*”Aww, hell to the no. Don’t bring that weak crap up in heah!” We could kinda, sorta hear Madea saying that to Tom Hanks about his latest film, “Inferno,” that didn’t exactly bring the heat to the box office this weekend and ended up getting scurr’d into a number 2 spot by Tyler Perry’s “Boo!: A Madea Halloween.”
“Inferno,” the third installment of the “Da Vinci Code” franchise wasn’t the charm, apparently. According to studio estimates Sunday, the film flamed out with only a $15 million take, about half of what more bullish predictions anticipated.
On the other hand, industry watchers say Sony Pictures which produced and distributed “Inferno” could take solace in stronger overseas business. In three weeks of international release, the Italy-set film has earned nearly $150 million. The studio also stressed that the $75 million budget for “Inferno” was half that of 2006’s “The Da Vinci Code” or 2009’s “Angels & Demons.”
“Certainly we thought of the film as for the international market. We knew that’s where the sweet spot was going to be,” said Rory Bruer, domestic distribution chief for Sony. “We got a few bad breaks, the biggest being this historical World Series.” (Friday night’s Game Three between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians drew 19.4 million viewers, a 12-year-best, and Saturday night’s Game Four was watched by 15.1 million.)
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But as AJC.com pointed out, the unexpectedly poor performance of “Inferno” was yet another example of an anxious trend in the movie business: More of the same isn’t working.
Poorly reviewed and coming seven years after the last Robert Langdon thriller, “Inferno” arrived long after the Dan Brown craze. “Angels & Demons” opened with $46.1 million in 2009. Efforts to adapt the third book in Brown’s series, “The Lost Symbol,” were scuttled in favor of Brown’s fourth installment, “Inferno.”
“‘Inferno’ joins the long list of sequels that didn’t measure up to their predecessors this year and in particular this summer when only three of the 14 sequels released outperformed their immediate predecessors at the box office,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore.
READ RELATED STORY: TYLER PERRY: ‘I APPRECIATE’ CHRIS ROCK FOR INSPIRING ‘A MADEA HALLOWEEN’
But there’s good news for Hanks because after all, he still has “Sully,” the fall’s biggest hit. Overall, however, A-list leads are doing all that well at the box office. Tom Cruise in “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” ($9.6 million in its second week) and Ben Affleck in “The Accountant” ($8.5 million in its third week).
Yep, Madea is the king, er, queen of the box office right now. “Boo!: A Madea Halloween” from Lionsgate, so far has brought in $52 million in 10 days, making it Perry’s biggest hit since 2009’s “Madea Goes to Jail.”
Here are the estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “Boo! A Madea Halloween,” $16.7 million.
2. “Inferno,” $15 million ($29.1 million international).
3. “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” $9.6 million ($11.6 million international).
4. “The Accountant,” $8.5 million ($7.9 million international).
5. “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” $7.1 million ($8.3 million international).
6. “The Girl on the Train,” $4.3 million ($7 million international).
7. “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” $4 million ($7.5 million international).
8. “Keeping Up With the Joneses,” $3.4 million ($1.4 million international).
9. “Storks,” $2.8 million ($5.2 million international).
10. “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil,” $2.1 million ($10.7 million international).