December 8, 2019

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 12.8.2019


OPENINGS:  DARK WATERS (Focus/Universal) expanded into wide release at 2012 theatres, and emerged with a mild $4.1M.  (By comparison, Focus’s previous release Harriet opened at 2059 with an $11.7M weekend.)  Its lack of awards traction thus far suggests that it’s going to have a hard time building any momentum for a run through the holiday season.

PLAYMOBIL: THE MOVIE (STX) made the kind of mark no studio wants, the fourth-worst opening of all time at over 2000 theatres (and only $10K ahead of #3, so stay tuned for finals).  STX was a distributor for hire, so the reported $75M production budget won’t hit its books, but it will lose whatever it spent on marketing.

WAVES (A24) widened to the low edge of wide release at 570 theatres with an unpromising $700 per-theatre average and $420K weekend total.  It also seems to be under-delivering in awards consideration, which will probably doom it at the box office.

JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL (Columbia/Sony) doesn’t hit the US until next weekend, but it’s opened in 18 international markets with $52.5M, a number that isn’t as good as it might sound because those markets included China, where it was soft with $23.5M, considerably behind that country’s $39.2M opening for the 2017 Jumanji.  We’ll find out soon whether that’s a sign of genuine trouble.

HOLDOVERS:  FROZEN 2 (Disney) faced no real competition in its 3rd weekend, but still dropped 60% to $34.7M, steeper than the 55% post-Thanksgiving drop for Ralph Breaks The Internet, the 46% for Coco, and the 50% for Moana.  That suggests a US total that may be closer to $425M than $450M.  That would still be higher than the first Frozen‘s $400.7M, however, and Frozen 2 continues to thrive overseas, where it’s at $582.1M after a $90.2M weekend.  Worldwide, Frozen 2 will pass $1B next week.

KNIVES OUT (MRC/Lionsgate) had a solid hold, down 47% from the holiday weekend to $14.2M, and could well pass $100M in the US.  It’s also working overseas, where it’s at $60.6M after an $18.7M weekend in 68 territories, with a few major markets like Germany and Japan still to come.  Considering its moderate costs, it should be solidly profitable down the line.

FORD VS FERRARI (20th/Disney) dipped 50% to $6.5M in its 4th weekend, and is also on target to pass $100M in the US (although with significantly higher costs than Knives Out).  Overseas, it’s at $76.5M after an $8.3M weekend in 52 territories that don’t yet include China or Japan.

QUEEN & SLIM (BRON/Universal) notched the best weekend hold in the Top 10, down 45% to $6.5M, and possibly on its way to $45M in the US.  It will still need some international success to hit profit, and hasn’t yet opened outside the US.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD (Columbia/Sony) dropped 56% to $5.2M in its 3rd weekend, and although it may reach $55M in the US, it seems to be getting lost in the shuffle of adult-oriented late fall openings, with no awards attention beyond a Supporting Actor nod for Tom Hanks.  It has yet to open overseas.

21 BRIDGES (H Brothers/MWM/STX) lost 48% to $2.9M in its 3rd weekend, on its way to perhaps $35M in the US.  It has $2.7M in limited overseas release.

PLAYING WITH FIRE (Paramount) fell 53% to $2M in its 5th weekend, on its way to $50M in the US.  It’s earned $7M overseas.

MIDWAY (AGC/Bona/Lionsgate) dropped 51% to $1.9M in its 5th weekend, and may get to $60M in the US.  That isn’t enough to get it anywhere near profit, and it doesn’t appear to be strong enough internationally either, with $54.7M to date.

JOKER (BRON/DC/Warners) tenaciously stayed in the Top 10, down 47% to $1M in its 10th weekend as it nears $335M in the US.  It has $722.8M overseas.

LIMITED RELEASE:  PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (Neon) opened at 2 NY/LA arthouses with an OK $34K weekend per-theatre average.  HONEY BOY (Amazon) widened to 460 theatres and didn’t reach a $1000 per-theatre average.  (Note that Amazon isn’t releasing box office numbers for The Report or The Aeronauts, which have had truncated theatrical runs before moving to the company’s streaming platform.)  63 UP (Britbox) averaged $11K at 2.

NEXT WEEKEND:  As noted, Jumanji: The Next Level arrives in the US, joined by RICHARD JEWELL (Warners) and BLACK CHRISTMAS (Blumhouse/Universal).  In addition, BOMBSHELL (Lionsgate) and UNCUT GEMS (A24) will begin limited runs before going wide for the holidays, and A HIDDEN LIFE (Fox Searchlight/Disney) starts its more traditional limited release.




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."