September 23, 2017

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Kingsman” Crowned, “LEGO Ninjago” Dim, “Stronger” Quiet


The phenomenon of It having had its day, weekend box office is starting to look more familiar, which is to say subdued.  KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE (MARV/20th) will take the weekend, but hardly in impressive fashion.  Preliminary numbers at Deadline have opening day at $15.7M, which includes $3.4M from Thursday night.  2 years ago, The Secret Service earned $10.4M, $1.4M of it from Thursday night.  That makes the opening-to-opening comparison a 34% bump (27% based on Friday only), fairly typical for a more front-loaded sequel, and likely to be reduced through the course of the weekend.  Secret Service had a 3.5x opening weekend multiple, while Golden Circle is more likely to be around 2.5x, putting it at $40M (up about 10% from Secret Service), and on track to end up in the same neighborhood of $128.3M as a US total.

Things were much worse for THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE (Warners), which underdelivered in a big way at $6.1M on Friday.  That’s down 66% from the opening day of the first LEGO Movie, and down 58% from LEGO Batman MovieNinjago may only reach $22M for the weekend and $75M as a US total, which means that with $200M in production and marketing costs, it will require overseas success just to break even.  (The two previous LEGO movies earned only 44-45% of their worldwide totals outside the US, which isn’t a great sign.)  This is potentially terrible news for Warners, which saw LEGO as its ticket into the incredibly lucrative animation market, and a franchise that would go on for many years to come.

The low-budget slasher FRIEND REQUEST (Entertainment Studios) was DOA with $650K in 2569 theatres on Friday, translating into a $1.5M weekend that will have a dreadful $600 per-theatre average.

Awards hopeful STRONGER (Roadside/Lionsgate) launched in quasi-wide release at 574 theatres, but despite excellent reviews (95% on Rotten Tomatoes), it’s showing little vigor, with a weekend per-theatre average that won’t be much above $3K.

Meanwhile, IT (New Line/Warners) is still selling plenty of tickets, down 53% from last Friday to $9M, and heading for a $30M weekend that keeps it on track to top $300M in the US before it’s done.  That will make it the #4 movie of 2017 in the US, below only Beauty & the Beast and the latest installments of Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man (at a budget no more than 25% of any of those), a remarkable performance in every way.

Last weekend’s openings are holding badly.  AMERICAN ASSASSIN (CBS/Lionsgate) tumbled 68% from last Friday to $1.9M, for a $6M weekend, on its way to $35-40M in the US, which is unlikely to be enough to keep it rolling as the franchise it was intended to be.  Somewhat surprisingly considering its notoriety, mother! (Paramount) is holding no worse, down 69% from last Friday to just under $1M and heading for a $3M weekend.  That moral (?) victory still leaves it running out of steam before it hits $20M in the US.  (Interestingly, the other ultra-controversial piece of auteurship this season, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks reboot, is considered a success for Showtime despite being watched by fewer people than will likely buy tickets for mother!, because movies and pay-TV use such different metrics.)

VICTORIA & ABDUL (Focus/Universal) had the hot hand in limited release, with a weekend average at 4 NY/LA theatres that may reach $40K–but that number was aided by sold-out in-theatre Q&As featuring Dame Judi Dench.  BATTLE OF THE SEXES (Fox Searchlight) launched a bit wider at 21 theatres, and should have a promising $22K per-theatre average for the weekend.


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."