Darren Aronofsky's mother! stalled in its domestic box office debut, earning an estimated $7.5 million from 2,368 theaters after receiving a rare F CinemaScore and facing competition from blockbuster It.
mother!, an elevated psychological horror-thriller, supplants The House at the End of the Street ($12.3 million) to mark the lowest nationwide launch of Jennifer Lawrence's career. The Paramount title, costing $30 million to produce, came in No. 3 for the weekend behind It and new offering American Assassin. (In a sign that summer is over, all three titles are rated R.)
Warner Bros. and New Line's It continued to make history in its second weekend, declining a scant 51 percent to $60 million from 4,103 theaters, the biggest sophomore outing ever for a horror title.
That's just one of many milestones. In its first 10 days, the film adaptation of Stephen King's novel has earned $218.7 million domestically, passing up Get Out ($175.5 million) to become the No. 2 R-rated horror film of all time behind The Exorcist, not accounting for inflation. And it's already the top-grossing September release in history. At this pace, It will finish its North American run with north of $300 million.
It is also scaring up big numbers overseas, grossing $60.3 million in its second weekend from 56 markets for a foreign tally of $152.6 million and a stunning $371.3 million worldwide against a $35 million budget. Highlights included a record-breaking horror opening of $13.8 million in Mexico.
In North America, It is a needed balm after one of the most troubling summer season in history. Already the year-over-year revenue decline at the domestic box office has narrowed from more than 6 percent to 5 percent.
CBS Films and Lionsgate's American Assassin placed No. 2 with a solid $14.8 million from 3,154 theaters, on par with fellow Lionsgate action pic, John Wick ($14.4 million). The movie cost a net $33 million to make.
Directed by Michael Cuesta, American Assassin stars Dylan O'Brien as a CIA operative who teams with a veteran agent (Michael Keaton) to stop terrorists from starting a world war. The film, also featuring Sanaa Lathan, Shiva Negar and Taylor Kitsch, is based on late author Vince Flynn's novel of the same name and earned a B+ CinemaScore from audiences.
Heading into the weekend, American Assassin held only a slight edge over mother! according to tracking. But throughout the weekend, mother! continued to slip. Getting slapped with an F CinemaScore on Friday didn't help matters (only a dozen or so movies have ever received the failing grade).
From a script by Aronofsky, mother! revolves around a married couple named mother (Lawrence) and Him (Bardem), whose tranquil existence in their country home is tested when two crass strangers — man (Ed Harris) and woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) — show up at their country Victorian home.
mother! opened to $6 million overseas from its first 16 markets. It placed third in France with $1.3 million, followed by a third-place finish in the U.K. with $1.1 million and a second-place finish in Russia with $1.1 million.
The $30 million film made its world premiere earlier this month at the Venice Film Festival before screening at the Toronto International Film Festival to generally good reviews, with a current score of 69 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics were divided in their reaction, and audiences, even more so.
Director Hallie Meyers-Shyer's Home Again, a romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, placed No. 4 with an estimated $5.3 million for a muted 10-day domestic total of $17.1 million for Open Road Films.
Lionsgate's Hitman's Bodyguard, rounding out the top five with an estimated $3.6 million, jumped the $70 million mark in its fifth weekend. The action comedy stars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson.
At the specialty box office, filmmaker Mike White's Brad's Status, starring Ben Stiller, Michael Sheen, Jenna Fischer, Luke Wilson and Austin Abrams, scored the top location average of any film when earning $100,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for an average of $25,000. The dramedy is the second release from Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures, and made its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. The story follows a an anxious father who takes his son on a tour of New England colleges.
Overseas, Fox's War for the Planet of the Apes made headlines in China, where it opened to a strong $62.3 million despite competition from Spider-Man Homecoming. War for the Planet of the Apes came in 42 percent ahead of the last film and 20 percent ahead of Logan. The threequel's foreign total is now $287.9 million for a worldwide cume of $433.7 million.
Universal's American Made, starring Tom Cruise, continued its foreign rollout ahead of its Sept. 29 domestic launch, earning another $12 million from 53 territories for a total $48.8 million, including a $1.9 debut in South Korea and $1.8 million from France.