October 7, 2017

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Blade Runner 2049″” Slow, “My Little Pony” & “Mountain Between Us” Moderate


BLADE RUNNER 2049 (Alcon/Sony/Warners) was a high-risk bet, with roughly $300M in production and worldwide marketing wagered on an extremely serious 164-minute sequel to a 35-year old film that only became legendary after it was itself a sizable flop in theatres.  Reportedly, the bulk of that investment rested with Alcon, while Sony (international) and Warners (US) are providing their distribution services for a fee.  The early signs aren’t promising, as Deadline is reporting a $14.1M opening day ($4M of it from Thursday night), which is likely to mean a $35-37M weekend.  Despite many rave reviews, word of mouth may be problematic given the film’s slow pace, and if 2049 only reaches $100M in the US, it will need very strong international returns just to break even.  The good news, though, is that there are no other blockbusters opening until Thor: Ragnarok arrives next month, so if audiences spark to 2049, it could perform much better:  Gone Girl started with a $37.5M weekend in October 2014 after a $13.2M Friday, and reached all the way to $167.8M before it was done, and The Martian and Gravity had similar legs.

MY LITTLE PONY (Lionsgate) is aimed squarely at little children, so $3.1M on Friday wasn’t bad, and with weekend matinee business, it could reach $11M for the weekend.  It owns the family market for the rest of the month.

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US (20th) didn’t get much momentum out of its Toronto Film Festival premiere, and reviews were no more than passable.  So $3.5M on Friday for a $10M weekend is unexciting, but not surprising.

VICTORIA & ABDUL (Focus/Universal) expanded to quasi-wide release at 732 theatres and performed well, with $1.2M on Friday and a likely $4M weekend.  That’s much better than last week’s expansion of BATTLE OF THE SEXES (Fox Searchlight) to 1213, where it earned $1.1M on Friday and $3.4M for the weekend.  Battle, meanwhile, expanded some more, now in 1822 theatres, but at $700K on Friday and a $2.5M weekend, its per-theatre average is quite low, down about 50% from last week.

None of last weekend’s openings held well.  AMERICAN MADE (Cross Creek/Universal) fell 61% from last Friday to $2.4M, for a $8M weekend, which may leave it unable to hit $50M in the US, which would make it Tom Cruise’s lowest-grossing mainstream vehicle since the beginning of his career.  FLATLINERS (Cross Creek/Columbia/Sony) fell 52% from last Friday to $1M, and with a $3.5M weekend, it may not get to $20M in the US.  TILL DEATH DO US PART (Novus) and A QUESTION OF FAITH (Pure Flix) both fell over 50% to around $200K on Friday, and will have $600-700K weekends.

The king of the holdovers is once again IT (RatPac/New Line/Warners), down 46% from last Friday to $2.7M, for a $9.5M weekend that will put it over $300M in the US by Sunday, with a fair amount of gas left in the tank.  KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE (MARV/20th) dropped 53% Friday-to-Friday to $2.3M, heading for a $8M weekend and a US total that seems like it won’t get to $100M, a 30% drop from The Secret Service, which will make the film’s upcoming opening in China critical.  THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE (Warners Animation) dipped 37% from last Friday to $1.7M, for a $7M weekend that may still leave it below $60M in the US.

The notable limited opening of the weekend is THE FLORIDA PROJECT (A24), which is poised for a fair $27.5K weekend per-theatre average in 4 NY/LA arthouses.


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."