Weekend Box Office: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Repeats As ‘Hitman’ And ‘American Ultra’ Open Soft

Enterprising movie studios seem content to try and try again when it comes to video-game adaptations, no matter how many times they fail. This week brought us Hitman: Agent 47, a reboot/sequel of 2007’s Hitman. It grossed just $8.2 million, well below expectations (around $11 million), the budget ($35 million), and the original’s opening ($13.1 million).

And that opening was so bad that they swapped out all the actors and director. This version didn’t look especially terrible, but if you’re trying to drum up interest in your franchise, “we’ve got the other guy from Homeland!” probably isn’t going to move the needle. You’re really going after that second-tier premium cable bump.

Audiences, who gave it a B grade on CinemaScore, skewed male (61 percent) and older than 25 (60 percent). [LA Times]

Sadly, $21m is probably about where Hitman: Agent 47 ends up in totality in America, give or take. But Hitman made $99m worldwide, with just $39m of that coming from the states, so Fox is arguably banking more on overseas grosses than domestic ones. [Forbes]

The biggest new release of the weekend was Sinister 2, which grossed an estimated $10.6 million for the weekend. Slightly below expectations, and just more than half of the original’s opening, but more than the budget. Now if Blumhouse can just figure out how to make a microbudget Hitman movie, everyone will be set.

About 51 percent of moviegoers were female, and 57 percent were 25 or younger. Their average grade was a B-minus, according to audience polling firm CinemaScore. [LA Times]

The worst of the new releases, meanwhile, was the one with the star of Twilight on the poster, American Ultra, a stoner comedy/spy thriller starring Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg, which earned just $5.5 million, despite better reviews than the other two (not saying much). Most analysts are blaming the fact that it was a tweener, equal parts two conflicting genres, but having not seen it, I think it being sold as yet another Bourne-esque amnesia plot probably had more to do with it.

Sadly, it was about on par with Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg’s last collaboration, Adventureland (which is great), which grossed $5.7 million in 2009. Maybe American Ultra will likewise find an audience after the fact, but based on the reviews (46 percent on RottenTomatoes as of this writing) it’s not looking like it.

Audiences skewed male (56 percent) and older (65 percent older than 25). The film notched a B-minus grade on CinemaScore. [LA Times]

Basically, between American Ultra (written by Max Landis) and Fantastic Four (directed by Josh Trank) it was a bad few weeks for the creative team behind Chronicle. Only Landis managed to make his movie without feuding with the studio or letting his dogs tear up an apartment (allegedly), so he’ll probably get a few more shots. Also, American Ultra only cost $12 million to make, with Lionsgate only spending $7 million to acquire.

All three films carried R-ratings and catered to adult crowds, something that may have depressed their results.

“At the end of the day, they cannibalized each other,” said Chris Aronson, Fox’s distribution chief. “It’s an unfortunate confluence of events. All three of those films combined would have made a decent opening for any one of them.” [Via Variety]

The “R-rated films cannibalized each other” explanation, however, doesn’t explain how the highest-grossing film of the weekend was also R-rated. Straight Outta Compton has now passed $111 million domestic, almost quadrupling its $29 million budget. That makes seven movies earning more than $100 million for Universal this year. “At the end of the day” I’m pretty sure Ice Cube knows more about the entertainment industry than anyone giving pull quotes from studios. I’m willing to bet that at least one studio bro suggested he make a PG-13 “F*ck The Police” biopic.

This week brings us No Escape (Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan vs. a Thai coup) and We Are Your Friends, the awesomely silly-looking Zach Efron movie about EDM djs that I’m pretty sure was the movie Vinny Chase directed in the Entourage movie. I can’t wait.