August 28, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 8/28/16


OPENINGS:  DON’T BREATHE (Screen Gems/Sony) had an unusually strong Saturday for a horror movie, down just 1% from Friday (which, remember, these days includes Thursday night).  By way of comparison, Lights Out fell 22% on its 2d day of release.  That propelled Don’t Breathe to an exceptional $26.1M weekend, the biggest opening for a horror non-sequel this summer.  With a sub-$10M production budget and a restrained marketing campaign, this will be a very profitable piece of business for the studio.

MECHANIC: RESURRECTION (Millenium/Summit Premiere/Lionsgate) should have stayed dead, with a $7.5M weekend (which may go lower in final numbers, since it assumes a very strong Sunday).  That’s at least 35% below 2011’s Mechanic reboot.  Early international returns aren’t promising either, with $6.1M in 20 territories, but Resurrection is loaded with Asian characters and locations for strategic reasons, so it may perk up in those areas.

HELL OR HIGH WATER (CBS/Lionsgate) expanded to semi-wide release at 909 theatres, and did fairly well with $3.7M (a $4100 per-theatre average).  With a $8.6M total, it’s not quite a sleeper yet, but it has the potential to get to $20M+.

SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU (Roadside) had a pleasing start with $3.1M at 813 theatres (a $3800 average).  Reportedly the low-budget Obama rom-com is backed by a $10M marketing commitment, so the question will be whether it can build over the next several weeks.

HANDS OF STONE (Weinstein) was the loser among this group with $1.7M at 810 theatres (a $2100 average), and it will be interesting to see if next week’s planned expansion goes forward, and if the Weinsteins continue spending money on its marketing.

HOLDOVERS:  SUICIDE SQUAD (RatPac/DC/Warners) is still running out of road faster than Guardians of the Galaxy (down 42% in Weekend 4 compared to 32%), but it has stabilized somewhat with a $12.1M weekend (Batman v Superman plunged 61% in its 4th weekend), and now seems as though it may have enough punch to crack $300M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $353.1M after a $19.6M weekend in all major territories except Japan, and will pull past Man of Steel‘s $377M, although it won’t come close to BvS‘s $542.3M (which included $95.8M from China, where Suicide Squad won’t play).  Nothing’s changed for DC/Warners:  they’re earning profits, at least for now, but at some point they need to make a movie people actually like.

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (Laika/Focus/Universal) and PETE’S DRAGON (Disney) are in paralle places, both benefiting from solid but not spectacular word of mouth, at levels too low for much (if any) profit.  Kubo fell 37% in ts 2d weekend to $7.9M and is heading toward $40M in the US, putting it $10M below Laika’s The Boxtrolls, which slipped just 31% in its own 2d weekend.  Pete was down 36% in Weekend 3 to $7.3M, on its way to $70-75M in the US.  Both are just getting started overseas, respectively at $2.7M (in 15 markets) and $21.5M (in 23).

SAUSAGE PARTY (Annapurna/Columbia/Sony) fell 51% to $7.7M, and may not quite reach the $101.5M total of This Is The End, although it will be close.  That’s still a great result for one of the summer’s riskiest propositions.  It’s early days overseas at $8.7M.

WAR DOGS (RatPac/Warners) dropped 51% to $7.3M, and won’t get much past a money-losing $45M in the US, with an overseas total of $14M so far ($5.3M this weekend from 41 territories) that won’t help.  On the other hand, it looks like a champion next to BEN-HUR (MGM/Paramount), an outright disaster after a 59% fall to $4.5M.  It may only get to $30M in the US, and its overseas $21.8M ($6.3M this weekend from 35 markets) won’t come close to saving it.

JASON BOURNE (Perfect World/Universal) is the latest Hollywood title to be grateful to China, where it notched a $50M opening this weekend.  In the US, it was down 35% to $5.2M, and should end up at $160-170M, while its international total is now at $198.5M (the full overseas weekend was $56.8M).  It should end up in the same worldwide territory as Bourne Ultimatum‘s $442.8M, although skewed more to overseas–and with less profit, since China allows studios to retain less of the gross.

FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (Paramount) is continuing to run parallel to last year’s Ricki and the Flash, down 32% this weekend to $3M and heading to $25M.

BAD MOMS (H Brothers/Tant/STX) keeps selling tickets, down just 28% in its 5th weekend to $5.8M, and with $100M dead ahead.  Things are less exciting overseas, though, where it’s at $28.7M after a $6.3M weekend in 46 territories.  Still, this is a genuine success story.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Several expansions this weekend yielded OK results.  DON’T THINK TWICE (Film Arcade), now in 150 theatres, had a $3100 per-theatre average.  EQUITY (Sony Classics) widened to 255 with a less impressive $1400 average.  A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS (Focus/Universal) averaged $4700 at 26.  The only notable opening was THE HOLLARS (Sony Classics), averaging an unexciting $11.5K at 4.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Labor Day is the one holiday when people stay away from the movies, and consequently the studios don’t try very hard.  Historical soap THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (DreamWorks/Disney) is mostly notable because it marks the end of DreamWorks as a live-action studio, with Steven Spielberg having taken his Amblin production company to Universal.  MORGAN (20th) is sci-fi/horror with a mildly enticing cast (Kate Mara, Paul Giamatti, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Anya Taylor-Joy from The Witch).


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."