Box Office: “Don’t Breathe” chases a weak summer off the screen as its last winner

boxThat bust of a summer comic book blockbuster “Suicide Squad” clung to the top spot at the box office like grim death for much of August. Bad reviews, plummeting ticket sales notwithstanding, there was nothing that could knock it off.

Until the summer’s second horror hit, “Don’t Breathe” came a knocking.

The Screen Gems sleeper opened to $22 million, very good for a non-franchise film, a record for Sony’s bargain-bin division studio, too. Good reviews helped, but the horror audience usually shows up — and usually in slightly smaller numbers.

“Suicide Squad” will manage about half that this weekend, which will take it to $282 million at the domestic box office. That and the foreign take don’t make this an epic bomb (See “The B.F.G.” for that), but considering how much it cost, breaking even seems like a challenge only creative accounting can solve.

Jason Statham’s return to Bronson Country, a widely-released but little seen “Mechanic” sequel, will open to about $7 million. Weak.

The other wide openings, “Hands of Stone,” a boxing bio-pic about Roberto Duran, and “Southside With You,” a first-date romance about Michelle and Barack Obama, didn’t crack the top ten and were only on 800 or so screens. They could have, but neither was going to blow up the box office.

“Ben-Hur” is fading fast.

“Bad Moms” knew its audience and marketed itself accordingly. It will clear the $100 million mark by Labor Day, probably before next Friday.

“Sausage Party” will be within reach of $90 million — and clear it — by next weekend.

“Pete’s Dragon” won’t come close to that, all-in. Nor will the charming “Kubo and the Two Strings.” 



About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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