September 30, 2017

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “American Made,” “Kingsman 2” & “It” Duel For #1


There’s going to be a crowd at the top of the box office this weekend, but there’s not much good news in it for anyone.  According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, AMERICAN MADE (Cross Creek/Universal) took Friday with $6M (almost $1M of it from Thursday night), which should give it a $15-16M weekend.  However, at that number, aside from the Christmas-season (i.e, huge multiple) opening of Jack Reacher, it will be the worst wide start for a Tom Cruise starring vehicle since the glorified indie Lions For Lambs 10 years ago.  Combine that with the paltry $59.5M American Made has earned after a month of international release, and the worldwide prospects seem very like the $162.1M for Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, which killed off that franchise for Cruise.  This isn’t good news for Cruise after the hugely disappointing box office for The Mummy, although of course Cruise has a Mission: Impossible scheduled for 2018 to halt the slide.  One other note:  reportedly Cross Creek shouldered the entire production cost for American Made (it’s not clear who’s paying for the marketing), so Universal has limited risk here.

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE (MARV/20th) is quickly collapsing, down 68% from last Friday to $4.9M, far worse than the 49% Friday-to-Friday drop for The Secret ServiceGolden Circle is headed for a $16-17M weekend, below the 2d weekend for Secret Service (despite a bigger opening), and not likely to get much above $100M in the US, which would be close to a 30% drop.  If the international results are similar, Kingsman would quickly become a marginal franchise.

IT (New Line/Warners) is at the same level as Kingsman, with $4.8M on Friday (down 46% from last week) and a likely $16-17M weekend, but of course It is already a blockbuster hit after 4 weeks in the market, on its way to $310M or so in the US.

THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE (Warners Animation) fell heavily, down 56% from last Friday to $2.6M, for a $11-12M weekend.  It isn’t in a league with the other LEGO movies, which registered Friday-to-Friday drops of 25% for the first LEGO Movie, and 49% for LEGO BatmanNinjago may not get past $65M at the US box office, which means it will have to overperform internationally just to break even.  (The other LEGO movies made less than 50% of their worldwide totals overseas.)

FLATLINERS (Screen Gems/Sony) might as well have been wrapped in a burlap sack and thrown into theatres, considering how hard Sony worked to keep critics away from it–understandably, given its 0% Rotten Tomatoes score.  Audiences weren’t fooled, and it earned $2.2M on Friday, and will live up to its title with a $5-6M weekend.  This wasn’t a micro-budgeted production, and tens of millions may be lost.

BATTLE OF THE SEXES (Fox Searchlight) had a disappointing expansion to 1213 theatres, with $1.1M on Friday for a $3.5-4M weekend.  That will give it around a $3000 per -theatre average for the weekend, suggesting limited wide appeal.  (The weekend may not be far off Seachlight’s $4.1M for the 1061-theatre expansion of Wild, but that was another Christmas movie, and the film stayed at that level or above for 3 straight weeks as it rolled into Oscar season.)

TILL DEATH DO US PART (Novus) opened in 550 theatres, aimed at the African-American audience, and caused little stir with a $450K Friday for a $1.5M weekend.

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."