August 27, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Don’t Breathe” Inhales Audiences, “Mechanic” Breaks Down


DON’T BREATHE (Screen Gems/Sony) is the 2d horror movie of the late summer, after Lights Out, to benefit from an effectively marketed premise (monsters in the dark and the quiet) and strong reviews.  According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, Breathe is starting even faster than Lights, with a $10.2M opening day (including $1.9M from Thursday night) compared to $9.2M.  That could get it as high as $24M for the weekend, a terrific result for a thriller that won’t have more than $70M in production/worldwide marketing costs.

None of the weekend’s other openings are nearly as strong.  MECHANIC: RESURRECTION (Lionsgate) notched just $2.6M on its first day (including $400K from Thursday night), and is facing a $6.5M weekend.  That’s significantly below the $3.6M/$11.4M for the 2011 Mechanic reboot, which was a January opening, and will be Jason Statham’s worst start since 2013’s Parker at $2.1M/$7M.

Two of the weekend’s arrivals opted for quasi-wide starts at about 800 theatres.  SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU (Roadside) leads with $1M on Friday and what should be a fair $2.5M+ weekend.  HANDS OF STONE (Weinstein) managed just $600K on Friday and may not top $1.5M for the weekend.  Hands is supposedly expanding to 2000+ theatres on Wednesday, but after such a weak start, if the expansion does occur, marketing costs will probably be shaved to a minimum.

In addition, HELL OR HIGH WATER (CBS/Lionsgate) expanded to semi-wide release at 909 theatres, showing little strength with $950K on Friday and perhaps $3M for the weekend.

SUICIDE SQUAD (RatPac/DC/Warners) lost its weekend crown, but leads the holdovers.  It stabilized somewhat after 2 weeks of free-fall, down 47% from last Friday to $3.2M for a $11M weekend.  By way of comparison, even though Suicide‘s opening weekend was $40M ahead of the Guardians of the Galaxy launch, in Weekend 4, Guardians was at $17.2M, the difference between great and lousy word of mouth.

PETE’S DRAGON (Disney) and KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (Laika/Focus/Universal) are both holding fairly well, but at low numbers.  Pete was down 42% from last Friday to $1.8M, and Kubo fell 51% to $2M, with both heading to $7.3M weekends.  Pete will probably end up at $70M in the US and Kubo at $40M, both requiring strong overseas performance to avoid big losses.  Kubo, notably, is falling faster than Laika’s last release The Boxtrolls, which was down just 44% on its 2d Friday.

WAR DOGS (RatPac/Warners) collapsed by 65% from last Friday to $1.9M, and with a $6.5M weekend, it won’t get much past $40M in the US, a bad number for a not inexpensive project.  Of course, War Dogs looks like a smash compared to BEN HUR (MGM/Paramount), down an ugly 66% from last Friday to $1.4M and headed for a $5M weekend and $30M in the US, drowning in red ink on $200M in production/marketing costs.

SAUSAGE PARTY (Annapurna/Columbia/Sony) is still on track for $95M in the US after a 55% Friday-to-Friday decline for a $7.5M weekend.  The queen of the holdovers remains BAD MOMS (H Brothers/Tang/STX), down just 32% from last Friday to $1.8M, and now likely to cross $100M in the US by the end of Labor Day weekend.

THE HOLLARS (Sony Classics) opened at 4 arthouses and is headed for an unexciting $10K weekend 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."