November 17, 2019

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 11.17.2019


OPENINGS:  FORD VS. FERRARI (20th/Disney) had a strong start with $31M, and will hope to extend its run through the holidays and into Oscar season based on its initially older-skewing audience and excellent reviews and exit polls.  The only caution is that FvF was pricey for a non-IP project, with around $200M in production/marketing costs, so it’s still a long way from profitability.  The overseas launch at $21.4M in 41 markets (not including China, where a release hasn’t yet been approved) was more subdued.

It’s been a tough month for the major studios, with underperformances from Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Terminator: Dark Fate and Doctor Sleep, but CHARLIE’S ANGELS (Perfect World/Columbia/Sony) took the poison cake with a wretched $8.6M opening.  Sony reportedly saw what was coming and slashed its late-stage marketing, but costs will still exceed $100M, and most of that will be lost, with the US likely contributing little more than $25M to the ultimate total.  Overseas was a bit better with $19.3M in 26 territories, but those included China, so there’s limited upside ahead.

The wide, comparatively expensive release for the elderly-skewing THE GOOD LIAR (BRON/New Line/Warners), as opposed to a more restrained platform strategy, is something of a mystery, but with a $5.7M weekend, it didn’t work, yielding a weekend per-theatre average even lower than the one for Charlie’s Angels.  The film also opened in 12 international markets with $1.2M.

HOLDOVERS:  MIDWAY (AGC/Bona/Lionsgate) fell 51% to $8.8M, and may manage to pass $50M in the US, which will still leave it far from its $150M in costs.  It’ snot getting much help thus far overseas, where it’s at $38.2M after a $5.3M weekend in 36 territories.

PLAYING WITH FIRE (Paramount) enjoyed its final pre-Frozen 2 weekend, down just 33% from last week’s premiere to $8.6M, and on its way to $45M in the US.  It’s in only 11 overseas markets so far, where it’s at $4.5M after a $1.3M weekend.

LAST CHRISTMAS (Perfect World/Universal) dropped 41% to $6.7M, and may reach $40M in the US.  It has $13M overseas after an $8.6M weekend in 21 territories, about 40% of the weekend total coming from its opening in the UK.

DOCTOR SLEEP (Warners) fell 56% to $6.2M, and may have to stretch to hit $40M in the US.  Things are no better overseas, where it’s at $28.8M after a $5.2M weekend in 71 markets.

JOKER (BRON/DC/Warners) is now the only R-rated film to break $1B worldwide, and it isn’t quite done yet.  In the US, it lost 39% to $5.6M in its 7th weekend, and may get past $335M.  Overseas, it’s at $694M after a $13M weekend in all major territories except China.

MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL (Disney) dropped 38% to $5.2M in its 5th weekend, and could hit $120M in the US, depending on how it holds up to its home-grown competition from Frozen 2.  It’s much bigger overseas, with $353M after an $11.8M weekend.

HARRIET (Focus/Universal) continued to impress, down 35% to $4.8M, and likely to earn over $40M in the US, with plenty of potential awards season upside.  It hasn’t yet opened overseas.

TERMINATOR: DARK FATE (Skydance/Tencent/20th/Disney/Paramount) fell 59% to $4.4M, unlikely to get much past $65M in the US.  It’s bigger overseas with $176.8M after a $10.6M weekend in 53 markets, but that won’t get it out of red ink on its tentpole-level costs.

JOJO RABBIT (Fox Searchlight/Disney) increased its theatre count by about 20% to 995, and dropped 30% to $2.8M as it settles in for what it hopes will be an awards season run.

LIMITED RELEASE:  WAVES (A24) debuted with a fair $36K per-theatre weekend average at 4 NY/LA arthouses.  HONEY BOY (Amazon) expanded to 17 with an OK $12K average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  As noted, the box office will be dominated by FROZEN 2 (Disney).  Counterprogramming will come from the action drama 21 BRIDGES (STX), and the older-skewing awards hopeful A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD (Columbia/Sony).  Limited releases include DARK WATERS (Focus/Universal).

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."