Weekend Box Office: 'Boo! A Madea Halloween' Beats 'Jack Reacher' With $9.4M Friday

Elsewhere, horror prequel 'Ouija: Origin of Evil' is scaring up solid business, while comedy 'Keeping Up With the Joneses' bombs; 'Moonlight' is pacing to score the strongest opening of the year to date at the specialty box office.

Tyler Perry's Boo! A Madea Halloween narrowly beat Jack Reacher: Never Go Back at the Friday box office, making it likely that Perry's film will walk away with more treats than the Tom Cruise sequel and win the weekend race.

Boo! grossed $9.4 million Friday from 2,260 locations for a projected $25 million debut.

Perry can thank Chris Rock for the idea for the comedy-horror spoof, which originated from a fake Madea movie featured in Rock's Top Five. Boo! is the latest collaboration from Perry and Lionsgate, and earned an A CinemaScore from audiences.

The film, which also stars Bella Thorne, Diamond White and Cassi Davis, follows Perry's popular Madea character as she spends a haunted Halloween fending off killers, paranormal poltergeists, ghosts, ghouls and zombies while keeping a watchful eye on a group of misbehaving teens.

Never Go Back grossed $8.9 million Friday from 3,780 theaters, far more locations than Boo!, for a projected $24 million weekend. (Numbers could always shift on Saturday.)

Both movies are doing better than expected. Heading into the weekend, each were tracking to open in the high-teen million to $20 million range. 

A sequel to the 2012 film Jack Reacher, Never Go Back is an adaptation of Lee Child's book series about an ex-military policeman fighting for justice wherever he goes. The Paramount and Skydance Productions pic, directed by Edward Zwick and costing $60 million to make, also stars Cobie Smulders and Aldis Hodge. It earned a B+ CinemaScore.

Never Go Back is having to compete with holdover The Accountant for male attention, as well as overcome poor reviews.

The first Jack Reacher opened to $15 million over the Dec. 21-23 weekend in 2012 and ultimately earned $218.3 million worldwide.

Never Go Back also is opening day-and-date in 40 international territories — including China, where the studio has struck a major local partnership — and those behind the movie expect it to do strong business overseas, where Cruise remains a big star.

Like Boo!, Universal and Blumhouse Productions' horror prequel Ouija: Origin of Evil is likewise opening pre-Halloween. The supernatural horror prequel grossed $5.5 million from 3,167 theaters on Friday for a projected $13.7 million weekend, a decent start for a film which cost less than $9 million to make. It is set to come in behind the $19.9 million debut of the first Ouija in 2014, but hopes to be scare up strong business through Halloween since there are no other horror movies opening.

Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes and Hasbro, maker of the classic board game Ouija, are also partners on the film. Directed by Mike Flanagan, the pic is set in 1967 in Los Angeles where a widowed mother and family fake seances as part of a scam.

This weekend's fourth new nationwide offering, Fox 2000's Keeping Up With the Joneses is DOA in its debut. The comedy earned $2 million from 3,022 theaters on Friday for a projected $6 million weekend. The $40 million comedy, directed by Greg Mottola, stars Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot and follows a suburban couple who discover that their seemingly perfect new neighbors are government spies.

As awards season heats up, Barry Jenkins' Moonlight is shining bright at the specialty box office, where it could score the top location average of the year to date as A24 opens the critically acclaimed drama in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles.

Early returns suggest Moonlight could open at $385,000 for a location average north of $96,000, the best showing since The Revenant posted a theater average of $118,640 when launching in four theaters in December 2015.

Moonlight traces the life of a young black gay man struggling with his sexuality from his troubled childhood growing up in a tough Miami neighborhood to maturity. Naomie Harris, Andre Holland, Janelle Monae, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome and Mahershala Ali also star.

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