With A $15 Million Weekend, ‘American Assassin’ Hits Its Target

Dylan O'Brien also stars in the action thriller from Lionsgate/CBS Films.

$15 million may not seem like much in the movie world, but with an investment of only $33 million, it’s a “great start,” according to Forbes contributor Scott Mendelson. American Assassin had just that this weekend, coming out as the biggest opening film this week. Starring Dylan O’Brien, Taylor Kitsch, and Michael Keaton, this action film was directed by Michael Cuesta and runs a little less than two hours.

Mitch Rapp (O’Brien) came from an affluent family. But, he was fourteen-years-old when his parents were killed in an auto accident. That set him on the path of disciplinary problems, which caused him to be kicked out of three boarding schools. Then, just when he asked his girlfriend, Katrina, to marry him, terrorists attacked the Ibiza beach they were on and killed Katrina.

After watching his girlfriend die, Mitch became obsessed with the terrorist group involved in the attack, especially its leader. He became a weapons and martial arts expert, intent on hunting down the terrorist group. He learned the Arabic language and set off to track down the killers. That caught the eye of the CIA. There, Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) became intrigued with Mitch and decided that he could be an asset to the U.S. government.

Mitch Rapp becomes a trained assassin in the action thriller by Lionsgate/CBS Films.

The story traces Mitch’s history and shows his path to becoming an expert CIA killer. How he becomes the mentee of Stan Hurley (Keaton). Hurley shows him how to become a trained assassin.

In a race against time, the movie’s plot is standard action movie fare. An action-packed first half-hour sets the stage for a save-the-world thrill-packed finale. Fifteen kilos of weapons-grade plutonium has been stolen and it’s up to Mitch and Stan to find the villains. There are only 48 hours to find the perpetrators or there will be a nuclear attack.

Michael Keaton stars as ex-Navy SEAL, Stan Hurley.

The film, released by Lionsgate and CBS Films, came in behind It. But, with its low-budget status, the box-office proceeds it needs to become profitable are much less than some higher budget action films. However, American Assassin may not reach the profits of It. With $218.7 million of earnings to-date on a $35 million budget, according to the L.A. Times, It has become a money maker for Warner Bros. Future weeks will determine just how profitable American Assassin becomes.

[Featured Image by Sarunyu L/Shutterstock]