May 21, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Angry Birds” Fly Higher Than “Captain America,” “Neighbors 2″”


THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE (Rovio/Sony) is keeping the momentum going at the early summer box office, with a preliminary Friday, per Deadline, at $11M.  That’s almost exactly the same opening day as Sony’s Hotel Transylvania, which had a $42.5M weekend and ended up at $148.3M in the US and another $210.1M overseas.  It’s too soon to know if Angry Birds will have as leggy a run (it faces Alice Through The Looking Glass next week in a battle for family eyeballs), but it has that potential.  For Sony, this is just a piece of business, as reportedly it’s a distributor-for-hire, and would pocket a fee of around $10M if Angry Birds reaches $150M in the US, with Rovio putting up all the production/marketing budget (around $175M) and reaping any profits.

It’s not clear if Angry Birds will have the appeal to become a franchise, but NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING (Universal) is probably the last of its kind.  It’s off to an awful start with $7.6M on Friday, down over 60% from the $19.6M opening day for the first Neighbors just 2 years ago.  That means a weekend that might not hit $20M, and perhaps a $60M US total..  Its costs are relatively low as summer movies go, but that’s still a fairly total audience renunciation.  The buzz is that Seth Rogen’s R-rated animated comedy Sausage Party is likely to be a sleeper, and after this opening on the heels of the $9.9M opening weekend for last year’s The Night Before, Rogen will need that to stay on the A list.

The diminishing value of movie stars is even clearer with THE NICE GUYS (Warners), an out and out flop with a $3.8M Friday and a likely $10M weekend despite the presence of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.  As always, a moderate production budget doesn’t make up for an expensive marketing campaign, and Nice Guys won’t come close to earning back its costs.  After this and Inherent Vice, Warners might want to stay away from retro-1970s comedy-thrillers.

Holdovers, of course, were led by CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (Marvel/Disney), which continues to run parallel to and slightly below Avengers: Age of UltronCivil War dipped 54% from last Friday to $9M, compared to a 53% drop for Ultron on its 3rd Friday to $10M.  Civil War might hit $35M for the weekend, which would leave it just under $350M in the US (Ultron was at $372M at the parallel point), and on track for a $430M US total.  Worldwide, Civil War has passed $1B and should earn another $200M or so.

THE JUNGLE BOOK (Disney) is holding on in the face of new competition, down just 32% from last Friday to $2.8M, with a $12M weekend ahead, on its way to a US total that will exceed $350M.

The strength of appealing to an older audience is supposed to be a longer run with smaller weekly declines, but that’s not working out for MONEY MONSTER (TriStar/LStar/Sony), which took a heavy 61% Friday-to-Friday hit to $1.9M, and may not achieve $7M for the weekend.  It’s unlikely to get much past $40M in the US, probably not even equal to its marketing costs.

THE DARKNESS (Blumhouse/High Top/Focus/Universal) did what low-budget horror movies do in their second weekends, down 69% from last Friday and headed for a $2M weekend and perhaps a $12M US total.  Supposedly its thrifty economics allow for some level of profit at that amount.

All of the limited release openings and expansions were unremarkable, with a likely $10K weekend per-theatre average for MAGGIE’S PLAN (Sony Classics) at 5 theatres, $7K for WEINER (IFC) at 5, $12.5K for THE LOBSTER (A24) at 24, and $11K for LOVE & FRIENDSHIP (Amazon/Roadside) at 47.


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."