Perry’s ‘Madea’ stuns Hanks’ ‘In­ferno’ in box of­fice up­set

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - KICKOFF - Pho­tos and text from wire ser­vices

Tom Hanks. Tom Cruise. Ben Af­fleck. None of them have been a match for Tyler Perry’s Madea.

In a sur­prise vic­tory at the week­end box of­fice, Perry’s “Boo! A Madea Hal­loween” top­pled an­other A-lis­ter as Hanks’ and Ron Howard’s new Dan Brown adap­tion “In­ferno” went up in flames. Perry’s lat­est movie about his tough-talk­ing grand­mother re­mained No. 1 for the sec­ond straight week with an es­ti­mated $16.7 mil­lion.

That was enough to scare away the third in­stall­ment of the “Da Vinci Code” fran­chise. Ac­cord­ing to stu­dio es­ti­mates Sun­day, “In­ferno” bombed with $15 mil­lion, about half of what more bullish pre­dic­tions an­tic­i­pated.

Sony Pic­tures and “In­ferno” could take so­lace in stronger overseas busi­ness. In three weeks of in­ter­na­tional re­lease, the Italy-set film has earned nearly $150 mil­lion. The stu­dio also stressed that the $75 mil­lion bud­get for “In­ferno” was half that of 2006’s “The Da Vinci Code” or 2009’s “An­gels & Demons.”

“Cer­tainly we thought of the film as for the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket. We knew that’s where the sweet spot was go­ing to be,” said Rory Bruer, do­mes­tic dis­tri­bu­tion chief for Sony. “We got a few bad breaks, the big­gest be­ing this his­tor­i­cal World Se­ries.” (Fri­day night’s Game Three be­tween the Chicago Cubs and the Cleve­land In­di­ans drew 19.4 mil­lion view­ers, a 12-year-best, and Satur­day night’s Game Four was watched by 15.1 mil­lion.)

But the un­ex­pect­edly poor per­for­mance of “In­ferno” was yet an­other ex­am­ple of an anx­ious trend in the movie busi­ness: More of the same isn’t work­ing.

Poorly re­viewed and com­ing seven years af­ter the last Robert Lang­don thriller, “In­ferno” ar­rived long af­ter the Dan Brown craze. “An­gels & Demons” opened with $46.1 mil­lion in 2009. Ef­forts to adapt the third book in Brown’s se­ries, “The Lost Sym­bol,” were scut­tled in fa­vor of Brown’s fourth in­stall­ment, “In­ferno.”

“‘In­ferno’ joins the long list of se­quels that didn’t mea­sure up to their pre­de­ces­sors this year and in par­tic­u­lar this sum­mer when only three of the 14 se­quels re­leased out­per­formed their im­me­di­ate pre­de­ces­sors at the box of­fice,” said Paul Der­garabe­dian, se­nior me­dia an­a­lyst for comS­core.

Hanks has still notched the fall’s big­gest hit, Clint East­wood’s “Sully.” It’s been an es­pe­cially star-stud­ded sea­son, with Tom Cruise in “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” ($9.6 mil­lion in its sec­ond week) and Ben Af­fleck in “The Ac­coun­tant” ($8.5 mil­lion in its third week).

But Perry’s long-run­ning char­ac­ter has fared bet­ter than each, at least in North Amer­ica. The Hal­loween­themed “Boo,” re­leased by Lion­s­gate, has made $52 mil­lion in 10 days, mak­ing it Perry’s big­gest hit since 2009’s “Madea Goes to Jail.”

Next week’s big North Amer­i­can open­ing, Marvel’s “Doc­tor Strange,” opened in 33 ter­ri­to­ries abroad where it kicked things off with $86 mil­lion.

DANIEL MC­FAD­DEN/LION­S­GATE VIA AP

Tyler Perry por­trays Madea in a scene from, “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Hal­loween.”

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