‘Happy Death Day’ stands out among weak lineup of wide releases

Jessica Rothe stars in the “Happy Death Day” trailer.

It’s been a great season for horror, with Blumhouse’s “Happy Death Day” becoming the latest horror film to top the domestic box office in its opening weekend.

The $5-million film, a bloody riff on the classic “Groundhog Day” concept, brought in an estimated $26.5 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to figures from measurement firm ComScore, above the $15 million to $20 million analysts projected.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the opening,” said Universal’s Executive Vice President of Domestic Distribution Jim Orr. “It’s a very, very good result.”

“Happy Death Day” marks Blumhouse’s ninth film to open at No. 1 and its third to debut at No. 1 this year alone, following “Split” and “Get Out.” The latest from producer Jason Blum and Universal Pictures, the film, about a woman who relives the day of her murder until she learns her killer’s identity, earned a B rating on CinemaScore and a 64% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Blumhouse is just having a tremendous year,” said Orr. “This one, like many other Blumhouse films, is a reimagining of the genre. It brings more than the normal horror film would. It’s clever, it’s scary, it’s funny, it’s just a great twist on the genre and the audiences responded accordingly. We couldn’t be more pleased to be associated with them.”


Now in its second week, Alcon Entertainment’s “Blade Runner 2049" came in second, earning $15.1 million (on par with analysts’ expectations), a 54% drop in earnings since last week, for a cumulative total of $60.6 million.

A sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi cult classic “Blade Runner,” about a futuristic society where androids known as replicants are almost indistinguishable from humans, the $150-million film debuted to underwhelming numbers, bringing in just $32.7 million domestically.

Despite strong reviews (an A- rating on CinemaScore) and positive audience reaction (an 89% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes), the film failed to appeal to younger audiences and women, which hampered debut grosses. The film was directed by Denis Villeneuve and stars Ryan Gosling and Jared Leto, with Harrison Ford reprising his role as Deckard.

STX Entertainment’s new Jackie Chan-Pierce Brosnan action thriller “The Foreigner” debuted at No. 3, in range of analysts’ projections of $10 million to $14 million, with $12.8 million in ticket sales.

The $35-million Chinese co-production, about a London businessman out for revenge after his daughter is killed by terrorists, is the latest attempt to create a co-production with China that has global appeal and has already grossed $75 million in other countries, including China. Directed by Martin Campbell, the film earned an A- rating on CinemaScore and a 57% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Coming in fourth was New Line Cinema’s “It,” now in its sixth weekend, which brought in $6.1 million, a 39% drop since last week, for a cumulative total of $314.9 million.

The film, now the highest-grossing horror film of all time internationally (with nearly $300 million in ticket sales abroad), follows kids who are terrorized by an evil clown. Directed by Andy Muschietti and starring Bill Skarsgard (“Hemlock Grove”) as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, the film boasts a B-plus rating on CinemaScore and an 85% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rounding out the top five is Fox Searchlight’s “The Mountain Between Us,” now in its second weekend, which earned $5.6 million (a 46% drop) for a cumulative total of $20.5 million.

The film, starring Kate Winslet and Idris Elba, follows the survival saga of two strangers stranded together atop a remote snow-covered mountain after a plane crash. The $35-million film earned an A-minus rating on CinemaScore but a “rotten” 43% on Rotten Tomatoes.

In limited release, Open Roads Films premiered the Chadwick Boseman historial drama “Marshall,” based on an early trial in the career of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, in 821 locations to the tune of $3 million, in range of analysts’ projections of $3 million to $4 million. The $12-million film was directed by Reginald Hudlin (“Boomerang”) and stars Josh Gad, Kate Hudson and Sterling K. Brown.

Annapurna Pictures released drama “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women,” about the American psychologist who created the Wonder Woman character, in 1,229 locations, bringing in $737,000 for a per-theater average of $600.

Fox Searchlight opened the Domhnall Gleeson-Margot Robbie drama “Goodbye Christopher Robin” in nine locations to $56,000, for a per-theater average of $6,200. The film explores the relationship between Winnie the Pooh author A. A. Milne (Gleeson) and his son Christopher Robin (Will Tilston), whose toys inspired the classic.

Next week, Warner Bros. will open the action flick “Geostorm,” Sony and Columbia Pictures debuts the drama “Only The Brave,” Pure Flix premieres the drama “Same Kind of Different as Me,” Universal reveals the Michael Fassbender-led thriller “The Snowman,” and Lionsgate drops the comedy “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween.” Abramorama opens the Jane Goodall documentary “Jane” in limited release.

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