LOS ANGELES • A sassy church woman, a group of elite firefighters, an alcoholic detective, some do-gooder Texans and a renegade scientific genius walked into multiplexes last Friday.
Only one grabbed the attention of ticket buyers.
Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, with Perry reprising his gun-toting, moralising granny, took in about US$21.7 million (S$30 million) at North American theatres over the weekend.
That total gave Perry his sixth No. 1 opening, bolstering his status as one of the most reliable crowd-pullers in moviedom.
Even so, initial ticket sales for Boo 2! fell 24 per cent behind those for Boo! A Madea Halloween last year.
Ticket sales were terrible for the other newcomers - Geostorm, Only The Brave, The Snowman and Same Kind Of Different As Me - adding to worries that movie-going is falling out of fashion, as Americans curl up at home with their Netflix accounts.
On the other hand, all of those films but one, Only The Brave, a dramatisation of a wildfire that killed 19 responders, received abysmal reviews.
Geostorm was second for the weekend, taking in an estimated US$13.3 million, a financial disaster for a film that cost roughly US$130 million to make.
Starring Gerard Butler as a scientist racing to save the planet from environmental destruction, it likely suffered from a sense of been-there, done-that, coming across as another The Day After Tomorrow (2004).
Happy Death Day, the previous weekend's box-office champion, fell to third spot with US$9.4 million.