LOS ANGELES — It was a spooky weekend at the box office for nearly everyone but Tyler Perry.
Perry's comedy sequel Boo 2! A Madea Halloween scared up a healthy $21.7 million in its first weekend in theaters, but the waters were rough for other new movies, including the disaster epic Geostorm, firefighter drama Only the Brave and crime thriller The Snowman.
Made for a reported $25 million, Perry's film drew a mostly older and female audience, who gave it an A-minus on CinemaScore. Boo 2! did a little less business than the first film, which opened to $28.5 million last year.
"Given that it's a sequel, its performance is at the higher end of our expectations," says David Spitz, who heads up domestic distribution for Lionsgate.
The studio anticipates the film will hold well into next weekend because of Halloween, but it also will face some competition with the horror picture Jigsaw.
But a slight drop for a sequel hardly compares with the catastrophe of Geostorm, a long-delayed $120 million disaster epic starring Gerard Butler that only managed to open with $13.3 million for second place.
Geostorm, which marks the directorial debut of Independence Day producer Dean Devlin, was shot in late 2014. Lousy test screenings resulted in $15 million of reshoots, pushing back the release more than a year and a half.
But the reshoots didn't seem to help the final product, which has been widely panned by critics and shunned overall by audiences. Those who did turn out gave it a B-minus on CinemaScore.
Another possibly too-timely film, Only the Brave, about the Granite Mountain Hotshots who took on the June 2013 Yarnell Hill fire, also failed to attract sufficient audiences. The film starring Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges, Miles Teller and Jennifer Connelly opened in fifth place with $6 million.
Despite good reviews, it opened behind two holdovers — the Groundhog Day-like horror hit Happy Death Day, which landed in third place with $9.4 million, and Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling's Blade Runner 2049, which took in $7.2 million for fourth in its third weekend.
The Snowman, starring Michael Fassbender and based on the Jo Nesbø book, also failed to make a splash. The critically derided movie debuted in eighth place with $3.4 million.
Director Tomas Alfredson has been widely acknowledging the film's shortcomings and confusing plot, saying he didn't have time to shoot the entire script. Audiences gave it a deathly D on CinemaScore.
Things looked a little brighter for the weekend's limited releases. Both playing in four theaters, the Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman film The Killing of a Sacred Deer took in $114,500 and Todd Haynes' children's adventure Wonderstruck, starring Julianne Moore, earned $68,800.
"As great as September was, October has been really scary," says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore.
Dergarabedian says releasing a quality film isn't a sure path to success.
"Even well-reviewed movies like American Made, Only the Brave and Blade Runner 2049 are having trouble gaining traction," he says.
The industry will be looking to the big event films like Thor: Ragnarok (out Nov. 3), Justice League and Star Wars: The Last Jedi to get the year back to even.
"Trying to figure out audiences and what they want is the key to the future. Audiences are voting with their presence or absence at the movie theater," Dergarabedian says. "They're staying away now, but that might change in two weeks."
Final figures are expected Monday.
© 2018 Associated Press