February 18, 2018

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 2/18/2018


OPENINGS:  Disney is the land where dreams come true, but not even their wizards could have imagined the scale of BLACK PANTHER (Marvel/Disney), which has crashed through all expectations–not just as a big-budget action film that exists almost completely in an African universe, but as a solo character superhero debut in general.  Current studio estimates have Panther‘s 3-day opening at $192M, with expectations of $217M by Monday (and a general feeling that those numbers may be conservative).  Even at that level, the result is spectacular, with the 3-day gross at #5 among all US openings (#2 for Marvel behind only the original Avengers, with 2 Star Wars movies and Jurassic World the others ahead).  In addition, because Marvel movies rarely open on holiday weekends, there’s the possibility that with Monday included, Black Panther could slip past Avengers‘ $226.3M for the biggest 4 days of any Marvel movie ever.  Among other things, the Black Panther numbers disprove the conventional wisdom that African-American audiences show up in droves on opening night and then disappear, as the 13% Saturday decline is 1% better than the Day 2 drop for The AvengersBlack Panther is also way above pre-release estimates overseas, with $169M in 48 markets (this includes some midweek openings) that don’t yet include China, Russia or Japan.  Black Panther seems to be on a road for $1B+ worldwide, which at worst would make it Marvel’s #5 title, and easily its most successful character introduction, smashing past Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s $880.2M.  (It’s only fair to note, though, that there are still some markets where the film’s identity may be holding it back, as for example in Germany and Italy, where the 2nd weekend of 50 Shades Freed held the lead.)

Nothing but crumbs were left for the weekend’s other openings.  The extremely British animated comedy EARLY MAN (StudioCanal/Lionsgate) managed $3.2M ($4M with Monday) and may not get past $10M in the US, while the Christian-aimed SAMSON (Pure Flix) didn’t even find much of its target audience at $2M ($2.5M by Monday).

HOLDOVERS:  It was possible to counterprogram against Black Panther, as PETER RABBIT (Sony Animation/Columbia/Sony) dipped 31% to $17.3M ($21M with Monday), and should reach an OK $85M in the US.  Somewhat surprisingly, it hasn’t yet opened in the UK and has a tiny foreign paw-print thus far.

50 SHADES FREED (Perfect World/Universal) fell 56% to $16.9M (which should become $19M on Monday) on par with the 57% Weekend 2 drop for 50 Shades DarkerFreed is running 12% below Darker, and if that holds, Freed may hit $100M in the US.  Overseas, Freed is at $190.8M, gunning for Darker‘s $266.5M.

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (Columbia/Sony) and THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (20th) continued their remarkable runs in their 9th weekends.  Jumanji slipped just 21% to $7.9M ($10M by Monday) in the face of Black Panther‘s huge competition, and seems to have enough juice to reach $400M in the US, while overseas it’s at $527M after a $4.8M weekend.  Greatest Showman was also down 21% in the US, to $5.1M ($6.5M with Monday) as it heads to $170M, and overseas it’s at $185.7M.

THE 15:17 TO PARIS (Village Roadshow/Warners) dropped a moderate 39% to $7.7M ($9M with Monday), but it still won’t get much higher than $40M in the US.  It also has $10.7M overseas after a $2.8M weekend in 27 territories.

THE MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE (20th) slumped by 59% to $2.5M ($3M by Monday) as it heads to $60M in the US, down 25% from the last installment.  Overseas, it’s at a much more robust $205.2M, hoping to get near Scorch Trials‘ $312.3M.

WINCHESTER (CBS/Lionsgate) fell 57% to $2.2M ($2.5M with Monday), on its way to $25M in the US.

THE POST (DreamWorks/Reliance/Participant/20th) topped the Best Picture nominees with a 46% drop to $2M ($2.5M with Monday), as it continues toward $80M in the US.  It also has $15M overseas after a $1.3M weekend in 17 markets.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The Chinese New Year brought a pair of that country’s blockbusters to the US for non-blockbuster runs, with DETECTIVE CHINATOWN 2 (Warners) at 115 theatres with a $5900 weekend per-theatre average, and MONSTER HUNT 2 (Lionsgate) at 69 with a $4900 average.  (In China, those films are respectively at $154.7M and $190M.)  DOUBLE LOVER (Cohen) opened at an oddly wide 48 theatres with a $1400 average.  A trio of newcomers opened at 3 theatres each, with THE PARTY (Roadside) averaging $12K, LOVELESS (Sony Classics) averaging $10K, and NOSTALGIA (Bleecker Street) averaging $6900.  FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL (Sony Classics) expanded to 107 theatres with a $1200 average.  A FANTASTIC WOMAN (Sony Classics) widened to 29 and averaged $3K.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The new titles that will now have to face off against a 2nd giant weekend from Black Panther (probably $75M at least) include sci-fi thriller ANNIHILATION (Paramount), comedy GAME NIGHT (Warners), and YA romance EVERY DAY (Orion).  Limited releases include THE YOUNG KARL MARX (The Orchard).



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."