Universal Pictures’ and Amblin Entertainment’s “The House With a Clock in Its Walls” picked up $840,000 in Thursday night previews. The adaptation of the 1973 John Bellairs book is aimed at family audiences and is poised to top the domestic box office during an otherwise sleepy weekend at the multiplexes. “The House With a Clock in Its Walls” should bring in between $18 million to $20 million across 3,500 North American locations. It screened in 2,700 theaters last night.
Preview results for “The House With a Clock in Its Walls” are roughly comparable to those for 2015’s “Goosebumps,” which made $600,000 en route to a $23.6 million opening. The fantasy film follows a young boy named Lewis (Owen Vaccaro), who goes to live with his eccentric uncle (Jack Black, who also starred in “Goosebumps”) after his parents die. His uncle’s old house has a mysterious ticking heart that portends terrible things. Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett plays a witch who lives next door. Director Eli Roth, best known for R-rated horror titles like the “Hostel” movies, cuts back on the gore to helm the children’s film.
There’s not too much in the way of competition. Amazon Studios is releasing “Life Itself,” a critically maligned tear-jerker from “This Is Us’ creator Dan Fogelman in 2,578 locations where it is expected to pull in $4 million to $6 million. That’s a poor result given that its cast includes Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Antonio Banderas, and Annette Bening.
Michael Moore will also storm theaters with “Fahrenheit 11/9,” a broadside aimed at President Trump. The documentary is expected to earn between $5 to $8 million from 1,500 screens.
Then there’s the teen thriller “Assassination Nation,” which is eying a $4 million opening from over 1,400 locations. NEON, the indie studio behind the film, bought “Assassination Nation” out of Sundance, but has struggled to get its violent and sexually charged ads played on social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. Because of that, the film could struggle to reach its target audience of younger moviegoers.