‘Jackie’ image courtesy of Fox Searchlight
Once again failing to learn the lesson of The Last Samurai, Hollywood didn’t put up much of a fight in this post-Thanksgiving weekend. That’s good for the older movies, but I still think something like (for example) Assassin’s Creed could have comparatively flourished as the big fish in a small pond. Oh well.
The lone genuinely wide release was Incarnate. Described by everyone I spoke to as "Inception meets The Exorcist," this Brad Peyton horror film stars Aaron Eckhart as a professional (and non-denominational) exorcist who helps possessed souls by entering their dreams. The film didn’t screen for press and has thus far received mostly negative reviews (Luke took one for the team).
It’s a High Top Releasing release via BH Tilt. Like their two previous horror movies (The Darkness and The Green Inferno), this was a micro-budget (around $5 million) effort released in targeted "horror-friendly" theaters with a minimal and mostly digital marketing spend. Universal paid for BH Tilt’s marketing campaign since this is technically a Blumhouse offering under said label. Even with the minimal risk, the film didn’t break out.
It earned $2.6 million over its debut weekend. Comparatively, The Green Inferno opened with $3.5m in Sept. 2015 and closed out with $7.192m. And last May, The Darkness opened with $4.95m and ended with $10.753m. So we’re looking at a weekend-to-final multiplier of around 2x to 2.2x, which would mean a final gross of $5.2m to $5.85m.
I appreciate the effort in getting these smaller-profile horror films into somewhat approximating wide theatrical release, but this one goes in the "loss" column. High Top Release and related friends have The Belko Experiment and the promising Sleight on tap for early next year. Onward and upward.
The other quasi-wide release this weekend is Believe. The Freestyle Releasing picture is a Christmas-themed drama about a struggling business in a struggling small town and the Christmas pageant that everyone still wants to try to make happen, earned around $497,000 over the weekend in 639 theaters. I have no desire to pick on this one any further. Luke reviewed this one for Forbes as well, so if you’re so inclined…
The big platform debut on Friday was Jackie. Pablo Larrain’s justly acclaimed drama, which stars Natalie Portman as Jackie Onassis Kennedy in the immediate aftermath of her husband’s assassination, debuted in five theaters yesterday courtesy of Fox Searchlight. It earned a terrific $275k Fri-Sun debut, giving the film a superb $55k per-location-average. It will next expand into 40 markets and is almost certain to factor into the year-end awards race. It’s great, so go see it when it arrives near you.