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Box office hits and misses: Maze Runner sequel sprints ahead of Black Mass and Everest

While it didn’t do as well as its predecessor, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials still managed to win the weekend box office, beating a pair of films likely to be in the Academy Award conversation later this year.

The sequel to last year’s adaptation of James Dashner’s novel The Maze Runner follows a group of teenagers who escape a mysterious, deadly maze, only to face greater dangers in the post-apocalyptic outside world. The film’s $30.3 million opening weekend put it ahead of Johnny Depp’s acclaimed portrayal of Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger in Black Mass, which also opened this weekend, as well as the limited Imax opening for ensemble drama Everest.

The box-office tally for The Scorch Trials was slightly below the $32.5 million opening weekend for the first film, which went on to earn $102.4 million domestically during its run in theaters and an impressive $340.8 million worldwide. Still, the opening-weekend numbers for The Scorch Trials appear to ensure a third (and final) chapter in the franchise will indeed go into production soon — especially when the film’s international box office is factored in, which added another $43.3 million over the last three days.

As for Black Mass, the weekend’s second-place finisher failed to perform the way most box-office pundits predicted, and earned a mere $23.4 million across 3,188 theaters. Directed by Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace), the film was expected to give The Scorch Trials some competition due to the Oscar buzz and positive word-of-mouth that preceded its arrival in theaters, but could still do well in the long run as hype slowly continues to build.

M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller The Visit continued to make a case for the filmmaker’s return to prominence by adding another $11.4 million in its second weekend in theaters. The low-budget film (reportedly made for less than $5 million) had the best opening of any horror movie in 2015 up to this point, and has raked in more than $42.4 million so far with its found-footage chronicle of a trip to grandma and grandpa’s house that goes very, very wrong for a pair of siblings.

After topping The Visit last weekend, stalker thriller The Perfect Guy took a bit of a fall, adding just $9.7 million added to its overall box office. The film, which stars Sanaa Lathan as a woman whose relationship with a charming new man (Michael Ealy) turns into a dangerous obsession, has earned $41.4 million so far.

Universal Pictures’ Everest managed to take fifth place for the weekend despite screening in just 545 Imax and large-format theaters, earning $7.6 million and generating quite a bit of positive buzz ahead of its wide release this upcoming weekend. The mountain-climbing drama has earned rave reviews for its cinematography, and combined with an all-star cast that includes Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emily Watson, and Keira Knightley, the film has a lot going for it as it expands.

It’s worth noting that along with its limited release in the U.S., Everest also enjoyed an impressive international release that added an additional $28.2 million to its worldwide box-office earnings so far. In many countries, Everest finished either just ahead or behind The Scorch Trials for the weekend.

Rounding out the weekend’s top 10 movies were the faith-based drama War Room, which added another $6.3 million to its surprising box-office tally so far, as well as A Walk in the Woods ($2.7 million), Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation ($2.5 million), Straight Outta Compton ($1.9 million), and Grandma ($1.6 million). The aforementioned N.W.A. biopic might be nearing the end of its run in theaters, but its weekend earnings put it in the record books as the most successful film of all time directed by an African-American filmmaker.

Looking ahead to the upcoming weekend, the wide release of Everest is likely to offer some stiff competition for the premieres of the Robert DeNiro comedy The Intern, as well as the family friendly animated sequel Hotel Transylvania 2.