Weekend Box Office: 'Inferno' Loses to 'Madea' in Stunning Halloween Upset
The third installment in the long-dormant 'Da Vinci Code' franchise — reteaming director Ron Howard and star Tom Hanks — bombed in its U.S debut with $15 million.
Ron Howard's Inferno suffered a startling defeat in its North American box-office debut, grossing an estimated $15 million from 3,575 theaters to come in behind holdover Boo! A Madea Halloween, which scared up $16.7 million from 2,299 theaters in its sophomore outing.
Heading into the weekend, it was a given that Inferno — starring Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones — would win the Halloween costume contest with a $20 million-$30 million opening, considering its pedigree and the fact that it was the only new nationwide offering.
Instead, the third installment in Sony's long-dormant Da Vinci Code series bombed, becoming the latest example of a franchise revival largely rejected by U.S. audiences. The movie also marks another blemish for Howard following several box-office misses, including the big-budget epic In the Heart of the Sea (2015).
But not all is lost. Inferno is doing solid business overseas, already earning an estimated $132.9 million since launching in numerous markets earlier this month. New openers include China, where it topped the chart with $13.3 million, an OK number for an adult drama.
"We're disappointed in the U.S. opening, but we're very pleased with how the film is performing internationally," Sony worldwide president of marketing and distribution Josh Greenstein said Sunday.
Part of the reason Inferno rolled out early overseas was because of Marvel and Disney's Doctor Strange, which debuted in a number of territories over Halloween weekend ahead of its Nov. 4 domestic bow, earning an impressive $86 million.
Inferno features Hanks reprising his role as Robert Langdon, the Harvard symbologist immortalized in Dan Brown's best-selling book series. Sony was nervous about making the film, considering it's been a full decade since Howard and Hanks' The Da Vinci Code grossed a massive $758.2 million at the global box office after opening to $77 million domestically in May 2006.
In 2009, Angels & Demons did notably less business, or $486 million worldwide after a $46 million domestic launch. Like Da Vinci Code, the sequel displayed the most firepower abroad. The first two films cost $150 million to make, while Sony capped Inferno's net budget at $75 million.
Generally speaking, it wasn't the best weekend for moviegoing, thanks to the distraction of Halloween parties, the World Series and the final days of the Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump presidential race. The big exceptions were Boo! A Madea Halloween and specialty title Moonlight.
Boo! fell only 41 percent in its second weekend for a 10-day domestic total of roughly $50 million for Tyler Perry and his longtime Hollywood studio partner, Lionsgate.
The critically acclaimed drama Moonlight, which opened in four theaters last weekend to stellar numbers for the filmmakers and A24, expanded into a total of 36 theaters, earning $900,826 for an impressive theater average of $25,023, the best of any movie.
A24 also debuted Oasis: Supersonic in select theaters, coinciding with the documentary's debut on digital platforms. The film about the British rock group rang up $209,486 from 41 theaters over the weekend for a strong theater average of $16,555. Oasis: Supersonic played in more than 100 theaters last Wednesday night as part of a special event, putting the doc's five-day total at $231,820.
Back at the top of the chart, Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Ben Affleck's The Accountant and Universal and Blumhouse Productions' prequel Ouija: Origin of Evil rounded out the top five.
Coming in third, Never Go Back declined 58 percent in its second weekend to $9.6 million for a sobering 10-day domestic total of $39.7 million. Overseas, the sequel earned another $11.6 million from 46 markets for a foreign cume of $54.2 million and global tally of $93.9 million for Paramount and Skydance. It's failing in China, however, where the sequel's 10-day total is only $8.7 million.
The Accountant, from Warner Bros., followed with $8.5 million for a domestic cume of $61.3 million through its third weekend and global haul of $82 million.
Origin of Evil had hoped to be a bigger player over Halloween weekend, considering it's the only holiday horror offering. Instead, it fell to No. 5 in its second weekend with $7.1 million for a 10-day tally of $24.6 million. Combined with an early foreign total of $19.1 million, its global gross stands at $43.7 million.