M. Night Shyamalan‘s horror tale “The Visit” did better than expected in its debut at the box office Friday, but was upstaged by the stalker saga “The Perfect Guy.”
The thriller starring Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy and Morris Chestnut was heading for the weekend crown with around $25 million for Sony Screen Gems, after taking in nearly $10 million from 2,221 theaters on its first day and scoring a solid A- from moviegoers polled by CinemaScore.
“The Visit” was in more theaters at 3,069, but came in just behind with $9.3 million Friday. The chiller written, directed and bankrolled by Shyamalan is looking at an estimated $21.6 million in its first weekend for Universal Pictures. CinemaScore audiences gave the film a middling B-.
“The Perfect Guy,” directed by David M. Rosenthal and written by Alan B. McElroy and Tyger Williams, was positioned to double its $12 million production budget in its first three days, and “The Visit,” produced by Jason Blum for $5 million, was on pace to quadruple its cost.
Analysts had projected high-teen million debuts for the PG-13-rated films, so both distributors were smiling Saturday. So was Shyamalan, who has to be relieved to see the low-budget “The Visit” on the path to profitability after misfires with his last two pricey films, “After Earth” and “The Last Airbender.”
The strong showing by “The Perfect Guy” will give Sony its second straight No. 1 film and is a repeat of last year when the studio had the top film with “No Good Deed,” another thriller aimed at African-American audiences, on this same weekend.
And it blocks Universal’s bid for a seventh No. 1 opening this year for Universal, which has been on an historic hot streak in 2015.
The weekend’s other new film, the faith-based drama “90 Minutes in Heaven,” was well out of the money after taking in just $742,000 from 838 theaters Friday. It’s on track to earn less than $3 million and ninth place in its first weekend for Samuel Goldwyn Films.
Defending champ “War Room,” another drama aimed at Christian moviegoers, will give up its crown but held very well in its third week. The drama from Sony’s Affirm Films took in just over $2 million from 1,647 theaters Friday and is on course for $8 million and third place. That would lift the domestic take for Alex Kendrick’s $3 million indie film to nearly $40 million.
“A Walk in the Woods,” the Robert Redford vehicle from Broad Green Pictures, was heading for a $5 million and fourth place in its second week, and should beat out Universal’s “Straight Outta Compton,” which is heading for a $4 million fifth week.
“Wolf Totem,” a Chinese import directed by Jean-Jacque Annaud and released in 100 IMAX theaters and another 35 locations in college towns, was heading for a soft $31,000 in its debut for Sony.