‘The Darkest Minds’ Stays in the Shadows at Box Office; ‘The First Purge’ Becomes the Series Most Profitable Entry

by Nick Banks

The adaptation of Alexandra Bracken’s popular YA science fiction book series The Darkest Minds had a hard time keeping the lights on at this weekend’s box office, as the potential franchise starter landed with a thud, only managing an estimated $5.8 million and an eighth place debut.

The trailers hyped the connections to Stranger Things‘ Dan Cohen and Shawn Levy (who served as producers for the film), but that couldn’t entice fans into the theater this weekend.  With an reported budget of $34 million dollars before promotional costs, the film’s worldwide total should allow the film to break even or earn a small profit, but it looks like Hollywood still hasn’t learned that YA novel series are not the place to “mine gold” anymore (and the 18% score at Rotten Tomatoes certainly didn’t help).

In more positive news, The First Purge has surprisingly become the highest grossing entry in the franchise’s four film catalog, earning $121 million at the global box office.  While the new film did not cause any cash riots at the domestic box office (and still trails Purge: Election Year and Pure: Anarchy at home), the film has performed much better overseas, particularly in the UK, Mexico, and France.

In a very slow summer for horror films, The First Purge has remained king, yet it faces its stiffest competition next week when The Meg and Slender Man open.  Box office Pro is projecting a $23 million start for the giant shark fest and Slender Man is being optimistically predicted in the $15 million range.  With a sudden date change and a slew of production problems, Sony may be dumping the film based on the Creepy Pasta tall-tale, so don’t be surprised if the film opens in a similar fashion to the recent Blumhouse film Unfriended: Dark Web, which only opened on 1,500 screens and earned $3.6 million in its opening weekend.  Competition for “scare dollars” is stiffer next week, so we’ll have to see just how spicy that creepy pasta sauce is after all. 

Come back next week for full coverage of the battle at the box office between a ancient shark and a tall, thin slasher, right here at your home for horror: the Horror News Network!


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