The Girl on the Train pulled into the station with a $24.7 million opening, a solid result despite the fact that the mystery debuted when most of the US southeast was being pummelled by Hurricane Matthew.

Its success is a shot in the arm to DreamWorks, which optioned the Paula Hawkins’s bestseller about an alcoholic woman (Emily Blunt), who must piece together a mysterious disappearance. The company has suffered a string of duds in recent years, most recently shouldering the twin duds of The BFG and The Light Between Oceans.

Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation was not as fortunate, premiering to a disappointing $7.1 million across 2,105 theatres. The biopic about slave rebellion leader Nat Turner was a sensation at the Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered to a rapturous standing ovation and sold to Fox Searchlight for a record-shattering $17.5 million. But the release was derailed after rape allegations against Parker and his The Birth of a Nation co-writer Jean Celestin resurfaced. Both men were accused of assaulting a college classmate over a decade ago. Though they were ultimately acquitted of those charges, news broke this summer that their accuser had committed suicide in 2012. The ensuing controversy overshadowed the strong reviews and may have hurt the film’s Oscar chances.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us