Box Office: “Jack Reacher” isn’t the end of Tom Cruise, “Madea” has a little life in her yet

boxReviews for both the second Jack Reacher movie and the first Tyler Perry “Madea” movie in three years aren’t giving them a boost.

But with Tom Cruise teetering on the brink of irrelevance — action stars lose their audience after 50, unless they’re named Eastwood — every misstep is a threat to his status as someone who can open a picture and his high-priced quote. I figured this potential franchise-killing “Reacher” bust might be it.

But by midnight Sunday, he’ll have pulled in maybe $25 million or so for Paramount. Novelist Lee Child fans were irate when Cruise got the gig (Reacher is described as being Liam Neeson-sized in Child’s books). Their fears seemed exaggerated, but this movie is a formulaic compromise, start to finish. It’ll probably earn under $50 in the US, when all is said and done.

Tyler Perry and his most famous creation were seriously overexposed by 2010. But a few years’ absence and some funny TV ads had fans hoping he’d deliver the goods with “A Madea Halloween.” We all went to check it out Thursday and Friday, and the film should clear $23 million by Sunday night. But his cheapness and credit hogging and the fact he’s simply run out of jokes for her work against the film, and his movies always have the steepest drop off the second weekend.  Figure he might clear $40 or so with this one by the end of its run.

The best-reviewed (perhaps a tad over-rated) film of the weekend is the “Ouija” prequel, which turns a pretty good cast loose on a back-engineered tale of how spiritual investigator Paulina Zander (Lin Shaye in the original film) was first exposed to the supernatural. It’s underwhelming the box office. Anybody who’s seen the trailers has seen the movie. A bit over $12 million for it on opening weekend.

“Keeping up With the Joneses” is proof that Zach Galifianakis can’t open a movie, Jon Hamm and Isla Fisher aren’t a help and the new Wonder Woman Gal Gadot isn’t yet box office. A poorly reviewed comic thriller, following the “Masterminds” debacle (also starring Zach, alas) it is bombing — $6 million this weekend.

Kevin Hart’s concert film days may be over as “What Now” is dying off faster than the honeybees. “Girl on the Train” is holding strong, “The Accountant” is headed to a $65-75 million or so take, all-in. “Deep Water Horizon” will clear $65 by next weekend.

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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