The mob is no match for a horror flick at the box office.
Even though the Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer comedy The Family fared better than expected, the weekend of Friday the 13th was always going to belong to James Wan, whose Insidious: Chapter 2 (CinemaScore: B+) took in a staggering $41.05 million in 3,049 locations with a per-screen average of $13,463, making it the biggest September opening for a horror pic by over $10 million (The Exorcism of Emily Rose opened at $30.05 million in 2005). We’ll have to wait till the actuals come in on Monday, but Wan just barely managed to lose out to himself; his other summer success, The Conjuring, opened in first place in July with $41.9 million. This is another hit for Blumhouse Productions, too, which produced the micro-budget horror film and enjoyed similar profits with this year’s The Purge.
Wan, who also directed Saw and the first Insidious, has said he won’t be taking on any more horror films in the near future, but that’s just because he’s off to something much bigger: the billion-dollar Fast & Furious franchise.
The Family (CinemaScore: C), which stars De Niro as a former mafioso and FBI informant who must relocate to France under the witness protection program, exceeded expectations in its debut weekend, earning an estimated $14.5 million from 3,091 locations. The audience skewed female (54 percent) for Relativity’s $30 million R-rated comedy. Aside from Silver Linings Playbook and the Meet the Parents franchise, De Niro has had a spotty box-office record in recent years; his latest, the family dramedy The Big Wedding, opened at $7.6 million and fizzled out at a dismal $21.8 million.
Vin Diesel’s $38 million sci-fi action pic Riddick dropped 63 percent in its second weekend in theaters with $7 million. Playing on 3,117 screens, Universal’s 1 hour and 59 minute R-rated movie brought in about $2,250 per screen for a $31.3 million domestic total. It’s still tracking significantly behind 2004’s Chronicles of Riddick, which had made $42.5 million after 10 days in theaters.
In its fifth week, Lee Daniels’ The Butler managed to snag fourth place with $5.6 million in 3,239 locations, bringing its domestic total to $100.04 million — a landmark for director Lee Daniels. When adjusted for ticket price inflation, The Butler is now Forest Whitaker’s ninth highest-grossing picture, right behind Species and The Color of Money. This is also an incredible showing for first-time feature screenwriter Danny Strong, who penned the screenplays for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2 as well.
Finally, Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis’ We’re the Millers took fifth place with $5.4 million. Playing in 3,238 theaters with a still-strong $1,672 per-theater average, the R-rated pot comedy has made an estimated $131.6 million domestically in its six-week run. Despite losing over 200 locations, We’re the Millers only dropped 29.6 percent from last weekend. For Aniston, this is now her fourth highest-grossing film when adjusted for price inflation. We’re the Millers still has a ways to go to beat The Break Up, Marley and Me, and Bruce Almighty. It is, however, a career high for Jason Sudeikis. His previous high, Horrible Bosses, which also starred Aniston, made $120.8 million domestically,
The momentum might be slowing for Instructions Not Included. The surprise box office success expanded into 932 locations but missed the top five, earning $4.2 million this weekend, which brings its domestic total to $26.6 million. It dropped about 48 percent from last weekend.
In the specialty box office, The Investigator opened in 11 theaters and made $93,000. Wadjda, the first feature-length film from a female Saudi director, made $116,000 from three theaters. Billy Bob Thornton’s R-rated drama Jayne Mansfield’s Car, starring Kevin Bacon, opened in 11 theaters and brought in $7,400. Catherine Hardwicke’s thriller Plush, also from Blumhouse, earned $3,300 from 10 theaters, and the Carine Roitfeld documentary Mademoiselle C made $14,500 from six theaters.
Check back in next week to see how festival favorite Prisoners fares when it hits theaters in wide release.