February 5, 2017

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 2.5.17


OPENINGS:  It’s still too soon to gauge whether RINGS (Paramount) can creep its way to breakeven with international help (total production/marketing costs are $75M+), but it’s certainly not performing well enough to justify a continuation of the franchise.  In the US, its $13M weekend estimate is below the $15M opening of the original US The Ring in 2002, and there’s no chance at all that the new incarnation will have anything like the multiple that gave The Ring a $129.1M US total.  Overseas, Rings is in 35 markets, where it had a mediocre $15.2M start.

The various investors and distributors of THE SPACE BETWEEN US (H Brothers/STX) will determine who bears the bulk of the movie’s losses, but someone will certainly be paying the bill, as Space opened to a pathetic $3.8M on around $75M in worldwide costs.

THE COMEDIAN (Sony Classics) had no business opening in 848 theatres, with the marketing commitment that implies, after Robert DeNiro failed to get an Oscar nomination, and its $1.1M start will get it precisely nowhere.  It joins The Bronze, I Saw The Light, Truth and The Diary of a Teenage Girl among recent Sony Classics releases that misguidedly went into wide release.  (Some of these may have been contractual requirements.)

HOLDOVERS:  SPLIT (Blumhouse/Universal) is holding extremely well for a horror movie, down 43% in its 3rd week of release (and #1 for the 3rd consecutive weekend) at $14.6M, putting it within a hair of $100M, with plenty of gas in the tank.  It also has $44M overseas after a $14.6M weekend in 41 territories, and is going to be one of the year’s more profitable productions in proportion to its modest costs.

A DOG’S PURPOSE (Amblin/Reliance/Walden/Universal) dipped 41% for the weekend to $10.8M, and it may get past $50M in the US.  Its international campaign is rolling out gradually with $9.6M so far.

HIDDEN FIGURES (20th) became the highest-grossing Best Picture nominee with a 28% drop to $10.1M, putting it at $119.4M in the US.  (The international run has barely begun with $2.8M.)  It’s already a big moneymaker, and still has a dark horse chance of capturing the Oscar.

Of course, it would have to get past LA LA LAND (Summit/Lionsgate), which is right behind in the US at $118.3M, but falling faster with a 39% drop to $7.5M.  La La‘s overseas run is much more advanced, and with a $20.1M weekend in 72 markets that include most of the world (but not China or Japan), it’s at a remarkable $150M.

RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER (Screen Gems/Sony) was always understood to be a mostly international play, and nothing that’s happened in the US will change that:  it fell 67% to $4.5M for the weekend, and may not get to $30M.  Overseas, things are much stronger, with a $95.6M total after $16.5M in 57 territories, and as those grosses keep rolling in, it should be enough for modest profit.

SING (Illumination/Universal) is still selling tickets, down 36% for the weekend to $4.1M.  It will likely be dented by next weekend’s The LEGO Batman Movie, but it’s already overperformed, notably $20M ahead of the US total for Moana, even though that film has had 4 extra weeks in theatres.  Overseas, Sing is at $224.1M (below Moana‘s $311.3M).

LION (Weinstein) rode its Best Picture nomination into an expansion to 1405 theatres, where it earned $4M for a $24.7M running total.

XXX: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE (Paramount) is another franchise entry aimed internationally for the most part. In the US, it fell 57% to $3.7M and probably won’t reach $50M.  But overseas, it’s at $112.4M after a $12.4M weekend in 61 markets, not yet including China.  However, XXX cost considerably more than Resident Evil to produce, so its profitability is less clear.

GOLD (Weinstein) had no momentum, down 58% in its 2d weekend to $1.5M, unlikely to hit $10M in the US.

LIMITED RELEASE:  I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO (Amazon/Magnolia) had a fine start with a $16.5K per-theatre average in 43 theatres that included some arthouses and some more mainstream venues.  Asgar Farhadi’s brilliant THE SALESMAN (Cohen), whose Oscar chances may be boosted by travel policy issues, expanded to 46 with a $5100 average.  TONI ERDMANN (Sony Classics), still in only 24 theatres despite its Oscar nomination, averaged $4300.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The box office will be completely different with the arrival of a trio of franchise installments:  THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (Warners Animation), FIFTY SHADES DARKER (Universal), and JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2 (Lionsgate).  The highest-profile limited release is A UNITED KINGDOM (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."