The third installment in the long-dormant ‘Da Vinci Code’ franchise is much a bigger player overseas, where it has earned north of $100 million.
Director Ron Howard’s mystery-thriller Inferno is struggling in its debut at the North American box office, where it may only scare up $18 million over Halloween weekend, according to early Friday returns.
The third installment in Sony’s long-dormant Da Vinci Code franchise features Tom Hanks reprising his role as Robert Langdon, the Harvard symbologist immortalized in Dan Brown’s bestselling book series. In a bid to appeal to younger audiences, the studio and Howard cast Felicity Jones opposite Hanks, and booked the film in Imax theaters. But the movie still isn’t displaying fire power. (Dismal reviews surely aren’t helping.)
The good news: Inferno is doing well overseas, where it opened two weeks ago and has already amassed north of $100 million. Along with North America, it is launching in China this weekend, where it’s projected to come in No. 1 with $14 million.
It’s been a full decade since Howard’s The Da Vinci Code, based on Brown’s blockbuster novel, played on the big screen in 2006. The movie was a box-office sensation, opening to $77 million domestically on its way to earning $758.2 million worldwide, including a massive $540.7 million overseas. Angels & Demons, released in 2009, did notably less business, or $486 million globally after a $46 million domestic launch. Like Da Vinci Code, the sequel displayed the most firepower abroad, where it earned $352.6 million.
Sony knew the threequel was risky, so spent far less this time out. The first two films cost $150 million to make, while Inferno‘s budget is $75 million net.
Instead of religion, the latest film focuses on the symbology of Dante’s classic about the levels of hell. Langdon and his newfound partner, played by Jones, must stop a sinister billionaire from destroying the world population by unleashing a killer virus.
Heading into the weekend, Inferno was tipped to gross anywhere between $20 million and $30 million in its domestic debut. Any hope of that is fading fast, although Inferno will still win Halloween weekend since its the only new nationwide offering daring to compete with the World Series and holiday parties.
Inferno is projected to take in $6.5 million on Friday, including $800,000 in Thursday-night previews.
So far, the biggest Halloween-themed title this season is Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween, a comedy-horror parody that debuted to a stellar $28.5 million last weekend for Perry and Lionsgate. The movie is projected to place No. 2 after Inferno with $14 million.
Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back looks to come in No. 3 in its second weekend, followed by Ben Affleck’s The Accountant, now in its third weekend.
Universal and Blumhouse Productions’ prequel Ouija: Origin of Evil — the only proper Halloween horror offering this year — is expected to round out the top five. Ouija opened last weekend alongside Jack Reacher and Madea.
Oct. 28, 1:00 p.m. Updated with revised weekend estimates.
Weekend Box Office: Tom Hanks’ ‘Inferno’ Heads for Chilly $18M Opening – Hollywood Reporter