August 21, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 8/21/16


OPENINGS:  The weekend’s tallest dwarf was WAR DOGS (RatPac/Warners) with a soft $14.3M start.  The 12% Saturday drop indicates that word of mouth isn’t great, and early international numbers are weak as well, with $6.5M in 31 markets.  War Dogs cost $125M+ in production and worldwide marketing, and it seems likely to add to Warners’ 2016 woes.

Despite rave reviews, KUBO AND THE 2 STRINGS (Laika/Focus/Universal) had the lowest start of any Laika production at $12.6M, below ParaNorman‘s $14.1M.  Even with a 4x multiple, that won’t get Kubo far in recouping $125M or so in production/marketing costs.  In a year top-heavy with giant animated hits (several of them not as high-quality as Kubo), it seems a film dense with Japanese-influenced mythology and origami-themed animation was too esoteric for the multiplex crowd.  Kubo has barely started overseas, with $900K in 8 markets.

Praise from Glenn Beck and other right-wingers did nothing for BEN-HUR (MGM/Paramount), which could only reach $11.4M in its opening weekend.  (That number might creep to $12M if post-church Christians show up this afternoon.)  It’s an awful result for a production that cost something like $175M in production/marketing, and there’s little hint that international audiences will save the investment after a $10.7M weekend in 23 markets.

HOLDOVERS:  The good news for SUICIDE SQUAD (RatPac/DC/Warners) is that it managed to slightly outpace the third weekend of Batman v. Superman, down 52% instead of 55%.  However, Squad is quickly running out of steam at $20.7M, and is still heading for around $290M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $310M after a $38M weekend in virtually every major market except Japan, and is likely to end up at $650-675M worldwide, which at best will leave it at the bottom of 2016’s top 10 by the end of the year.  It’s not the final (profitable) box office number that will cause Warners angst, but the trajectory, another DC epic that started big and alienated viewers once they actually saw the movie.

SAUSAGE PARTY (Annapurna/Columbia/Sony) dropped 55% to $15.3M in its 2d weekend, a merely OK hold.  (This Is the End slipped 36% in Weekend 2, although that wasn’t quite apples to apples since it had a Wednesday opening.)  It may end up closer to $90M in the US than $100M, still a great result for a crazy project that cost only $20M to produce.  Overseas, it’s still early days at $6M.

PETE’S DRAGON (Disney) seemed to benefit mildly from word of mouth, down 47% to $11.3M.  That isn’t going to get it much higher than $60-65M in the US. and even with relatively low costs for a Disney film, it’s likely to lose money.  It’s at $14.2M overseas after a $5.7M weekend in 17 markets.

BAD MOMS (H Brothers/Tang/STX) can lay claim to the title of sleeper of the summer, down an impressive 29% in its 4th weekend to $8.1M.  Moms looks like it’s going to hit $100M in the US, not that far below the female-driven Ghostbusters (winding down at $124M), which cost 7x as much to produce and probably twice as much to market.  Moms also has $20.6M overseas after a $3.3M weekend in 33 territories, with the UK opening this week.

JASON BOURNE (Perfect World/Universal) continues to plod along, down 42% to $8M and on its way to $155M in the US.  It opens in China this week, and will hope that juices up its current $137.9M international total, which includes $11.3M this weekend.

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (Illumination/Universal) will hit $350M in the US this week, down just 36% in its 7th weekend to $5.8M.  It’s also a blockbuster overseas, currently at $327.8M after a $45M weekend in 53 markets that was sparked by a tremendous $19.5M opening in Russia.

STAR TREK BEYOND (Skydance/Huahua/Alibaba/Paramount) is counting the days until its China opening and praying that helps, because in the US it’s at $146.9M after a 42% drop to $4M, and overseas it’s at a sad $84.2M after a $11.3M weekend.

The most reliable audience these days is the aged, and FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (Paramount) dipped just 35% in its 2d weekend.  That’s actually not quite as strong as the 31% drop for last year’s 2d weekend of Ricki and the Flash, and Florence may end up a bit behind Ricki at around $25M in the US, still a decent return for a moderate investment.

LIMITED RELEASE:  HELL OR HIGH WATER (CBS/Lionsgate) is nudging up to wide release with an expansion to 472 theatres, which went well, giving the neo-western a $2.7M weekend and a $5600 weekend per-theatre average.  INDIGNATION (Roadside) added 50 theatres for a total of 317 and a mild $1700 average.  DON’T THINK TWICE (Film Arcade) is at 100 theatres after an expansion by 30 and had a $4K average.  EQUITY (Sony Classics) had a $3300 average after widening by 13 to 43.  Natalie Portman’s A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS (Focus/Universal) had a $18K average at 2 theatres in NY and LA, but that number was swollen by Q&As with the star/director.

NEXT WEEKEND:  HANDS OF STONE (Weinstein) brings Robert DeNiro back to the boxing genre, this time as a trainer.  DON’T BREATHE (Screen Gems/Sony) is for the horror crowd, and THE MECHANIC: RESURRECTION (Summit/Lionsgate) features Jason Statham doing Jason Statham things.  Several Sundance titles begin limited release:  THE HOLLARS (Sony Classics), SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU (Roadside), and COMPLETE UNKNOWN (IFC).

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."