‘The House With A Clock In Its Walls’ Ticks To $840K Thursday & Will Keep September B.O. Clicking

Amblin Entertainment’s The House With a Clock in its Walls from Universal drew $840K from 2,700 locations on Thursday night.

Note, kids are still in school, so the play for House will be largely from Saturday and Sunday matinees. Thursday’s take is under such spooky family pics like Fox’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, another kids book feature adaptation like House, which earned $1.2M on its Thursday before winning the Sept 30-Oct. 2, 2016 frame with $28.8M. House is above Sony’s Goosebumps which drew $600K at 2,567 theaters on its Thursday night before notching a $23.6M weekend win in mid-October 2015. House is expected to be in the same $20M+ opening neighborhood as those movies with a $20M-$22M take from 3,592 locations. House‘s production cost is far cheaper than Miss Peregrine, an estimated $40M to $110M. House is also under Goosebumps’ $55M pricetag before P&A.

House is based on the children’s book written by John Bellairs and illustrated by Edward Gorey. Director Eli Roth is stepping out of his hardcore genre zone here to helm House. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle actor Jack Black stars alongside Oscar winner Cate Blanchett. Story follows a 10-year-old who goes to live with his uncle whose house has a mysterious tick-tocking heart. But his new town’s sleepy façade jolts to life with a secret world of warlocks and witches when Lewis accidentally awakens the dead.

Now the September box office will not reach the all-time record of last September’s $698.5M record, of which Warner Bros.’ It repped 41%. But through the first 18 days of the month, September is faring quite well with $413M, 7% ahead of the same running period in 2016 (which finaled at $587.9M) and pacing behind September 2017 by 8%. If this month maintains its current pace, it could wind up being the second-best September ever at $629M. Universal’s Kevin Hart-Tiffany Haddish PG-13 comedy Night School could push the month’s ticket sales even higher as the pic is tracking for a $25M-$34M opening next weekend.

20th Century Fox’s The Predator in its second weekend will ease to about $7M-$9M in its second weekend after a No. 1 take of $24.6M. Its predecessor, Predators from July 2010, ran into Christopher Nolan’s Inception in its second weekend and saw a 72% tumble to $7M. The sixthquel from Shane Black grossed $31.7M in its first week. Early industry reports show that on Thursday The Predator was neck-in-neck with Lionsgate’s Paul Feig comedy noir A Simple Favor drawing $1.24M a piece. That Blake Lively-Anna Kendrick movie is likely to beat the monster for a No. 2 take of $9M-$10M.

Also opening this weekend is Neon/AGBO’s Sundance acquistion of the teen action comedy Assassination Nation which is looking to post around $3.5M; Thursday night previews are estimated around $120K. Amazon has This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman’s drama weepy Life Itself, which hasn’t won over critics with a 12% Rotten score, is expected to earn $4M-$5M; the ensemble pic which stars Oscar Isaac, Antonio Banderas, Olivia Wide, Annette Bening among others earned $100K.  Tom Ortenberg’s Briarcliff Entertainment has the Michael Moore doc Fahrenheit 11/9 going wide at 1,719 venues with industry projections seeing $5M-$6M and posted $275K last night. All pics held Thursday night previews.

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