Is Tom Cruise's battle to beat Tyler Perry at the box office a mission impossible?
"Tyler Perry's Boo: A Madea Halloween" topped the box office Friday, taking in an estimated $9.4 million, while "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back," starring Cruise, was left in the dust with an estimated $8.9 million.
"Boo" is the seventh film in the popular Tyler Perry "Madea" franchise, which first bowed in 2005 with "Diary of a Mad Black Woman." The comedies, starring Perry as the tough-talking, gun-toting grandmother, have consistently grossed between $50 million and $64 million, except for 2009's "Madea Goes to Jail," which took in more than $90 million and had a $41-million opening weekend.
Paramount's "Jack Reacher," a sequel to the 2012 film that starred Cruise as a former U.S. Army MP with an ax to grind, was considered the favorite newcomer going into the weekend. But the film is likely suffering from bad reviews with a dismal 39% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a B-plus CinemaScore, which is based on audience reaction.
The original "Jack Reacher" had a $15-million opening weekend and went on to gross more than $80 million domestically.
Another sequel, "Ouija: Origin of Evil" is also a disappointment in its first weekend, coming in a distant third with $5.4 million. The original "Ouija", which opened in 2014, enjoyed an almost $20-million opening weekend and went on to gross more than $50 million domestically after costing a mere $5 million to make.
The new PG-13-rated film centers on the horror experienced by a widowed mother who uses a Ouija board to beef up the believability of her home séance business, only to have an evil spirit overtake her young daughter. The film cost almost twice as much to make as the original, and scored an 81% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes compared with the first film's rock bottom 7% fresh rating. This, however, has not seemed to affect box office numbers so far.
The weekend's biggest disappointment is Fox's new release, "Keeping up With the Joneses," which despite an ensemble cast of comic powerhouses including Zac Galafianakis and Jon Hamm, could not keep up with the competition. The spy adventure based in suburbia grossed an estimated $2 million and racked up an 18% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a B-minus CinemaScore.
Also worth noting is the stellar performance of A24's indie film "Moonlight," which brought in an estimated $131,464 from just four screens. The film, which is co-written and directed by Barry Jenkins, tells the story of a young, gay black man struggling to come out in a tough Miami neighborhood. It is already a critical darling with a 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
According to Box Office Mojo, "Moonlight" is expected to gross $450,000 over the weekend, which shakes out to a per-theater average of $112,500 and puts the film just outside the top 20 of all-time in that category.