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‘Money Monster’ Rakes in Some Cash with $15 Million Opening Weekend

”Captain America: Civil War“ still No. 1 with $72.6 million

Sony’s “Money Monster” came in on the high end of expectations, debuting at No. 3 at the box office with a $15 million opening weekend from 3,104 screens.

The Jodie Foster-directed thriller, starring George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Jack O’Connell, was made by TriStar Pictures on a reported production budget of $27 million and was expected to open between $10-and-$15 million.

Though the mid-budget film was no competition for Disney-Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War,” which came in at No. 1 in its second weekend with $72.6 million from 4,226 theaters.

That’s less than on-average estimates of $80 million.

Earning a nearly unheard of Rotten Tomatoes score of zero percent, critics so far have unanimously reviled BH Tilt’s horror film “The Darkness,” which came in fourth place. Yet, in spite of bad reviews and a C CinemaScore, it met expectations at the box office, bringing in $5.18 million in its first weekend from 1755 locations.

Meanwhile Disney’s “The Jungle Book” held momentum in the No. 2 spot with $17.8 million in its fifth weekend in theaters from 3,970 locations.

Open Road’s “Mother’s Day” rounded out the top five with $3.3 million in its third weekend, from 3,291 locations.

A24 indie comedy “The Lobster,” starring Colin Ferrell and Rachel Weisz, opened to a very strong per per screen average of $47,049, trapping $188,195 from four screens.

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, the film has been accumulating strong reviews ever since the it won the Cannes Jury Prize last year. Its Rotten Tomatoes score now stands at 92 perecent.

Also at the specialty box office, Roadside Attractions drama “Love & Friendship,” with Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, brought in a respectable $33,188 per screen average from four screens.

“Money Monster” performed well on word of mouth with a reported 22 percent rise in box office returns from Friday into Saturday — despite tepid reviews (57 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and a B+ CinemaScore.

“It was a little gutsy on our part to open the week after ‘Captain America,'” admitted Rory Bruer, president of worldwide theatrical distribution at Sony. “Pictures can just get lost in the wake of something so huge. It had to have it’s own DNA to resonate,” he told TheWrap on Sunday.

The movie, which got an extra publicity boost from its premiere at Cannes last week, revolves around an angry TV viewer (O’Connell) who takes matters into his own hands after a bad tip from a talk show host (Clooney) costs him his savings. As a hostage situation ensues in a television studio, it’s up to a quick thinking producer (Roberts) to keep everyone safe.

In “The Darkness,” Bacon stars as a father warding off ancient Native American demons with his family.

The marketing campaign for the scary movie marked the launch of a newer, cheaper model targeted directly at dedicated horror fans. Made on a production budget of less than $5 million, the marketing budget was in the single-digit millions, too — designed to succeed on an opening of $4-to-$5 million.

The Top Five:

1. “Captain America: Civil War” (Disney) — $72.6 million in Week 2 ($295.9 million total)
2. “The Jungle Book” (Disney) — $17.8 million in Week 5 ($311.8 million total)
3. “Money Monster” (Sony) — $15 million in Week 1 ($15 million total)
4. “The Darkness” (BH Tilt) — $5.18 million in Week 1 ($5.18 million total)
5. “Mother’s Day” (Open Road)  — $3.3 million in Week 3 ($28.8 million total)