Ron Howard’s Inferno suffered a startling defeat in its North American box-office debut, grossing an estimated $15 million from 3,575 theaters to come in behind holdover Boo! A Madea Halloween, which scared up $16.7 million from 2,299 theaters in its sophomore outing.
Heading into the weekend, it was a given that Inferno – starring Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones – would win the Halloween costume contest with a $20 million-$30 million opening, considering its pedigree and the fact that it was the only new nationwide offering.
Instead, the third installment in Sony’s long-dormant Da Vinci Code series bombed, becoming the latest example of a franchise revival largely rejected by U.S. audiences. The movie also marks another blemish for Howard following several box-office misses, including the big-budget epic In the Heart of the Sea.
But not all is lost. Inferno has successfully ignited overseas, already earning an estimated $150 million since launching in numerous markets earlier this month. New openers include China, where it topped the chart with $14 million, a good number for an adult drama. Part of the reason Inferno rolled out early overseas was because of Marvel and Disney’s Doctor Strange, which debuted in a number of territories over Halloween weekend ahead of its Nov. 4 U.S. start.
“We’re disappointed in the U.S. opening, but we’re very pleased with how the film is performing internationally,” said Sony worldwide president of marketing and distribution Josh Greenstein.
Inferno features Hanks reprising his role as Robert Langdon, the Harvard symbologist immortalized in Dan Brown’s bestselling book series. The studio was nervous about making the film, considering it’s been a full decade since Howard and Hanks’ The Da Vinci Code grossed a massive $758.2 million at the global box office after opening to $77 million domestically in May 2006.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter | Pamela McClintock