Our weeks-long national nightmare of watching worthier movies underperform as Americans gave away their hard-earned dollars on the Moloch-esque sacrificial altar of the Suicide Squad hype machine is over. The feature-length DC Comics trailer fell to No. 2 with $12.1 million this weekend, beaten by a well-received R-rated genre film made for a fraction of Suicide Squad’s budget: Don’t Breathe, which took $26.1 million to land at the top of the box office.
David Mackenzie’s superb, Texas-set brothers-on-the-lam flick Hell Or High Water has continued to do well in a gradually expanding release; this week it nearly doubled its theater count, earning $3.7 million to land at No. 12. Less heartening was the continued underperformance of two very good family releases. Laika Studios’ animated, Japanese-flavorated Kubo And The Two Strings landed at No. 3 with $7.9 million, while David Lowery’s remake of Pete’s Dragon landed at No. 6 with $7.2 million in its third week of release.
That figure wasn’t too different from the amount earned by the Jason Statham vehicle Mechanic: Resurrection, which came in at No. 5 with $7.5 million—just below Sausage Party, which fell to No. 4 with $7.6 million. As Statham’s films make most of their money on home video—tempting Americans from Redbox kiosks in 24-hour convenience stores and pharmacies all over the country—the Mechanic’s modest opening is still seen as an indicator of future success. Meanwhile. Ben-Hur, which is somewhat better than you’d think, was once again left sucking dust and wind, landing at No. 10 with a paltry $4.5 million.
Southside With You—the movie about Barack and Michelle Obama going on their first date—matched projections by landing at No. 13 with $3.1 million, prompting posts about the typically low box office of an indie production from the corners of the internet most concerned with making America great again, which we won’t bother linking to because you aren’t a media reporter and seriously don’t need this shit in your life. Hands Of Stone, the biopic about Panamanian boxing great Roberto Durán, similarly opened in a little over 800 theaters, earning a more modest $1.7 million.
Oddly enough, the highest per-theater average of the weekend went to a new restoration of Howards End. The 1992 Merchant-Ivory film averaged $12,411 on two screens, followed closely by the John Krasinski-directed The Hollars, which averaged $11,517 on four.