‘The Perfect Guy’ Tops North American Weekend Box Office

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“The Perfect Guy,” a Sony Corp. thriller, led the North American box office in its weekend debut, beating two other new releases, including M. Night Shyamalan’s new horror film.

“The Perfect Guy” brought in $25.9 million in the U.S. and Canada, Rentrak Corp. said Monday in an e-mailed statement. Shyamalan’s “The Visit” and “90 Minutes in Heaven” opened in second and ninth place, respectively.

The results were an upset, since “The Perfect Guy” had been expected to come in second to “The Visit,” according to BoxOffice.com. The thrillers were especially attractive to female moviegoers, who made up 70 percent of the audience of “The Perfect Guy” and 56 percent of the viewers of “The Visit,” Rentrak said.

“This was a great weekend that saw two PG-13 thrillers coming out on top and both were primarily driven by female audiences,” Paul Dergarabedian, Rentrak’s senior media analyst, said in an e-mailed statement.

“The Perfect Guy” is about successful lobbyist Leah Vaughn, played by Sanaa Lathan, who jumps into a passionate relationship with a stranger, played by Michael Ealy, after a painful breakup. When her ex-boyfriend comes back into her life she has to reassess whom she can trust.

“It had solid star power from actors who actively promoted on social media and on TV interviews plus great marketing,” Gitesh Pandya, editor at Boxofficeguru.com, said in an e-mail Sunday.

Topped Expectations

“The Perfect Guy” had been expected to generate $16.2 million, BoxOffice.com said.

“It may be awash in Internet-age fears about surveillance and identity, but at heart, it’s little more than a retrograde B-movie,” Nick Schager, wrote in Variety.

“The Visit” had $25.4 million in sales, topping BoxOffice.com’s forecast of $17.2 million.

Shyamalan’s box-office appeal waned after the Indian-born director scored hits with “The Sixth Sense” and “Signs.” With “The Visit” he returns to the genre that brought him success, though on a much smaller budget.

In “The Visit” a single mother’s life is thrown into turmoil after her two young children visit their grandparents. The film had a budget of $5 million, fully financed by Shyamalan. Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures division acquired it for distribution, according to the studio.

Critical Response

The film scored with critics, with 63 percent giving positive reviews, according to Rottentomatoes.com. That’s the best reception for the director since “Signs” in 2002.

Manohla Dargis, critic for the New York Times, described “The Visit” as a “Hansel and Gretel” redo for the selfie generation.

Shyamalan “has a fine eye and a nice, natural way with actors, and he has a talent for gently rap-rap-rapping on your nerves,” Dargis wrote in the New York Times.

The other new release, “90 Minutes of Heaven,” collected $2 million for distributor Samuel Goldwyn Films, missing BoxOffice.com’s forecast of $3.2 million. It features Kate Bosworth and Hayden Christensen.

Reviewers were disappointed by the drama, with 22 percent giving positive reviews, according to Rottentomatoes.com.

Weekend sales for the top 10 films rose 11 percent to $81.6 million from a year earlier, Rentrak said. Sales for the year to date have increased 6 percent to $7.86 billion.

The following table has U.S. movie box-office figures provided by studios to Rentrak. The amounts are based on actual ticket sales for Sept. 11 to Sept. 13.

                     Rev.    Pct.             Avg./   Total
 Movie              (mln)    Chg. Theaters  Theater   (mln)  Wks
================================================================
 1 Perfect Guy      $25.9     --    2,221  $11,656    $25.9    1
 2 Visit, The        25.4     --    3,069    8,285     25.4    1
 3 War Room           7.8    -18    1,647    4,719     39.6    3
 4 Walk In The Woods  4.7    -42    2,139    2,218     20.0    2
 5 Rogue Nation       4.1    -43    2,649    1,548    188.1    7
 6 Straight Outta     3.9    -55    2,812    1,395    155.5    5
 7 No Escape          2.9    -47    3,022      954     24.2    3
 8 Transporter        2.8    -62    3,434      822     13.5    2
 9 90 Minutes         2.0     --      877    2,321      2.0    1
10 Gallo con Muchos   2.0    -41      616    3,286      6.8    2

Top 10 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $81.6 $73.3 +11

Year-to-date Revenue

2015 2014 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $7,859 $7,416 +6.0 Source: Rentrak Corp.
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