‘The Perfect Guy’ Stays Ahead of ‘The Visit’ at Weekend Box Office

     September 13, 2015


As expected, The Perfect Guy was the top draw at this weekend’s box office. The Sony/Screen Gems thriller earned an estimated $26.7 million from 2,211 locations, or $12,000 per screen. That’s a strong debut for a film that cost just $12 million – and especially strong considering that early projections had the film opening closer to $20 million. Then again, in recent years Screen Gems has carved out a nice niche for themselves with modestly budgeted romantic thrillers with African American leads, so their latest success should come as no surprise.

the-perfect-guy-posterBack in 2009 the studio released Obsessed, with Idris Elba and Beyoncé. That film became a surprise hit after opening in first place with $28.6 million – more than doubling expectations at the time. Obsessed was followed by No Good Deed, another Fatal Attraction-style thriller, in 2014. With Elba again in the lead (opposite Taraji P. Henson), No Good Deed took first place with a debut of $24.2 million on this same weekend last year.

The Perfect Guy opened 10% ahead of No Good Deed and 6% behind Obsessed. In the long-term, that suggests a domestic total of at least $55 million. And audiences seem to like The Perfect Guy a bit more than No Good Deed, with a CinemaScore of A- compared to the latter’s B+. Critics haven’t been quite as kind, based on The Perfect Guy’s 33% Rotten Tomato score. Still, this is a solid win for Sony and Screen Gems – not to mention a milestone for fans of diversity in filmmaking. Following Straight Outta Compton and War Room, The Perfect Guy marks five consecutive frames that movies with primarily African American casts have held the top spot at the box office. As far as I can tell, that is a unique accomplishment (at least based on multiple titles rather than just one, like Beverly Hills Cop), but if anyone knows otherwise feel free to share.

the-visit-posterThis weekend’s biggest surprise was delivered by The Visit. Though Friday estimates had the low budget horror pic neck and neck with The Perfect Guy, The Visit was expected to decline a bit on Saturday – in the manner of most films of its genre. Instead, director M Night Shyamalan’s latest feature wound up just barely in second place with an estimated $25.6 million from 3,069 locations. That’s close to what Sinister 2 has earned in its entire four-week run. Like The Visit, Sinister 2 was produced by horror impresario Jason Blum. But because The Visit cost just $5 million before marketing, it is clearly the bigger success.

The last of this weekend’s new releases, faith-based 90 Minutes in Heaven, just barely made it into the top ten. An adaptation of the best-selling book of the same name, 90 Minutes in Heaven earned an estimated $2.16 million from 878 locations, or $2,461 per screen. Even with the Christian competition, War Room proved the bigger draw. Last weekend’s top title was down just 22% in its third weekend, claiming a per-screen average of almost $4,500.

Overall box office earnings were up by approximately 6% over last week’s depressed Labor Day frame. That upward trend should extend into next weekend, when Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and Black Mass hit theatres. One year ago, the original Maze Runner reached $32.5 million in its debut. That was considered a bit underwhelming at the time, though The Scorch Trials will make up for that if it reaches the $45 million that is expected. Black Mass is playing for (a distant) second. The story of mobster Whitey Bulger, starring Johnny Depp, should hit $20 million – unless the reviews catch up with it first.

Here’s this weekend’s top ten, based on studio estimates:

 Title Weekend Total
1.  The Perfect Guy $26,700,000 $26.7
2.  The Visit $25,600,000 $25.6
3.  War Room $7,400,000 $39.1
4.  A Walk in the Woods $4,620,000 $19.8
5.  Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation $4,150,000 $188.1
6.  Straight Outta Compton $4,090,000 $155.7
7.  No Escape $2,879,000 $24.2
8.  The Transporter Refueled $2,700,000 $13.3
9.  90 Minutes in Heaven $2,161,000 $2.16
10.  Un Gallo Con Muchos Huevos $1,900,000 $6.6


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