is now the most profitable comic book movie of all time.
In seventh place, Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” added $8 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $97.3 million.
At No. 8, Focus Features’ “Harriet” added $7.2 million in its second weekend (a 38% drop) for a cumulative $23.5 million.
In ninth place, Sony’s “Zombieland 2: Double Tap” added $4.3 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $66.7 million.
Rounding out the top 10, United Artists Releasing’s “The Addams Family” added $4.2 million in its fifth weekend for a cumulative $91.4 million.
Fox Searchlight’s “Jojo Rabbit” expanded to more than 800 locations in its fourth weekend, landing just outside the top 10 with $3.9 million, and bringing its domestic cumulative to $9.1 million. Falling out of the top 10 in their second weekends, Warner Bros.’ “Motherless Brooklyn” and Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures’ “Arctic Dogs” saw drops of 36% and 62%, respectively.
In limited release, Amazon’s “Honey Boy” opened in four locations to $288,824, for a per-screen average of $72,206, one of the strongest of the year.
Directed by Alma Har’el from a script by Shia LaBeouf, the film is a loosely autobiographical portrait of LaBeouf’s upbringing in which he plays his own father.
The critically acclaimed film earned a 93% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Showtime’s “The Kingmaker,” a documentary on former Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos from director Lauren Greenfield, grossed $23,600 in Los Angeles and New York for a per-theater average of $11,800. The film, distributed theatrically by Greenwich Entertainment, resonated with critics, earning a 94% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
On Wednesday, Netflix opened “Marriage Story” in six locations. The studio does not release box office grosses. The film earned a 97% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Fathom Events opened Met Opera’s “Madama Butterfly” in 1,000 locations to $1.8 million.
This week, Sony releases its “Charlie’s Angels” reboot, Fox opens “Ford v. Ferrari” and Warner Bros. debuts “The Good Liar.” In limited release, A24 reveals “Waves” and Magnolia unveils the documentary “Scandalous: The True Story of the National Enquirer.”