‘The Girl on the Train’ takes box of­fice hon­ours

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT -

PRO­PELLED BY the pop­u­lar­ity of Paula Hawkins’ best­seller, the fast-tracked big-screen adap­ta­tion of The

Girl on the Train led North Amer­i­can cin­e­mas in ticket sales with US$24.7 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to stu­dio es­ti­mates Sun­day. Less suc­cess­ful was Nate Parker’s Nat Turner biopic

The Birth of a Na­tion, which movie­go­ers largely greeted with a shrug af­ter a 17-year-old rape al­le­ga­tion resur­faced against its star and di­rec­tor.

The Girl on the Train, a psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller star­ring Emily Blunt, ap­pealed sig­nif­i­cantly to fe­male movie­go­ers, who made up 68 per cent of the au­di­ence ac­cord­ing to the film’s dis­trib­u­tor, Univer­sal Pic­tures. The film, di­rected by Tate Tay­lor (The Help), is about an al­co­holic sub­ur­ban­ite woman who be­comes em­broiled in a mys­te­ri­ous dis­ap­pear­ance.

Re­leased just last year, Hawkins’ novel went from best­seller lists to the top of the box of­fice in short or­der. Dream Works ac­quired film rights to the book ahead of its pub­li­ca­tion. While re­views for the film were weak, Blunt’s lead per­for­mance was largely praised.

But per­haps the most closely watched open­ing was Fox Search­light’s The Birth of a

Na­tion. Play­ing in 2,105 cin­e­mas, the film opened with a dis­ap­point­ing US$7.1 mil­lion.

The movie fetched a record US$17.5 mil­lion at its much­lauded Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val pre­miere, where it was hailed as an Os­car con­tender and an an­swer to the then boil­ing ‘Os­cars So White’ back­lash. But Parker be­came en­veloped in a rape al­le­ga­tion from his past, when he was a sopho­more at Penn State. Parker, who has main­tained his in­no­cence, was ac­quit­ted in 2001. The al­leged vic­tim killed her­self in 2012.

As the con­tro­versy con­tin­ued through the sum­mer and fall (Parker ap­peared on 60 Min­utes last week­end), Fox Search­light worked in vain to di­rect fo­cus back to­ward Parker’s movie. On open­ing night Thurs­day, pro­test­ers held a si­lent vigil for vic­tims of rape and sex­ual as­sault out­side a Los An­ge­les cinema.

Also open­ing in wide re­lease was the CBS Films and Lion­s­gate re­lease Mid­dle School: The Worst Years of My Life, based on the James Patterson books about a teenager who ter­rorises his prin­ci­pal with pranks. It de­buted with US$6.9 mil­lion.

Last week’s top film, Tim Bur­ton’s Miss Pere­grine’s School for Pe­cu­liar Chil­dren, slid to sec­ond place with US$15 mil­lion in its sec­ond week for 20th Cen­tury Fox. The Lion­s­gate real-life dis­as­ter film

Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon took in US$11.8 mil­lion in its sec­ond week.

AP

Luke Evans (left) and Emily Blunt in ‘The Girl on the Train’.

AP

In a scene from ‘Miss Pere­grine’s Home for Pe­cu­liar Chil­dren’ are (from left) Lau­ren McCrostie, Pixie Davies, Cameron King, Thomas Od­well, Joseph Od­well and Ella Pur­nell.

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