September 4, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 9/4/16


OPENINGS:  THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (DreamWorks/Reliance/Participant/Disney) brings to an ignominious end the distribution relationship between DreamWorks and Disney.  Their final shared title disappointed on every level, with a $5M 3-day weekend that might become $6M on Monday, and no chance of recouping its costs.  Even though the weak reviews, length and period setting worked against it, it’s worth noting that Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander are supposed to be among the “hottest” new stars around, and not even social media panting after their private lives sold any tickets, which says something about the state of movie stardom in 2016.

MORGAN (20th) was a cheaper but even more complete disaster, earning a pathetic $2M over the 3-day weekend (in 520 more theatres than Light), and perhaps another $500K on Monday.  The news wasn’t any better overseas, where it earned $1.4M in 24 markets.  Fox knew what it was doing when it buried this one on Labor Day weekend.

HOLDOVERS:  The new flops were good news for DON’T BREATHE (Screen Gems/Sony), the weekend’s easy winner with $15.7M (close to $20M by Monday), down a horror-movie-terrific 40% from last weekend over the 3-day span.  (It’s also at $8.6M overseas after a $5.3M weekend in 14 territories.)  It should have the stamina to reach $75M in the US.

SUICIDE SQUAD (RatPac/DC/Warners) has stabilized amid the late-summer failures, down just 18% over the 3-day weekend to $10M ($13M by Monday).  Word of mouth is still keeping it behind where Guardians of the Galaxy was at this point on its run (down less than 1% over Labor Day weekend to $17.1M, despite an opening weekend that was $39M below Suicide‘s), but it will nevertheless top $300M in the US by Monday or Tuesday.  Overseas, it’s at $375.5M after a $11.8M weekend all over the world except Japan (where it opens next week) and China (where it won’t have a run).

PETE’S DRAGON (Disney) and KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (Laika/Focus/Universal) continue to chug along, respectively down 13% and 18% to $6.5M for the 3-day weekend (add another $2M to each for Monday).  Neither, however, is much of a success, likely to get to $80M and $50M in the US.  Dragon is now in 26 overseas markets, where it’s at $28.2M after a $3.3M weekend, and Kubo is at $5.4M after a $1.7M weekend.

In a different realm of animated fantasy, SAUSAGE PARTY (Annapurna/Columbia/Sony) is still pushing for a $100M US total.  It declined 30% over the 3-day weekend to $5.3M and should reach $6.5M including Monday, which will put it at about $90M.  It’s still in just 17 international markets, where its total is $14M after a $4.6M weekend.

BAD MOMS (H Brothers/Tang/STX) crossed a milestone with a $102.5M US total after a 15% drop to $4.7M, which should get to around $6M including Monday.  That’s a great result for a moderately-priced project, although international is more subdued with a $37.7M total after a $5M weekend in 50 territories.

WAR DOGS (RatPac/Warners) fell 33% to $4.7M for the 3-day weekend ($6M including Monday) and is unlikely to hit $50M in the US.  MECHANIC: RESURRECTION (Millenium/Summit Premiere/Lionsgate) dropped 43% to $4.3M ($5.5M including Monday) and may not get to $25M in the US.

HELL OR HIGH WATER (CBS/Lionsgate) expanded by 394 theatres to 1303, which gave it a 27% increase from last weekend (to $4.5M, which should get to $6M by Monday), the 2d best per-theatre average of any film in wide release.  The question is whether it can get past a middling $25M US total.

STAR TREK BEYOND (Skydance/Huahua/Alibaba/Paramount) is more or less done in the US at $154.3M after an 8% increase to $2.5M for the 3-day weekend.  But this was the week it cashed in its China co-producer chips, giving it a fair $31.3M (its international total for the weekend was $37M, and it’s played everywhere except Japan, Argentina and Mexido).  That puts it at $131.1M overseas, and since China is a fast-burning market, it’s not going to get near Star Trek Into Darkness‘s $238.6M international total.

HANDS OF STONE (Weinstein) collapsed, falling 25% from last weekend (to $1.3M) despite adding 1201 theatres for a total of 2011.  SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU (Roadside) held badly, down 53% from last weekend to $1.4M even with a 10% increase in theatres to 897.

LIMITED RELEASE:  NO MANCHES FRIDA (Pantelion/Lionsgate) found a Spanish-language audience with $3.7M in 362 theatres, with an extra $1M likely on Monday.  However, that’s considerably below the $7.8M earned by another Pantelion/Lionsgate release, Instructions Not Included, when it opened at 348 theatres on Labor Day weekend in 2013.  The weekend’s expansions were moderate at best:  A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS (Focus/Universal) with a $1900 average at 66 theatres, THE HOLLARS (Sony Classics) averaging $4400 at 23, and MIA MADRE (Music Box) averaging $2700 at 18.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Hollywood is wasting no time in jumping to awards season, with Clint Eastwood’s SULLY (RatPac/Village Roadshow/Warners) leading the way.  The weekend also includes the animated THE WILD LIFE (Summit/Lionsgate) and two thrillers:  THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM (Relativity) and WHERE THE BOUGH BREAKS (Screen Gems/Sony).

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."