Doug Liman's American Made (crash) landed in theaters this weekend, where it did box office battle with both Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Andy Muschietti's IT. Interest between all three films split the difference, resulting in a neck-and-neck horserace to determine who won the weekend.
Of course these numbers are not entirely final (there's always some wiggle room, but here it's particularly relevant because the race is so close), but as of this writing Deadline has IT at $17.4M and both American Made and Kingsman: The Golden Circle at $17M (if you're wondering, Deadline says Vaughn's Kingsman sequel is likely in the #2 spot, with a lead as small as $100K).
Guess it's time to add "Tom Cruise" to the list of things Pennywise has beaten at the box office.
IT's surprise #1 finish is a story in and of itself, but the fact that American Made was unable to pull off a decisive victory against either IT (in its fourth week of release) or Kingsman: The Golden Circle (in its second week of release) is also worth paying attention to. Audiences and critics didn't hate the film - it pulled down a B+ Cinemascore and has an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing - but something was keeping them away.
Maybe the muddy-looking trailers turned people off. Maybe Millennials don't like Tom Cruise, and wish to snuff him out, much like they did with the housing market and avocado toast. Maybe the story - yet another tale of a criminally-inclined rascal living out his own corrupt version of the American Dream - struck audiences as overly familiar. Maybe everyone's still feeling burned by The Mummy. You can pitch your own theories in the comments below; your guess is as good as ours.
(Possible other story of the weekend: the Flatliners remake finally came out and no one saw it, which inspired a million variations on the "Flatliners is DOA" headline. Not your best work ever, Hollywood trades.)
Let's circle back to Andy Muschietti's IT right quick: last week, the film became the highest-grossing horror joint of all time. That doesn't account for inflation, of course (once you factor that in, The Exorcist continues to dominate), and making the claim also asks that you ignore The Sixth Sense as a horror film, but still: IT's runaway success is one helluva feather in the cap of everyone involved, particularly Muschietti.
Will the sequel perform this well when it arrives in 2019? You gotta figure the cult around IT will only grow in the wake of the film's release on home video, right? Lotta new fans to be made between now and September, 2019.
As for the rest of this weekend: the entire Birth.Movies.Death. crew has spent the past few days recovering from Fantastic Fest (you may have noticed some light Fantastic Fest coverage on the site over the past week), and will continue to do so all the way up until tomorrow morning, when we get back on our regular schedules and pretend that we all prefer a normal routine to sitting in movie theaters together, drinking all day.
But enough about us: what'd you see this weekend? What'd ya do? Sound off in the comments below.