Box office: Girl on the Train speeds past Birth of a Nation

Box office: Girl on the Train speeds past Birth of a Nation October 9, 2016

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A pulpy thriller beat a former Oscar front-runner at the box office this week.

The Girl on the Train, based on the bestselling novel about a divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple that she watches from her train on the way to work, earned an estimated $24.7 million between Thursday and Sunday nights.

That’s the sixth-best live-action opening of Emily Blunt’s career, and easily the best of any film in which she was the undisputed lead. (The films that had bigger openings co-starred Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, the Muppets and a werewolf.)

The news was less positive for The Birth of a Nation, which landed in sixth place with only $7.1 million after several weeks of negative publicity.

Fox Searchlight bought the film for $17.5 million in January, after its rapturous premiere at Sundance, and at the time they thought they had a surefire Oscar front-runner on their hands — similar to their 2013 release 12 Years a Slave, which grossed $187.7 million worldwide and won three Oscars, including Best Picture.

But the new film has been dogged by controversy since August, when reporters and protestors began focusing on the fact that director Nate Parker and his co-writer Jean Celestin were accused of raping a fellow college student in 1999, and it now looks unlikely that the film will do all that well financially or awards-wise.

The week’s other big new release was the kids’ movie Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, which landed in seventh place with a modest $6.9 million.

Globally, Finding Dory passed a new milestone, becoming the fifth animated movie — and the 27th film of any sort — to gross a billion dollars worldwide. It is the third film to do so this year, behind Zootopia and Captain America: Civil War.

Meanwhile, in other box-office news…

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children earned $15 million and ranked second in its second week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $51.1 million. The film has earned another $94 million overseas for a global total of $145.1 million.

Deepwater Horizon earned $11.8 million and ranked third in its second week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $38.5 million. The film has earned another $27.8 million overseas for a global total of $66.3 million.

The Magnificent Seven earned $9.2 million and ranked fourth in its third week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $75.9 million. The film has earned another $58.7 million overseas for a global total of $134.6 million.

Storks earned $8.5 million and ranked fifth in its third week, thereby raising its domestic total to $50.1 million. The film has earned another $56 million overseas for a global total of $106.1 million.

Sully earned $5.3 million and ranked eighth in its fifth week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $113.5 million. The film has earned another $53.7 million overseas for a global total of $167.2 million.

Masterminds earned $4.1 million and ranked ninth in its second week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $12.8 million. The film has earned another $1.1 million overseas for a global total of $13.9 million.

And Queen of Katwe earned $1.6 million and ranked tenth in its third week, thereby raising its domestic cume to $5.4 million. The film does not appear to have been released overseas yet.

Now for a bit of extra data on Ben-Hur’s place among Bible-themed films:

Ben-Hur still ranks 11th among recent Bible-themed films in North America:

  • 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $370.8 million
  • 1998 — The Prince of Egypt — $101.4 million
  • 2014 — Noah — $101.2 million
  • 2014 — Exodus: Gods and Kings — $65 million
  • 2014 — Son of God — $59.7 million
  • 2009 — Year One — $43.3 million
  • 2006 — The Nativity Story — $37.6 million
  • 2016 — Risen — $36.9 million
  • 1981 — History of the World, Part I — $31.7 million
  • 2016 — Hail, Caesar! — $30.1 million
  • 2016 — Ben-Hur — $26.4 million
  • 2002 — Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie — $25.6 million
  • 1979 — Monty Python’s Life of Brian — $20 million
  • 1980 — Wholly Moses! — $14.2 million
  • 2006 — One Night with the King — $13.4 million
  • 1988 — The Last Temptation of Christ — $8.4 million
  • 2016 — The Young Messiah — $6.5 million
  • 1985 — King David — $5.1 million
  • 2003 — The Gospel of John — $4.1 million

It also still ranks fifth among Bible-themed films of the past 20 years overseas (Box Office Mojo doesn’t have foreign figures for older Bible-themed films):

  • 2014 — Noah — $261.4 million
  • 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $241.1 million
  • 2014 — Exodus: Gods and Kings — $203.2 million
  • 1998 — The Prince of Egypt — $117.2 million
  • 2016 — Ben-Hur — $63.3 million
  • 2016 — Hail, Caesar! — $33.1 million
  • 2009 — Year One — $19.0 million
  • 2014 — Son of God — $11.1 million
  • 2016 — Risen — $9.2 million
  • 2006 — The Nativity Story — $8.8 million

And it still ranks fifth among Bible-themed films of the past 20 years worldwide:

  • 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $370.8 + 241.1 = 611.9 million
  • 2014 — Noah — $101.2 + 261.4 = 362.6 million
  • 2014 — Exodus: Gods and Kings — $65.0 + 203.2 = 268.2 million
  • 1998 — The Prince of Egypt — $101.4 + 117.2 = 218.6 million
  • 2016 — Ben-Hur — $26.4 + 63.3 = 89.7 million
  • 2014 — Son of God — $59.7 + 11.1 = 70.8 million
  • 2016 — Hail, Caesar! — $30.1 + 33.1 = 63.2 million
  • 2009 — Year One — $43.3 + 19.0 = 62.4 million
  • 2006 — The Nativity Story — $37.6 + 8.8 = 46.4 million
  • 2016 — Risen — $36.9 + 9.2 = 46.1 million

And now for a bit of extra data on the year’s top-grossing animated films:

In North America, The Secret Life of Pets still ranks eighth among animated films:

  • 2016 — Finding Dory (Pixar) — $484.8 million
  • 2004 — Shrek 2 (DreamWorks) — $441.2 million
  • 1994 — The Lion King (Disney) — $422.8 million
  • 2010 — Toy Story 3 (Pixar) — $415.0 million
  • 2013 — Frozen (Disney) — $400.7 million
  • 2003 — Finding Nemo (Pixar) — $380.8 million
  • 2013 — Despicable Me 2 (Universal) — $368.1 million
  • 2016 — The Secret Life of Pets (Universal) — $365.4 million
  • 2015 — Inside Out (Pixar) — $356.5 million
  • 2016 — Zootopia (Disney) — $341.3 million

Overseas, Finding Dory now ranks 11th and The Secret Life of Pets now ranks 15th:

  • 2013 — Frozen (Disney) — $875.7 million
  • 2015 — Minions (Universal) — $823.4 million
  • 2012 — Ice Age: Continental Drift (Fox) — $715.9 million
  • 2009 — Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Fox) — $690.1 million
  • 2016 — Zootopia (Disney) — $682.3 million
  • 2010 — Toy Story 3 (Pixar) — $648.2 million
  • 2013 — Despicable Me 2 (Universal) — $602.7 million
  • 2003 — Finding Nemo (Pixar) — $559.5 million
  • 1994 — The Lion King (Disney) — $545.7 million
  • 2012 — Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (DreamWorks) — $530.5 million
  • 2016 — Finding Dory (Pixar) — $516.7 million
  • 2010 — Shrek Forever After (DreamWorks) — $513.9 million
  • 2015 — Inside Out (Pixar) — $501.1 million
  • 2011 — Kung Fu Panda 2 (DreamWorks) — $500.4 million
  • 2016 — The Secret Life of Pets (Universal) — $482.8 million
  • 2004 — Shrek 2 (DreamWorks) — $478.6 million
  • 2007 — Shrek the Third (DreamWorks) — $476.2 million
  • 2013 — Monsters University (Pixar) — $475.7 million
  • 2006 — Ice Age: The Meltdown (Fox) — $465.6 million
  • 2014 — How to Train Your Dragon 2 (DreamWorks) — $444.5 million

And worldwide, Finding Dory still ranks fifth, while The Secret Life of Pets still ranks 13th:

  • 2013 — Frozen (Disney) — $400.7 + 875.7 = 1276.5 million
  • 2015 — Minions (Universal) — $336.0 + 823.4 = 1159.4 million
  • 2010 — Toy Story 3 (Pixar) — $415.0 + 648.2 = 1063.2 million
  • 2016 — Zootopia (Disney) — $341.3 + 682.3 = 1023.6 million
  • 2016 — Finding Dory (Pixar) — $484.8 + 516.7 = 1001.5 million
  • 2013 — Despicable Me 2 (Universal) — $368.1 + 602.7 = 970.8 million
  • 1994 — The Lion King (Disney) — $422.8 + 545.7 = 968.5 million
  • 2003 — Finding Nemo (Pixar) — $380.8 + 559.5 = 940.3 million
  • 2004 — Shrek 2 (DreamWorks) — $441.2 + 478.6 = 919.8 million
  • 2009 — Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Fox) — $196.6 + 690.1 = 886.7 million
  • 2012 — Ice Age: Continental Drift (Fox) — $161.3 + 715.9 = 877.2 million
  • 2015 — Inside Out (Pixar) — $356.5 + 501.1 = 857.6 million
  • 2016 — The Secret Life of Pets (Universal) — $365.4 + 482.8 = 848.2 million
  • 2007 — Shrek the Third (DreamWorks) — $322.7 + 476.2 = 799.0 million
  • 2010 — Shrek Forever After (DreamWorks) — $238.7 + 513.9 = 752.6 million
  • 2012 — Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (DreamWorks) — $216.4 + 530.5 = 746.9 million
  • 2013 — Monsters University (Pixar) — $268.5 + 475.7 = 744.2 million
  • 2009 — Up (Pixar) — $293.0 + 442.1 = 735.1 million
  • 2011 — Kung Fu Panda 2 (DreamWorks) — $165.2 + 500.4 = 665.7 million
  • 2006 — Ice Age: The Meltdown (Fox) — $195.3 + 465.6 = 660.9 million

Next week brings us The Accountant, Max Steel and Kevin Hart: What Now?.

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