December 1, 2019

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 12.1.2019


OPENINGS:  KNIVES OUT (MRC/Lionsgate) scored a victory for non-IP, adult-oriented filmmaking with a strong $27M over the 3-day weekend ($41.7M since Wednesday), and although December box office can be tough to predict, with a plunge expected next weekend and then the arrival of multiple presumptive blockbusters, Knives Out seems to be on track for $85M+ in the US against around $100M in production/worldwide marketing costs,  with the potential to go significantly higher depending on word of mouth.  The film also earned $28.3M in 53 overseas markets, $13.5M of that from China.

QUEEN & SLIM (BRON/Universal) had more modest expectations, and its $11.7M weekend ($15.8M since Wednesday) is considered a moderate win against $60M or so in costs.  It hasn’t yet opened overseas, and $35M in the US may not be enough to bring it to breakeven overall if its international appeal runs short.

HOLDOVERS:  FROZEN 2 (Disney) will be the studio’s latest $1B+ blockbuster.  In the US, it set a Thanksgiving weekend record with $85.3M ($126.3M since Wednesday), down 35% from last weekend and on track for $450M, which would be more than 10% ahead of the first Frozen.  It’s at $451M overseas after a $163.8M weekend in most of the world’s major territories.  Its ultimate worldwide total may be $1.3-1.4B (Frozen‘s total was $1.27B) , placing it among the top 10-15 of all time.

Another pair of non-franchise dramas continued to do solid business.  FORD VS FERRARI (20th/Disney) dropped 16% to $13.2M for the weekend ($19M since Wednesday), and should get past $100M in the US.  As we’ve noted before, however, FvsF was an expensive production, and even with that US result, it will need help overseas for any profit.  It has $63.2M to date outside the US after a $10.2M weekend in 48 territories.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD (Columbia/Sony) slipped just 11% to $11.8M for the 3 day weekend ($17.2M since Wednesday), and is clearly getting favorable word of mouth that could push it past $60M in the US.  It hasn’t yet opened overseas, though, and it isn’t clear how its very American subject matter will fare in other territories.

21 BRIDGES (H Brothers/MWM/STX) fell 37% to $5.8M in its 2nd weekend ($7.9M since Wednesday), on its way to $30M or so in the US.  It has $2.7M in limited international release.

PLAYING WITH FIRE (Paramount) benefited from the family audience available for the holiday, down just 7% to $4.2M in Weekend 4 ($6M since Wednesday), and it may reach $50M in the US, somewhat below the $67.4M for last year’s Instant Family.  It has $6.1M overseas.

MIDWAY (AGC/Bona/Lionsgate) dipped 15% to $4M in its 4th weekend ($5.8M since Wednesday), and could get to $60M in the US.  It’s another pricey venture, and its current $49M overseas total won’t bring it where it needs to be for profit.

JOKER (BRON/DC/Warners) stayed in the Top 10, down 26% to $2M in its 9th weekend ($2.9M since Wednesday), as it continues to head toward $335M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $717.7M.

Long before its titular holiday, LAST CHRISTMAS (Perfect World/Universal) is all but out of gas, down 36% to $2M in its 4th weekend ($2.8M since Wednesday) as it chugs toward $35M in the US, with $36.2M overseas to date.

LIMITED RELEASE:  None of the weekend’s expansions were particularly impressive.  DARK WATERS (Focus/Universal), now in 94 theatres, averaged $6700 over the 3-day weekend.  HONEY BOY (Amazon) widened to 186 and averaged $2100.  WAVES (A24) averaged $3K at 47.  The saddest was PAIN & GLORY (Sony Classics), which averaged just $700 at 152.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The weekend after Thanksgiving is notoriously terrible at the box office, and the only wide opening is PLAYMOBIL: THE MOVIE (STX).  Limited releases include PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (Neon) and THE AERONAUTS (Amazon).



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."