Don’t Breathe this weekend became the first horror movie since 2014 to hit number one at the domestic box office two weekends in a row (the first was Ouija). In a genre typically associated with big second weekend drops (Lights Out dropped 50%, The Purge: Election Year dropped 60%), Don’t Breathe eased only 40%, to $15.8 million for the three-day, and $19.55 million for the four-day weekend. That’s $51 million total for a movie that cost less than $10 million to produce. That’s what happens when you make a horror movie people actually like (Scott Tobias’ review).
Labor Day is typically rough for anything that isn’t a massive blockbuster, but that alone isn’t enough to explain the weak performances of this weekend’s wide (sort of) releases, Morgan, opening in 2,020 theaters, and The Light Between Oceans, opening in 1,500. The Light Between Oceans just managed to squeak into the top 10 at $5.9 million for the four day. The Michael Fassbender/Alicia Vikander melodrama directed by Place Beyond The Pines‘ Derek Cianfrance wasn’t terrible (my review), but if you’re trying to sell a movie with two stars morosely yearning on the poster, it’d better have critical acclaim and strong word of mouth. Budgeted at $20 million, LBO didn’t have that, and even worse, the consensus of mild negatives probably made the buzz seem even worse than it was. That’s the risk you take with prestige movies, if it doesn’t hit theaters with critical buzz, no one shows up.
Faring much worse than that was Morgan (Keith’s review), which, at $1.9 million for the three-day weekend on 2,020 screens, managed a per-screen average of less than $1,000. Directed by Ridley Scott’s son, Luke, it was actually the seventh-worst opening ever for a 2,000+ screen release. Luckily, it only cost about $8 million to make. The Light Between Oceans managed a B+ Cinemascore, with a C+ for Morgan. RottenTomatoes scores were 60% and 42%, respectively.