‘Birth of a Nation’ Flops as ‘Girl on the Train’ Wins Weekend Box Office
On the heels of a rape case scandal, slavery epic “The Birth of a Nation” ultimately couldn’t live up to its initial hype this weekend, grossing only $7.1 million.
Playing in 2,105 locations, Nate Parker’s film from Fox Searchlight was expected to clear $9 million as of earlier last week — still low figures for a title that was bought by the indie distributor for a record-breaking $17.5 million at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
The bright side is that the R-rated drama has a solid A CinemaScore among those surveyed on opening night, indicating it could play in the weeks to come off positive word of mouth. Its Rotten Tomatoes score is also a fresh 79 percent.
Meanwhile, DreamWorks Pictures’ murder mystery “The Girl on the Train,” starring Emily Blunt, zoom to the top of the heap this weekend with $24.7 million.
Earning $9.4 million on Friday alone, the adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ best-selling novel of the same name revolves around a troubled and eccentric divorcée (Blunt) who inserts herself into a missing persons case.
Trackers had the thriller topping $30 million earlier last week, though studio estimates from Universal, the film’s distributor, were more conservative, predicting it would safely exceed $20 million in box office receipts.