LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – “Don’t Breathe,” a twisty story of a group of teenage delinquents who pick the wrong house to burglarize, dominated the late summer box office, debuting to a potent $26.1 million and topping charts. It joins a long list of recent horror films such as “The Purge: Election Year,” “The Conjuring 2,” “Lights Out,” and “The Shallows” that have all found success with audiences. It’s a genre that’s particularly attractive to studios, because these films don’t require much in the way of special effects or star power, making them cheaper to produce than comic book adventures and science-fiction fantasies.
“Don’t Breathe” was backed by Sony’s Screen Gems and Steve Bersch’s Stage 6 Films, and cost less than $10 million to produce. It more than doubled its production budget in a single weekend, after rolling out across 3,051 locations. Sony screened the film at SXSW and Comic-Con in order to build buzz. The film follows a gang of thieves who find out that the blind man whose house they’ve targeted isn’t as helpless as he appears. Instead of making off with loot, they are pitted in a deadly cat-and-mouse game.
“Don’t Breathe” displaced “Suicide Squad” from its perch atop charts. After finishing in first for three consecutive weekends, the super villain mash-up had to settle for second place this weekend with about $12.1 million at 3,582 locations.
Among new releases, Lionsgate bowed “Mechanic: Resurrection,” a follow-up to the 2011 cult hit “The Mechanic,” in 2,258 locations, where it earned $7.5 million. That’s less than the first “Mechanic’s” $11.4 million domestic debut. The sequel centers on an assassin (Jason Statham) who is lured out of retirement for a series of hits. It co-stars Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh, and Jessica Alba.
Fans of the 44th president got a tour down memory lane with “Southside with You” from Roadside Attractions and Miramax. The romantic drama looks at Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date, debuting to roughly $3 million from 813 sites. The Weinstein Company countered with the boxing drama “Hands of Stone,” a biopic about Panamanian fighter Roberto Duran, that opened to $1.7 million at 810 locations.
In limited release, Sony Pictures Classics bowed “The Hollars,” a family dramedy that marks “The Office” star John Krasinski’s feature film directorial debut, on four screens where it made $46,068, for a per-theater average of $11,517.
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