December 9, 2017

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Just Getting Started” Stops Dead, “The Disaster Artist” Goes Wide, “Coco” Wins Again


The studios remained largely averse to going wide on the weekend before The Last Jedi devours the universe.  JUST GETTING STARTED (Broad Green) was thrown with little ceremony and no advance reviews into 2161 theatres, and according to preliminary numbers at Deadline, it had a dismal $1.1M on Friday, which with word of mouth likely to be downbeat may put it below $3M for the weekend, a sad footnote to the writing/directing career of Ron Shelton, once of Bull Durham and White Man Can’t Jump fame.

THE DISASTER ARTIST (A24) widened to semi-general release at 840 theatres with $2.4M on Friday, considerably better than the $1.5M earned by Lady Bird on the Friday it reached 791 theatres.  Disaster Artist may have a $6M weekend, with plenty of room to build through the holidays, especially if it can pick up a bevy of Comedy/Musical Golden Globe nominations on Monday.

The weekend’s easy winner, though, will be COCO (Pixar/Disney) for the 3rd time in a row.  Its $4.1M Friday was down just 35% from last week.  If it reaches $18M for the weekend, that will be virtually tied with the parallel weekend of Moana, and considerably better than the $14.3M for Tangled, suggesting that it could get to $230M+ in the US.

2nd place for the weekend will be neck-and-neck between JUSTICE LEAGUE (RatPac/DC/Warners) and WONDER (Participant/Walden/Lionsgate), although that very fact is a big loss for Justice League, which cost something like 15x as much as Wonder to produce.  Both films had $2.6-2.8M Fridays (down around 43% for Justice League and 24% for Wonder), and should have $9-10M weekends.  That puts Justice League on pace for $250M in the US, while Wonder may get to $125M+.

THOR: RAGNAROK (Marvel/Disney) isn’t going anywhere, down just 36% on its 6th Friday to $1.7M, for a $6M weekend.  If it can hold onto its theatres through the holidays, it could get as high as $320M.

DADDY’S HOME 2 (Paramount) and MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (20th) have been close to box office lock step for the 5 weeks of their release, and that remains true, as both had $1.5-1.6M Fridays for $5-6M weekends, as both head toward $100M in the US.  (Except that Murder cost much less than Daddy’s 2 to produce, and has so far been much stronger overseas.)

Awards contenders LADY BIRD (A24) and 3 BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (Fox Searchlight) both added some theatres, so that they’re now in almost identical runs (respectively at 1557/1620), with very similar results, taking in $900K-1M on Friday for $3.25-3.75M weekends.  Lady Bird has about a $4M jump on 3 Billboards in box office total at the moment, but both may end up in the same $40M neighborhood, depending on their awards fates.

The bustling awards season also saw plenty of action in the limited arena.  I, TONYA (Neon) arrived at 4 NY/LA arthouses, laden with Q&As, and may average a healthy $60K per theatre for the weekend.  THE SHAPE OF WATER (Fox Searchlight) widened to 41 theatres for a solid $25K weekend average, a bit lower than the $32.4K Lady Bird averaged at 37.  DARKEST HOUR (Focus/Universal) expanded to 53 with an OK $12K weekend average.  CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Sony Classics) is very carefully treading into expansion, moving from 5 into just 9 theatres for what may be a $35K weekend average, which on a per-theatre basis would be down more than 50% from last weekend’s average.  WONDER WHEEL (Amazon) faded fast as it expanded to 47 theatres with a mere $3K per theatre as its likely weekend 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."