December 2, 2017

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Coco” Stays On Top, “Wonder” Solid, “3 Billboards” & “Lady Bird” Expand


There were no new wide releases on this pre-holiday, pre-Last Jedi weekend, so all the action was in holdovers and limited releases.  According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, COCO (Pixar/Disney) easily retained its crown with a $6.3M Friday.  That was down 67% from last week’s holiday Friday, better than the drops for Moana (70%) and Tangled (73%) on the parallel days.  Coco is on track for a $27M weekend and a $225M US total.

JUSTICE LEAGUE (RatPac/DC/Warners) fell 71% from last Friday to $4.8M, slightly better than the 73% drop for last year’s Fantastic Beasts on the parallel day.  It’s on its way to a $17M weekend, and a $250M US total, which considering its gigantic cost keeps it teetering on the edge of red ink as we wait for international results on Sunday.

WONDER (Participant/Walden/Lionsgate) continues to be the word of mouth favorite, down just 56% from last Friday to $3.9M.  With a $14M weekend, it could reach $125M in the US, which may make it more profitable on a percentage basis than any of the blockbusters surrounding it.

THOR: RAGNAROK (Marvel/Disney) dropped 63% to $2.5M, for a $9M weekend.  It should get to $310M in the US, 20% more than Justice League on probably 25% lower costs.

In their 4th weekends, DADDY’S HOME 2 (Paramount) and MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (20th) are on parallel tracks, both with $2.1M Fridays (down about 60% from last Friday) for $7.5M weekends, and both still hoping to reach $100M in the US.  Orient Express cost less, though, and currently is also thriving overseas with $126.2M as of last weekend.  (Daddy’s 2 has just started overseas, but the first in the series earned $92.4M outside the US on a much bigger domestic total.)

THE STAR (Affirm/Sony) continued to eat Coco‘s scraps, down 65% from last Friday to under $1M, with a $4M weekend ahead and a $35-40M US total.

A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS (H Brothers/STX) held well, down 39% from last Friday to $1.1M, although it’s still losing steam to a $3.5M weekend and perhaps $75M in the US.  That would be down 34% from the first Bad Moms domestically, but the sequel is doing better overseas.

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS (Bleecker Street), at 674 theatres, dropped 48% from last Friday to around $250K, and is still a bit player, with a weekend that may not hit $1M.

Turning to the awards hopefuls, a pair of them expanded to mainstream release.  3 BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (Fox Searchlight), now at 1430 theatres (more than doubling last week) had a $1.4M Friday and could reach $5M for the weekend.  That’s roughly double the $2.5M The Theory of Everything earned at 1220 theatres, on its way to $35.9M in the US.

LADY BIRD (A24) expanded to 1194 theatres (up about 50% from last week) with a $1.2M Friday and a $4M weekend, just about the same per theatre as Billboards.  So far, Lady Bird has been more favored by critics groups, which may help keep it leggy through the holidays.

ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ (Columbia/Sony) stayed at 1669 theatres and fell 66% from last Friday to $600K.  It won’t get much beyond a $2M weekend, for a faint per-theatre average.  If Denzel Washington can’t score nominations from the SAG Awards or the Golden Globes next week, it may be done.

THE DISASTER ARTIST (A24) was the weekend’s splashiest arrival, heading for an impressive $50K per-theatre weekend average in a wider than usual 19-theatre limited release.  By way of comparison, last weekend Darkest Hour averaged $44K at only 4 theatres.

THE SHAPE OF WATER (Fox Searchlight) went in the other direction, opening at only 2 theatres in NY (both heavily boosted with in-theatre Q&As), which makes its likely $75K weekend per-theatre average big but not overwhelming.

Despite its own Q&As, WONDER WHEEL (Amazon) is finding few takers at 5 NY/LA theatres, on its way to a lousy weekend $20K per-theatre average.  That would be worse than the $25K opening weekend average of Woody Allen’s 2015 Irrational Man at 7 theatres, and that film only managed a $4M US total.  (It’s worth noting, though, that Allen’s international following is so strong that even that film earned $23M outside the US, possibly enough to make it profitable on his low budgets.)

Last week’s limited openings stayed put at 4 theatres each.  CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Sony Classics) seems to be having an impressive hold with a $75K Friday, although it’s hard to be sure because the studio didn’t report daily box office last week.  If it reaches $265K for the weekend, that would be down just 35% from last week for a $65K per-theatre average.  DARKEST HOUR (Focus/Universal) was a bit more rickety with $22K on Friday, heading for a 55% drop from last week to a merely OK $20K per-theatre average.


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."