Tom Hanks may be this year’s unofficial King of Halloween thanks to his appearance in SNL’s “David S. Pumpkins” sketch, but this weekend proved that Hanks, Ron Howard, and their infernal cohorts are still no match for a good Christian man playing a good Christian woman in a series of films about how foolish young people need to get some sense knocked back into them. In other words: For the second week in a row, the No. 1 movie in America is Boo! A Madea Halloween. Tyler Perry’s film managed to shoo Inferno off of its lawn with $16.7 million, despite playing on a thousand fewer screens.
Despite its No. 2 opening, Inferno’s $15 million take is being touted as a box-office disaster for the franchise, a precipitous drop-off from Angels & Demons’ $46.2 million opening weekend, which was itself a precipitous drop-off from The Da Vinci Code’s $77 million opening. Neither film was a critical success, to put it kindly—Boo! A Madea Halloween currently has a 23 percent rating on critical aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, again just slightly edging out Inferno’s 20 percent. But where airport fiction is a cruel mistress, complaining about teenagers provides.
In movies that reviewers actually seemed to like, Ouija: Origin Of Evil dropped from No. 3 to No. 5 this weekend, following the similarly critically reviled Jack Reacher: Never Go Back at No. 3 and The Accountant at No. 4. One might think that a surprisingly high-quality sequel to a (briefly) No. 1 film, and the only proper wide-release horror movie in theaters on Halloween, would be a recipe for pumpkin-spiced success. But one would be failing to take into account the fact that hardcore Halloween-heads are out at parties on All Hallow’s Eve weekend proper, that the wide-release horror movie in general is an endangered breed even as films like Don’t Breathe continue to do well in the lead-up to the Halloween season, and that Origin Of Evil sounds like something Zack Snyder would write on a cocktail napkin.
Further down the box-office charts in specialty markets, things are slightly less spine-tingling, as two of the best films of the year so far, The Handmaiden and Moonlight, both made dramatic jumps upward (262.8 percent and 124 percent, respectively) as they expanded into more theaters. Things aren’t looking so good for Max Steel, though, the action-figure-based movie so forgettable, we just went a full 15 seconds before realizing that we had typed “Real Steel” instead by accident. That film had the sharpest drop-off of the week, losing 82.6 percent relative to last week’s profits.
Things should shake up next week, though, as Doctor Strange prepares to conjure up some of that Marvel Studios money with the cocky overconfidence of a brilliant surgeon who’s also a natural in the mystic arts. The film has already collected $87 million in a handful of overseas markets, including Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, and South Korea—where it made $18 million, $1.3 million more than domestic champ Madea. Gather up your crucifixes, holy rollers: A magical showdown is afoot.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.