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The Girl On The Train tops US box office as Birth of a Nation flounders

The Girl On The Train

Story by Jack Foley

LITERARY sensation The Girl On The Train has comfortably topped the US box office with a solid $24.7 million.

An adaptation of British author Paula Hawkins’ hit novel and starring Emily Blunt, the murder thriller focuses on a woman who thinks she witnesses a murder while riding on the train.

However, because of her problems with alcohol and her connection to the people involved in the case itself, she doesn’t know if she can trust what she believes she’s seen – and neither can the police.

The film was greeted with indifferent reviews, although most reserved praise for Blunt’s central performance, prompting Universal domestic distribution chief Nick Carpo to comment: “This is a big moment for Emily Blunt, who absolutely carries this movie.”

Overseas, The Girl on the Train took in a further $16.5 million for a healthy global bow of $41.2 million.

In stark contrast to that film’s fortunes, another of the weekend’s higher profile releases in the US, slave drama The Birth of a Nation, opened to a muted $7.1 million.

The film, focusing on the Nat Turner slave rebellion of 1831, was a huge hit at Sundance, prompting early Oscar predictions. But its writer-director and leading man, Nate Parker, has since become embroiled in a controversy over his involvement in a 1999 rape trial, which many box office pundits have blamed for the film’s failure to attract bigger audiences.

However, Oscar contenders aren’t usually box office performers, while another slavery drama released this year, Matthew McConaughey’s Free State of Jones also suffered a torrid time at the US box office, opening to $6.5 million earlier this year.

The top end of the US box office was therefore led by The Girl On The Train and followed by Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which dropped to second in its second weekend, with $15 million for a US total of $51.1 million.

Miss Peregrine’s did, however, win the overseas race, earning another $42.5 million for an early foreign total of $94 million and global total of $145.1 million.

Pete Berg’s Deepwater Horizon fell to third in its sophomore outing, taking $11.8 million for a US total of $38.5 million. The film, starring Mark Wahlberg, earned $10.6 million from 70 markets overseas for a foreign haul of $27.8 million and a worldwide total of $46.3 million.

The Denzel Washington-Chris Pratt Western ensemble The Magnificent Seven rounded out the US top five with $9.2 million in its third weekend for a US total of $75.9 million and worldwide haul of $135.4 million.

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