'Don't Breathe' is box office champ as 'Light Between Oceans' struggles

The horror movie released in August has overpowered new releases. Why did 'Light Between Oceans,' based on a bestselling book and stars two popular actors, have trouble at the box office?

Davi Russo/Dreamworks II/AP/File
'The Light Between Oceans' stars Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender.

The horror movie “Don’t Breathe” again kept many audience members in suspense this past weekend as the film came in first place again at the box office, staying ahead of new movies such as the literary adaptation “The Light Between Oceans” and the science fiction film “Morgan.” 

“Don’t,” which stars Stephen Lang as a violent blind man who is the victim of an attempted robbery, was released on Aug. 26 and came in first at the box office last weekend as well. It took in more than $15 million over the long Labor Day weekend.

Meanwhile, the comic book movie “Suicide Squad,” released in early August, came in second place, grossing $10 million, followed by the family movie “Pete’s Dragon,” another August release, that grossed more than $6 million. 

The animated movie “Kubo and the Two Strings” placed fourth, grossing more than $6 million this past weekend, while the animated comedy “Sausage Party” took in more than $5 million this past weekend. Both movies had opened in August.

New releases “The Light Between Oceans” and “Morgan” placed sixth and seventh, grossing $5 million and $2 million respectively in their opening weekend. 

“Oceans” is based on a bestselling novel by M.L. Stedman and stars Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, critically acclaimed actors that are most likely known to audiences. So why didn’t “Oceans” perform better? 

Indiewire writer Tom Brueggemann writes that “Oceans” is most likely a film suited for adult moviegoers but that there are several other projects aimed at that audience.

“Led by ‘Hell or High Water,’ which is turning into a significant sleeper for CBS Films and Lionsgate, [‘Oceans’] is competing against several similar films,” Mr. Brueggemann wrote. “’Southside With You,’ despite its drop, is competing among romance-oriented audiences, ‘Bad Moms’ is peeling away more females, and Meryl Streep’s ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ took in another $2 million.”

Meanwhile, USA Today writer Bryan Alexander notes that “Oceans” received mixed reviews and only a 60 percent critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which may have kept some moviegoers away. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.