July 26, 2015

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 7/26/15


OPENINGS:  PIXELS (Columbia/Sony) isn’t the first Adam Sandler movie to approach a $90M production budget–incredibly, the first Grown Ups reportedly cost that much–but as his audience shrinks, it becomes more difficult to justify a greenlight for him at that level.  Pixels is reporting a very mild $24M weekend in the US (that number assumes a strong Sunday hold, so it may very well dip tomorrow when finals are announced), which points toward a US total that may not get past $70M.  The early signs overseas aren’t any better:  in 56 markets, Pixels took in $21.4M (it’s at $25.4M with a few early openings a week ago), and although that doesn’t include many of the major markets like China, it hardly suggests a bonanza is in store.  At this point, Sony can only hope to make its way to breakeven, probably not too upset that Sandler is taking his talents to Netflix.

SOUTHPAW (Wanda/Weinstein) had a solid $16.5M start (although that number also assumes an extremely strong Sunday).  It’s an audience-pleaser, and at a much more human scale than the big-budget adventures on the way over the next few weeks, so it could hold well into August.  One interesting footnote:  the production budget for  Southpaw was financed by the Chinese media company Wanda Pictures (Weinstein is on the hook for marketing costs), even though the film has no specifically Asian content.  It’s something we’re likely to see more of, especially since the Chinese investment will qualify the film for a higher studio retention of box office receives in China than US films receive.  (Pixels also has some Chinese funding, but not on the same scale.)

PAPER TOWNS (20th) demonstrated the risks of films aimed at the young female demo.  It opened decently on Friday with $6.3M (beating Southpaw), but then plunged a horrible 45% on Saturday, leaving it with a $12.5M weekend total.  Towns is an inexpensive production, so if it sparks any international interest (it earned $8M this weekend in 37 markets, and is at $16M after a few earlier openings), it could hit a small profit, but nothing to compare with last year’s The Fault In Our Stars.

MR. HOLMES (Miramax/Roadside) expanded into semi-wide release by almost doubling its theatre count to 686.  Despite the big expansion, its weekend result was only up 17% to $2.8M, which gave it a so-so $4200 per-theatre average.  Nevertheless, Mr. Holmes has the potential to get to $15M+, which would be a fine result for a low-cost production with limited marketing costs and a niche audience.

HOLDOVERS:  ANT-MAN (Marvel/Disney) took the US weekend title with $24.8M.  That’s a 57% drop from last week, worse than the 47% for the original Thor but better than the 61% for the original Captain AmericaAnt-Man is at $106.1M in the US, and looks to be headed for $150M, which would put it ahead of The Incredible Hulk‘s $134.8M, but behind all the other titles Marvel includes in its self-contained Universe.  Overseas, Ant-Man had a $35.4M weekend in 48 territories, giving it a $120.4M total, and although that doesn’t include major markets like China, Japan and Italy, it seems clear that it will be a (perhaps suitably) smallish success by Marvel standards.

MINIONS (Illumination/Universal) continues to fall fast in the US, down 55% to $22.1M.  It’s still on track for $300M in the US, which will put it in the all-time animation Top 10, but seems unlikely to beat Inside Out as the top animated feature of the summer.  Overseas, though, Minions is doing wonderfully, with a $44M weekend that sent it to $497.8M, and in 60 markets that don’t yet include Italy, China, Japan or Korea.

TRAINWRECK (Universal) held very well, down 43% to $17.3M, and still with a chance of reaching $100M.  That hold is better than the 46% Weekend 2 drop for Spy, although not the equal of Knocked Up‘s 36%, let alone Bridesmaids‘ 20%.  Its international release is just getting underway.

The box office weekends for INSIDE OUT (Pixar/Disney) and JURASSIC WORLD (Legendary/Universal) are still closely tied, with Inside down 36% to $7.4M, and Jurassic down 40% to $6.9M.  They’re not close in terms of totals, of course, as Jurassic has just passed the original Avengers to be the #3 film at the US box office ever with $623.8M (and after a $10.7M international weekend, the #3 worldwide with $1.54B), while Inside has to content itself with aiming at the #2 Pixar mark in the US (currently Finding Nemo with $339.7M, not counting its 3D re-release).  Inside is still in the midst of its gradual overseas release, with a $28.3M weekend in 51 territories (not yet including China, Italy or Germany) that puts it at $229.8M.

LIMITED RELEASE:  IRRATIONAL MAN (Sony Classics) expanded to 28 theaters with a sub-par $9300 average.  That’s below the $11.4K average Magic In the Moonlight had at 65, and far below the $24K average for To Rome With Love at 29, and it suggests this Woody Allen title may not hit $10M in the US, for the first time since You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger in 2010.

NEXT WEEKEND:  VACATION (Warners) will try to get a jump on audiences with a Wednesday opening, but the weekend proper will certainly belong to MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION (Skydance/Paramount), the only question being how its opening will compare to previous MissionsTHE END OF THE TOUR (A24) and THE BEST OF ENEMIES (Magnolia) will begin arthouse 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."