It’s shaping up to be a close race at the box office this weekend, and with the result likely to come down to performance on Sunday, we may not know the winner for sure until final numbers are issued on Monday. HIDDEN FIGURES (20th) was the clear winner on Friday, with preliminary numbers at Deadline putting it at $8M after an expansion from 25 to 2471 theatres. The question is whether the historical drama’s older and more family-driven audience will lead it to be less frontloaded than a typical opening, especially on Sunday, giving it a multiple for the weekend that could bring it to $24M.
At that number, it would be strongly competitive with ROGUE ONE (Lucasfilm/Disney) and SING (Illumination/Universal). Rogue One was in 2d place on Friday with $6.2M. Notably, that was up about 60% from Thursday, while on the first Friday after New Year’s in 2016, The Force Awakens climbed 80%, suggesting that Rogue One may be running out of gas faster. Rogue One should be at about $479M in the US by Sunday, and at its current rate, it may end up closer to $530M than $550M–which will still make it 2016’s biggest US release, just a little less remarkable than it initially seemed. Far more important for the franchise is this weekend’s opening in China, which based on early numbers at Variety is looking soft with $10.4M on Thursday night and Friday.
Sing is still very much in the weekend race as well. It earned $5.2M on Friday and should have the weekend’s strongest multiple, bringing it to $22-23M. That will keep it on track for an ultimate $250M+ in the US.
The first true opening of 2017, as is often the case, is a low-rent horror thriller, in this case UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS (Screen Gems/Sony), which had a $5M Friday, far below any other opening day of the franchise (they range from $8-10.2M). It’s headed for a $13M weekend, also the worst of the franchise, and becomes 2017’s first film to need big overseas help to earn back its production/marketing costs (around $100M in this case).
LA LA LAND (Summit/Lionsgate) more than doubled its run to 1515 theatres and should get past a US total of $50M by Sunday after a $3M Friday and likely $10M weekend. Since it will probably walk away from Sunday’s Golden Globes with some major statues, it’s far from the end of its run and a $100M total isn’t out of the question.
MOANA (Disney Animation) earned $1.7M on Friday, and with a family bump on Saturday should have a $9M weekend, putting it at $228M, with $250M in its sights.
PASSENGERS (Village Roadshow/Columbia/Sony) is headed for an $8M weekend after $2.5M on Friday, and is unlikely to reach $100M in the US, leaving the bulk of its $225M+ production/marketing costs to be recovered overseas if at all.
FENCES (Bron/Paramount) could use some boost from upcoming awards, as it’s on its way to a $4.5M weekend after $1.3M on Friday, on track for a $50M US total.
The weekend’s other expansion into wide release was A MONSTER CALLS (Focus/Universal), which fared far worse than Hidden Figures. It’s only going to make $1.7M at 1523 theatres, and is about to drop off both the box office and awards map, completely misplaced in the December shuffle.
SILENCE (Paramount) had a much smaller expansion to 51 theatres but is showing little promise at appealing to a wide audience with a $7K weekend per-theatre average in store. 20th CENTURY WOMEN (A24) widened to 10 theatres and is also looking soft with a $12K average. PATERSON (Bleecker Street) is now in 7 theatres with a $9K weekend average. PATRIOTS DAY (CBS/Lionsgate) stayed in 7 theatres with an OK $16K average. LIVE BY NIGHT (RatPac/Warners) is going to need some luck with its national expansion next week, averaging just $6K this weekend at 4.