Tyler Perry has proved yet again he knows his audience well as his “Madea” sequel topped the weekend box office with a whopping $27.6 million — the third highest grossing debut of the comedy series — according to Sunday estimates.
Lionsgate’s “Boo! A Madea Halloween” had enough momentum to unseat Paramount’s “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” which grossed roughly $23 million on its opening.
Making $9.4 million on Friday alone, Perry’s “Madea” sequel blew away Lionsgate’s previous opening weekend predictions of mid-teens set earlier in the week, also when trackers had its opening grosses closer to $20 million.
Tom Cruise‘s action sequel, originally positioned to top the box office, is now settling into second place.
“Ouija: Origin of Evil” eked out third place with $14.1 million, in line with Universal’s initial estimates of mid teens, though trackers previously had its debut set in the high teens.
The scary movie barely beat out holdover “The Accountant,” which came in fourth with $14 million in its second weekend.
Twentieth Century Fox comedy “Keeping Up With the Joneses” couldn’t crack the top five, given the flood of new competition, “The Accountant” and also holdover “The Girl on the Train.” Starring Gal Gadot, Isla Fisher, Zach Galifianakis, Jon Hamm and Patton Oswalt, “Joneses” earned an estimated $5.6 million on its debut, down from previous predictions of $8 million.
Directed by Greg Mottola (“Superbad,” “Adventureland”), the comedy involves a suburban couple who become embroiled in an international espionage plot.
It has a very low 18 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a B- CinemaScore — rated by those surveyed on opening night.
“Boo! A Madea Halloween” is open in 2,260 locations and was made for $20 million. Written, directed and starring Tyler Perry, who returns as Madea, the movie follows the wise-cracking grandmotherly character during a haunted Halloween as she fights off killers, ghosts and zombies and also keeps an eye on some misbehaving teens.
In spite of its 33 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Perry’s movie seems to be hitting a sweet spot with fans, reflected in its A CinemaScore and also its strong box office performance.
“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” revolves around the mysterious deaths of soldiers who were previously under Reacher’s command.
The Paramount title has a low 39 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a better CinemaScore of B+.
It’s playing in 3,780 locations and is tracking higher than the opening of the previous installment, which grossed $15 million on its debut and went on to earn $200 million worldwide.
The sequel, directed by Edward Zwick (“The Last Samurai”), was produced for $60 million, not counting marketing costs. It also stars Cobie Smulders, Aldis Hodge, Danika Yarosh, PatrickHeusinger, Holt McCallany and Robert Knepper.
Meanwhile “Ouija: Origin of Evil” is playing in 3,167 theaters. Made on a modest budget, the studio hopes to replicate the success of the 2014 sleeper hit which earned a lifetime gross of more than $100 million worldwide.
Involving a seance scam in 1967 Los Angeles, the prequel was directed by Mike Flanagan (“Oculus”) and comes from from Blumhouse, Platinum Dunes and Hasbro, and boasts a roster of big name producers including Michael Bay and Jason Blum.
It has the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of this weekend’s new releases with 81 percent. Though the film may be disappointing fans who gave it a C CinemaScore on opening night.
The Top Five:
1. “Boo! A Madea Halloween” (Lionsgate) — $27.6 million in Week 1 ($27.6 million total)
2. “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” (Paramount) — $23 million in Week 1 ($23 million total)
3. “Ouija: Origin of Evil” — $14.1 million in Week 1 ($14.1 million total)
4. “The Accountant” (Warner Bros.) — $14 million in Week 2 ($47.9 million total)
5. “The Girl on the Train” (Universal) — $7.3 million in Week 3 ($58.9 million total)