October 1, 2017

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 10.1.2017


OPENINGS:  We won’t really know the order of the weekend’s closely-bunched Top 3 movies until final numbers are released tomorrow, but since the default position of any studio with a new opening is to claim victory, the fact that AMERICAN MADE (Cross Creek/Universal) is currently in 2nd place with $17M can’t be a good sign.  The film only got that high thanks to a 6% Saturday bump, which indicates good word of mouth but also suggests how old Tom Cruise’s audience is these days.  Assuming the $17M number holds, it’ll be, apart from the Christmas-week opener Jack Reacher (which had a huge holiday multiple), the lowest start for one of his wide starring releases since Lions For Lambs in 2007, and before that, Jerry Maguire when the world was very different in 1996.  Usually Cruise’s movies look overseas for their profit, but American Made is sluggish there as well, earning only $64.7M after a month of almost worldwide release.  With at least $150M in production/marketing costs, it’s hard to see how American Made can make any profit.

Cross Creek reportedly bore the entire production cost for American Made, but it only kicked in about $5M (25% of the budget) for FLATLINERS (Cross Creek/Columbia/Sony), which was wise.  The remake was deader than its characters at $6.7M, and it may not reach $20M in the US.  It had a slow overseas start as well, with $3.1M in 21 territories.

TILL DEATH DO US PART (Novus) opened in a barely-wide 582 theatres, aimed strictly at African-American audiences, but had little appeal with a weekend per-theatre average of $2800 for a $1.6M total.

Similarly, A QUESTION OF FAITH (Pure Flix) had a 661-theatre opening for Christian audiences, but averaged just $1600 and totaled $1.1M.

HOLDOVERS:  IT (RatPac/New Line/Warners) regained–at least for today–the top spot at the US box office with a 42% dip to $17.3M, as it heads to a US total that might reach $325M.  Overseas is hot as well, with $262M after a $35.6M weekend.  The only small bump is that because of its horror content, it may not get a release in China, but even so, it’s a fantastically profitable venture for Warners.

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE (MARV/20th) slumped quickly, down 56% in its 2d weekend to $17M, worse than the 49% Weekend 2 drop for The Secret Service–and even worse than that looks, because Secret Service was coming off a Presidents Day holiday weekend.  Golden Circle seems to be heading for $100M in the US, which would be 28% below Secret ServiceGolden Circle is doing better internationally, with a total of $126.2M after a $50.5M weekend (sparked by South Korea) in 77 markets that don’t include China (Secret Service‘s biggest territory).  Golden Circle may get near Secret Service‘s $414.4M worldwide total, but it would be weighed more heavily toward the international box office, which gives a lower return to the studio, making the franchise only moderately profitable.

THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE (Warners Animation), the only family movie around, held well with a 41% Weekend 2 drop.  However, that was still just $12M, and the US total may only get to $60-70M, far below the $257.8M/$175.8M of its predecessors.  Its overseas release is still young, with $22.7M so far.

BATTLE OF THE SEXES (Fox Searchlight) had a merely OK expansion to wide release (1213 theatres) at $3.4M, a per-theatre average that was barely above Flatliners.  It’s going to be difficult for Searchlight to hold theatres through awards season unless Battle can demonstrate strong word of mouth.

AMERICAN ASSASSIN (CBS/Lionsgate) continued to look doubtful as a franchise, down 47% in Weekend 3 to $3.3M, and heading for $40M in the US.  It’s at $12.2M in early overseas release.

STRONGER (Roadside) increased its theatre count by 10% (to 645) but still fell 39% for a weekend below $1M and an unimpressive $1500 per-theatre average.

LIMITED RELEASE:  VICTORIA & ABDUL (Focus/Universal) expanded strongly to 77 theatres with a $13K average, hitting its mark with its target audience.  BRAD’S STATUS (Annapurna) slumped badly with a 58% Weekend 2 drop and a per-theater average under $900.  LUCKY (Magnolia) had an OK start, averaging $9K at 5.  MARK FELT: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE (Sony Classics) was less OK, with a $7K average at 5.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The big arrival is BLADE RUNNER 2049 (Alcon/Sony/Warners), which is riding a wave of 96% approval at Rotten Tomatoes.  It will be counterprogrammed by THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US (20th) and MY LITTLE PONY (Lionsgate).  Limited releases include film festival favorite THE FLORIDA PROJECT (A24).

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."