This weekend’s shaping up to be a little all over the place, with slaves, trains and hurricanes. Nate Parker’s controversial, critically-acclaimed The Birth of a Nation is taking on Tate Taylor’s thriller The Girl on the Train, but Hurricane Matthew might have something to say before the weekend box office is tallied up. Close the storm windows, grab the candles and let’s head to the cellar to figure this all out.
The biggest opener of the weekend is The Girl on the Train, bowing on over 3000 screens. Adapted from Paula Hunt’s best-selling novel, the film showcases Emily Blunt and Haley Bennett in a twisty chiller. It’s a pretty safe bet this one will top the box office for the weekend, though the early reviews have been middling.
The critics have been a lot kinder to The Birth of a Nation. The slave rebellion drama from Nate Parker has been a festival favorite this year. Opening on 2000 screens, the movie has garnered a spate of controversy, with the surfacing of Parker’s 1999 acquittal on campus rape charges. Already challenging, the excellent film is now steeped in an entirely different controversy, with rape activists holding a candlelight vigil outside of the film’s Hollywood screening.
Coming up the middle, we’ve got Middle School, a kids’ movie based on the successful James Paterson novel that launched a series of books under the same name. That’s opening a little shy of 3000 screens, but it’s doubtful it’ll run The Girl on the Train off the rails.
There’s a couple of other contenders hanging around that aren’t likely to get stuck in the caboose either. Last week’s winner, Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is likely to school some of the competition, and the disaster flick Deepwater Horizon might still have an appetite for destruction.
Lastly, Hurricane Matthew is pummeling Florida right now, and its stormy remnants will be blowing up the east coast over the weekend. Theater chains from Florida to South Carolina are closing up shop for at least part of the weekend. This could cramp the overall box office by as much as 5%. Pretty tough to shape all that into something coherent, but here’s where the numbers could land:
- The Girl on the Train – $26 million
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – $14 million
- Middle School – $10 million
- Deepwater Horizon – $9 million
- The Birth of a Nation – $7 million
Check in on Sunday and we’ll see who got to the station on time. And if you’re in Florida or thereabouts, be safe!