August 14, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 8/14/16


OPENINGS:  The SAUSAGE PARTY (Annapurna/Columbia/Sony) audience was somewhat frontloaded, with a 16% Saturday decline, but the weekend total of $33.6M was still outstanding, the best starring debut for Seth Rogen since the original Neighbors, and higher than the $33M 5-day opening for This Is The End (which opened on a Wednesday).  There’s certainly nothing else like the one-of-a-kind Party in the market, and although a bit of its young male audience may opt for War Dogs next weekend, word of mouth should be solid, and using This Is The End‘s 3x multiple of its opening 5 days as a model, Sausage Party could hit $100M in the US.  With a bare-bones $20M production budget and moderate marketing, this should be a very profitable success for the producers and studio, especially if the animated angle gives it more international appeal than This Is The End‘s $24.6M.  Sausage has $2.6M at the start of its overseas release.

PETE’S DRAGON (Disney) had a very modest $21.5M start, and despite generally favorable reviews, it seems unlikely to reach beyond the family audience–which will also have Kubo and the Two Strings to see next weekend. Dragon didn’t cost much by Disney standards, perhaps $175M for production and worldwide marketing, but it may have a hard time getting past breakeven.  It’s just begun its international rollout, and has a quiet $5.1M from 12 territories.

FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (Paramount) was on the lower end of Meryl Streep’s August openings with $6.6M.  That’s the same as last year’s Ricki and the Flash, which ended up with $26.8M, although the period piece Florence is more in the Streep audience’s wheelhouse, which may get it to $30M or so, a perfectly decent result for a prestige title but far below the $63.5M for Hope Springs or the $94.1M for Julie & Julia.

HOLDOVERS:  It wasn’t exactly a surprise that the wheels came off SUICIDE SQUAD (RatPac/DC/Warners) with a 67% drop in its 2d weekend.  Warners can console itself that this is slightly better than the 69% plunge for Batman v Superman (which had Good Friday as part of its opening 3 days), but it’s still far worse than the drops for Guardians of the Galaxy (55%), Deadpool (57%), or Captain America: Civil War (60%).  It was also steeper than the 65% fall for Man of Steel, and even the 65% for X-Men:Apocalypse, which was coming off Memorial Day Weekend.  Using BvS as a guide, Suicide Squad is likely to get to $280-290M in the US.  Things aren’t prettier overseas, especially since Suicide apparently won’t get a China release.  It’s at $242.5M after a $58.7M weekend in 62 markets (Germany and Japan are still to come, which together were worth $35M to BvS).  Its worldwide total will likely be around $650M, enough for a decent profit, but marking another failure by DC/Warners to establish itself as a genuine rival to Marvel/Disney even as the quality of its brand takes another hit.

JASON BOURNE (Perfect World/Universal) stabilized with a 39% Weekend 3 drop to $13.6M, putting it in line for an unexciting $150-160M in the US.  Overseas it’s at $119.4M after a $18.6M weekend in 59 markets.  That doesn’t include China, but Bourne is still unlikely to get much beyond $350M worldwide, about 20% behind 2007’s Bourne Ultimatum.

BAD MOMS (H Brothers/Tang/STX) is shaping up as a genuine sleeper, down just 18% in its 3rd weekend to $11.5M.  It has a chance of getting as high as $100M in the US if it can hold onto its theatres, a terrific result for a movie whose total production/marketing costs may not be much higher than that.  Its early overseas number is $13.6M.

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (Illumination/Universal) wasn’t hurt by Pete’s Dragon, down a mere 23% to $8.8M for the weekend, and still on its way to $350M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $256.7M after a $40M weekend, which about one-third of the world still to open.

Like Jason Bourne, STAR TREK BEYOND (Skydance/Huahua/Alibaba/Paramount) had a good hold now that it’s too late to mean much, with a 32% drop to $6.8M in its 4th weekend.  Its US total is still unlikely to exceed $160M, and it’s at $71.5M overseas.  Although it’s still expanding internationally, it’s hard to see much chance for profit on $325M in production/marketing costs.

NINE LIVES (Europa) fell 45% to $3.5M, with a death shelter $20M US total in its future.

LIMITED RELEASE:  HELL OR HIGH WATER (Lionsgate) had an OK start with a $18.5K weekend per-theatre average at 32.  ANTHROPOID (Bleecker Street) opened much more broadly, at a near-wide 452 theatres, and sparked little excitement with a $2700 average.  INDIGNATION (Roadside) expanded to 267 with a modest $3K average.  EQUITY (Sony Classics), now in 30 theatres, averaged $4800.  LITTLE MEN (Magnolia) expanded beyond NY, and saw its average fall to $5500 at 9.

NEXT WEEKEND:  BEN-HUR (MGM/Paramount) will try to thread the needle between historical action epic and Christian inspirational message.  As previously noted, KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (Focus/Universal) is aimed at the family audience, and WAR DOGS (Warners) is an R-rated comedy, albeit one with a political edge thanks to its story about young arms dealers.  Natalie Portman’s directing debut A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS (Focus/Universal), which had its film festival debut a year ago, will enter limited 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."