'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. 

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