It proved to be a more interesting weekend at the box office than we may have thought heading in, though not for the best of reasons. Doctor Sleep, the latest Stephen King adaptation from Warner Bros., had been poised to win the weekend based on industry estimates. Instead, in a surprise upset, director Roland Emmerich's World War II epic Midway took the top spot with $17.5 million. Meanwhile, the ambitious sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep, took in just $14.1 million and is now expected to lose quite a bit of money for Warner Bros.
Heading into the weekend, box office estimates had Doctor Sleep, which is directed by Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House, Gerlad's Game) bringing in between $25 and $30 million. That number proved to be rather inflated, as general moviegoers weren't interested in seeing what an adult Danny Torrence, played by Ewan McGregor, was up to. While the movie still has a long way to go, it's now expected that the adaptation of Stephen King's 2013 novel of the same name will lose between $20 and $30 million for the studio, depending on how steep the drop off proves to be in the coming weeks. Internationally, the movie has only brought in $20 million so far, so it doesn't look like any sort of bailout is on the way from foreign markets.
It's a perplexing case, in some ways. Doctor Sleep seems to be relatively well-liked by both critics and audiences alike. The movie boasts a 75 percent critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, to go along with an excellent 90 percent audience score. Plus, Warner Bros. scored big with IT Chapter Two earlier this year, which earned $462 million worldwide. Paramount also did quite well with Pet Sematary, which earned $112 million, working from a budget of $21 million. Part of the problem, financially speaking, in the case of Doctor Sleep, is the budget, which is north of $50 million, which doesn't account for the costly marketing campaign.
Elsewhere, Midway came in at the top-end of expectations, which is somewhat promising for the WWII tale. Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) put together $100 million outside of the studio system to make the movie, so it still has a long way to go before it can be considered a success. But this is a decent (ish) start. It will be interesting to see how it plays in international markets as it rolls out in the coming weeks. Playing With Fire, the family-friendly comedy starring John Cena, also did a bit better than expected, coming in at number three with $12.8 million.
This week's other newcomer, Last Christmas which stars Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, brought in $11.6 million. That was a little below estimates, which had it in the $15 million range. But the holiday flick, directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) could have long legs leading up to Christmas. So this one isn't dead in the water yet. Lastly, Terminator: Dark Fate took a nosedive in its second weekend, taking in just $10.8 million. That represents a 63 percent drop from week-to-week, cementing it as one of 2019's biggest bombs. All told, November is off to a rocky start. Be sure to check out the weekend box office results below. Numbers used in this report were provided by Box Office Mojo.