It turned out to be a very close race for first place this weekend between Sony's The Perfect Guy and Universal's The Visit. Heading into the weekend it had been widely expected that it would be a close race between the two PG-13 rated newcomers, but both films ultimately exceeded pre-release expectations by roughly $10 million each. With the studio estimates for the two films only separated by $1.01 million, the weekend race between the two obviously won't be decided until weekend actuals are reported on Monday.
The Perfect Guy currently has the edge for first place with an estimated $26.70 million debut this weekend. The low-budget thriller starring Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy and Morris Chestnut significantly exceeded expectations as mentioned and performed very well with its low cost in mind. With The Perfect Guy, Sony closely followed the template of last year's No Good Deed and the opening weekend results were even stronger for The Perfect Guy as it opened 10 percent ahead of the $24.25 million debut of No Good Deed. After having a tough go of it throughout much of 2015, Sony has rebounded nicely over the past few weeks thanks to War Room and now The Perfect Guy. Films with predominantly African American casts have been especially strong performers over the past month, as Straight Outta Compton, War Room and The Perfect Guy have all exceeded expectations.
The Perfect Guy took in $9.95 million on Friday (unlike The Visit and most recent wide releases in general, the film didn't have pre-midnight shows on Thursday), increased a slim 5 percent on Saturday to gross $10.45 million and is expected to decline 40 percent on Sunday to gross $6.3 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.68 to 1. It should be noted that Sunday's percentage declines in general are expected to start being sharper now as a result of the start of the NFL season (as well as the end of the summer season). The audience breakdown for The Perfect Guy skewed heavily towards female moviegoers (69 percent) and towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (58 percent). The Perfect Guy received a strong A- rating on CinemaScore, though the film could still very well be quite front-loaded towards opening weekend given how front-loaded No Good Deed was last fall.
The Visit opened in a close second with an estimated $25.69 million. When taking into account its relatively modest pre-release expectations and its small price tag, the M. Night Shyamalan directed horror thriller from Blumhouse Productions arguably represents Shyamalan's strongest debut since the $50.75 million start of 2004's The Village. The Visit opened 42 percent stronger than the $18.04 million start of 2006's Lady in the Water and 16 percent below the $30.52 million debut of 2008's The Happening (both of which carried significantly larger price tags). The Visit represents another strong performer for Universal in what has already been a record-breaking year for the studio.
The Visit started out with $9.22 million on Friday (which included an estimated $1.02 million from Thursday night shows), increased a promising 15 percent on Saturday to gross $10.62 million and is estimated to decrease 45 percent on Sunday to gross $5.85 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.79 to 1. That is a strong ratio for a horror film and is a good early sign for the film going forward. The film's B- rating on CinemaScore isn't quite as glowing in comparison, but it also suggests that the film is going over better with moviegoers than many of Shyamalan's more recent efforts have. The audience breakdown for The Visit skewed towards female moviegoers (60 percent) and slightly towards moviegoers 21 years and older (52 percent).
Sony's War Room continued to hold up very nicely with an estimated third place take of $7.4 million. The break-out Kendrick Brothers produced faith based film from TriStar and AFFIRM Films was down a slim 22 percent from last weekend's three-day take. This weekend's percentage hold is made even more impressive given that Labor Day weekend helped inflate last weekend's performance. War Room continues to exceed expectations greatly with a 17-day take of $39.19 million. The film is currently running 84 percent ahead of the $21.28 million 17-day gross of 2011's Courageous and 20 percent ahead of the $32.56 million 17-day total of last year's God's Not Dead.
A Walk in the Woods followed in fourth with an estimated $4.62 million. The Robert Redford led comedy from Broad Green Pictures was down a respectable 44 percent from last weekend's three-day debut. A Walk in the Woods has grossed a stronger than expected $19.88 million through twelve days of release. That places the film 11 percent ahead of the $17.98 million twelve-day take of last year's The November Man and 9 percent behind the $21.87 million twelve-day gross of 2011's The Debt.
Late summer blockbusters Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and Straight Outta Compton claimed fifth and sixth place this weekend with respective estimated takes of $4.15 million and $4.09 million. Paramount's Rogue Nation was down 43 percent from last weekend, while Universal's Straight Outta Compton fell 53 percent. Respective total grosses stand at $188.17 million for Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation through 45 days and at $155.71 million for Straight Outta Compton through 31 days.
Meanwhile, 90 Minutes in Heaven debuted in ninth place this weekend with an estimated $2.16 million. The faith based drama from Samuel Goldwyn earned a modest per-location average of $2,461 from 878 locations. Potential for 90 Minutes in Heaven appears to have been limited a bit from the break-out performance of fellow faith based film War Room.