Houston, we have a problem. First Man is crash landing below expectations, taking in $5.9 million Friday night on an estimated route to $16.8 million. This puts Damen Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong biopic firmly in third place below strong holdovers A Star Is Born ($8.5 million) and the record-breaking Sony flick, Venom ($9.7 million).
First Man stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong as the steel-reserved astronaut attempts to become the first person to walk on the moon. (Spoilers: He does!) The film rocketed out of festival season with a ton of buzz, particularly over Chazelle’s ability—along with Ai-Ling Lee‘s sound design and Linus Sandgren‘s cinematography—to immerse the audience inside the shaky walls of Apollo 11, which was pretty much held together with duct tape and optimism. The film’s weak opening is something to puzzle over but not exactly a huge shock. The competition is obviously fierce—Venom and A Star Is Born are looking to close out their second weekends with $30 million and $28 million, respectively—it’s a biopic that you almost have to see in IMAX, and most of the marketing saw its handsome superstar leading man making the exact same face in every situation. (Armstrong was famously reserved, it’s part of the performance, but still.)
It also simply wasn’t a great Friday night for newcomers. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween—a sequel to 2015’s surprise hit—opened to a subdued $4.8 million Friday night, while Drew Goddard‘s period puzzle box Bad Times at the El Royale earned $2.8 million, on track for a $7.8 million first weekend. This, despite El Royale‘s A-list cast that includes Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Jeff Bridges, and Nick Offerman. Goddard’s long-awaited follow-up to 2012’s The Cabin in the Woods earned a B- CinemaScore.
Take a look at Friday’s numbers below and check back tomorrow for full weekend estimates.
|2.||A Star Is Born||$8,500,000||$74,660,360|
|4.||Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween||$4,850,000||$4,850,000|
|5.||Bad Times at the El Royale||$2,825,000||$2,825,000|