‘Matinees proved magical for Amblin/Universal’s The House With a Clock In Its Walls which pulled in an estimated $11.5M on Saturday, which repped a huge 47% surge over Friday’s $7.8M (which included Thursday night’s $840K previews).
With an opening $26.9M, the haunted family title easily ranks as director Eli Roth’s best opening over — the first time he’s crossed over into the PG genre as a filmmaker — besting 2006 horror title Hostel which opened to $19.55M. Among his feature-length directorial credits, House is also Roth’s best reviewed at 68% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Three autumns ago, Universal had the Guillermo del Toro haunted house R-rated pic Crimson Peak which couldn’t find its audience as it straddled arthouse and genre fans, upsetting the latter with a $13.1M opening and $31M domestic final. But when this haunted house fare is geared toward kids, it rallies. Worldwide debut is $35.5M, scared up by 22 offshore territories that earned $8.7M including Germany and Brazil.
“We fell under the spell of this movie from the moment it was pitched to us and it’s clear audiences this weekend have been enchanted as well. Holly Bario and the entire team at Amblin stirred this potion with director Eli Roth and the talented gang of filmmakers and combined an exciting story with an irresistible cast. With Universal’s marketing magic, The House with a Clock in its Walls was positioned for success at the box office this weekend and beyond” said Amblin Co-CEO and President Jeff Small.
“Eli Roth known more for his genre titles has captured Amblin’s essence of throwing kids into extraordinary circumstances,” exclaimed Universal President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution Jim Orr about the pic’s success this weekend.
Brad Fischer and James Vanderbilt’s Mythology Entertainment produced and packaged The House with the Clock in its Walls. The title was attached to Mythology seven years ago when the company was launched. Writer/producer Eric Kripke was hired and because of Mythology’s association with Cate Blanchett on Truth, they were able to sell the film to Amblin.
The pic played evenly throughout the nation over-indexing in the family friend Mountain region of Salt Lake City and Denver and throughout the South with Hispanic audiences who repped 27% of the weekend’s crowd to 53% Caucasian, 10% African American, 5% Asian. Imax drove $2.5M of House‘s business at 400 houses with a new Imax version of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video playing before the pic.’