LOS ANGELES • Even superstar Tom Cruise is no match for that clown in It.
American Made, an action dramedy starring Cruise, 55, as a drug runner, took in only US$17 million (S$23 million) in North American cinemas over the weekend.
That was one of the lowest he has ever delivered.
American Made will need to sell a lot of tickets in weeks ahead to go down as a financial success. At the core of its challenge: It is not 2004 anymore.
Back then, with the DVD geyser in full eruption, studios could safely serve up costly, middle-of-the-road star vehicles such as American Made.
If ticket sales were soft, Hollywood could bank on DVD sales.
Today, most of these "mid-tier" movies have vanished from multiplexes. Without DVD sales as a safety net - and with greater competition from television - Hollywood has veered sharply away from the risky middle, pursuing either small-scale films designed for niche audiences (horror fans, for instance) or big-budget franchise movies.
Could American Made still make it over the hump?
Sure. It has taken in US$64.7 million overseas since its release in August. And strong reviews could allow it to chug away in the United States and Canada.
Joining American Made in wide release over the weekend was Flatliners, a sci-fi horror film that cost US$19 million to make. It tanked, collecting about US$6.7 million.
For the weekend, It was again No. 1, taking in an estimated US$17.3 million for a four-week domestic total of US$291.2 million.
Tying with American Made for second place was Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which collected about US$17 million, for a two-week total of US$66.7 million.