March 5, 2017

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 3.06.2017


OPENINGS:  LOGAN (TSG/20th) was in full control of the weekend at $85.3M, and the most impressive part of that may be the 5% Saturday drop, an even better hold than Deadpool‘s 10% and the 12% for The Wolverine, let alone the 22% for the last X-Men movie.  That suggests excellent word of mouth, and although Logan faces heavy competition over the next few weeks, it could end up as high as $250M in the US, which would make it the highest-grossing entry in the X-Men universe other than DeadpoolLogan also started with a $152.5M leap overseas, although comparisons are difficult because films have different release patterns:  Deadpool, for example, never had a China run, and X-Men: Apocalypse didn’t open there until Week 2, while Logan, which earned $46.3M from China this weekend, is essentially playing worldwide (except Japan).  It’s too soon to tell whether Logan can flirt with the worldwide totals of Deadpool ($783.1M) or X-Men: Days of Future Past ($747.9M), but in any case it’s a huge hit, the #5 R-rated opening of all time in the US behind Deadpool, The Matrix Reloaded, American Sniper and The Hangover Part II.

THE SHACK (Lionsgate) provided effective counterprogramming with a $16.1M opening (and that number, if anything, may be underestimated by its studio considering the number of people who go to inspirational movies after church on Sunday).  That’s better than the $14.8M for Miracles From Heaven, which reached $61.7M in the US.

Other attempts to counterprogram Logan were less successful.  The YA Groundhog Day BEFORE I FALL (Open Road) proved that one death was enough with $4.9M, unlikely to recoup its roughly $25M in production/marketing costs.

TABLE 19 (Fox Searchlight) was barely on the marketing radar, presumably because Searchlight was obligated to give it a national run and had decided that there was no point in waiting more money than absolutely necessary.  Its $1.6M from 869 theatres will put it in home release very soon.

HOLDOVERS:  Although the big numbers this weekend belong to Logan, the most exceptional performance may belong to GET OUT (QC/Blumhouse/Universal), which defied the conventions of the horror genre by falling just 22% in its 2d weekend (to $26.1M)–and against blockbuster competition, no less.  Compare that to the 47% drop for The Conjuring, or even the 29% for Insidious, two recent hits that spawned franchises.  It’s also much better than the 36% drop for Split a few weeks ago.  Get Out seems to be on track for $125M in the US, a huge profit on worldwide costs that might not reach $75M.  In the bigger picture, since movie studios go where the money is, one wonders if we’re going to get a spate of socially conscious horror films over, let’s say, the next 4 years.

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (Warners Animation) fell 39% to $11.7M, and might get to $170M in the US, about 35% below The Lego Movie.  Overseas, it’s at $108.2M after a $10.4M weekend in 60 markets that included a blah $3.6M opening in China.  LEGO Batman is running out of territories (Australia and Japan are still to come, which contributed around $30M to The LEGO Movie‘s $211.4M foreign total), and while it will certainly be profitable at a $325M worldwide ultimate, Warners may have been too quick to go all-in on the franchise.

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 (Summit/Lionsgate) dropped 50% to $4.7M, and will probably end its US run at $90-95M.  Overseas, it’s at $61.5M after a $5.9M weekend almost everywhere in the world except for Italy, Spain and Australia.  The first John Wick made its real financial mark in post-theatrical revenues, and the full picture on the sequel won’t really be known until those come in, although the results should be successful enough to keep the franchise going on a modest level.

THE GREAT WALL (Legendary/Universal) kept zooming down in the US, down 62% to $3.5M and groping for $50M.  Reports have estimated losses at $75M despite the $171M earned in China, because of $300M or so in costs and lukewarm reaction not just here, but in the rest of the world, where it’s at $108.9M after a $6.5M weekend with just Japan to come.

FIFTY SHADES DARKER (Universal) fell 55% to $3.5M in the US, and will end up at $115-120M, 30% below Fifty Shades of Grey.  The franchise makes its money overseas, but even there, it’s at $242.6M after a $10.7M weekend in most of the world except Japan (a negligible territory for Grey), and that’s likely to end up at least 30% below Grey‘s $404.8M.

Despite its ultra-dramatic Best Picture win and a near-tripling of its theatre count, MOONLIGHT (A24) had an Oscar bump that only totaled $2.5M, giving it a per-theatre average of $1600 that was still below the weekend averages for HIDDEN FIGURES (20th) ($2400) and LA LA LAND (Summit/Lionsgate) ($2100).  Moonlight is unlikely to get much past $30M at the US box office, and still hasn’t arrived overseas.  The numbers are much bigger for the films it vanquished:  Figures slipped 34% to $3.8M in the US for a running total of $158.8M, plus $36.2M in early overseas release; while La La Land dropped 37% for $3M and a $145.7M US running total, plus a remarkable $250.7M overseas after a $11.1M weekend in just about all of the world.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE LAST WORD (Bleecker Street) had a mediocre start at 4 theatres with a $8900 average despite in-theatre Q&As.  A UNITED KINGDOM (Focus/Universal) remained unexciting with an expansion to 271 theaters that gave it a $2300 average.  THE SALESMAN (Cohen) got some mileage from its Foreign Film Oscar win, widening by about 20% to 115 theatres and increasing from last weekend by 65% for a $2300 average.  A couple of Oscar also-rans expanded, with MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI (GKids) at 29 theatres with a $1500 average, and LAND OF MINE (Sony Classics) at 20 with a $2000 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  With Logan poised for a strong 2d weekend, and Beauty & the Beast just 2 weekends away, will KONG: SKULL ISLAND (Warners) be March’s odd blockbuster out?  The studio is certainly worried about the possibility, and has been spending marketing dollars on the CG spectacle like it’s a summer tentpole.  Its good news is that it faces no mainstream competition for the weekend.  Limited releases include PERSONAL SHOPPER (IFC) and THE SENSE OF AN ENDING (CBS/Lionsgate).



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."