September 3, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Light Between Oceans,” “Morgan” Flop On Labor Day Weekend


Although it’s possible for a horror or action movie to make some money over Labor Day weekend, no studio opens a movie it cares about for the holiday that repels moviegoers.  This weekend’s openings won’t change that rule.  THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (DreamWorks/Reliant/Participant/Touchstone/Disney) was probably envisioned as an awards-worthy project when it was originally developed, boasting a best-selling novel as source material and with film festival favorites Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and director Derek Cianfrance.  But the final result dimmed its prospects, and it could only manage $1.5M on opening day (in a relatively low 1500-theatre launch), which is likely to bring it to $6-7M for the 4-day weekend.  Light didn’t have particularly high production or marketing costs, but with a start like that, it’s going to end up as a loss.

MORGAN (20th) fared even worse, with an ugly $600K opening day at 2000 theatres.  It will struggle to reach $2.5M by Monday, and won’t even earn back its $6M production cost, much less the bill for its marketing campaign.

The expansion of HANDS OF STONE (Weinstein) to 2011 theatres (from 810) also failed, with an awful $300K on Friday and a 4-day weekend that won’t hit $1.5M.  There are two other high-profile boxing movies opening in 2016, Bleed For This and The Bleeder, and they’ll have to hope they can punch more forcefully.

All of this left the way clear for holdovers to carry the holiday weekend.  DON’T BREATHE (Screen Gems/Sony) fell 62% from last week’s opening day to $3.8M, which should give it $16M by Monday, on track for $75M in the US.

SUICIDE SQUAD (RatPac/DC/Warners) took in $2.2M on Friday, which should give it a $10M holiday weekend, putting it at the brink of $300M in the US.

PETE’S DRAGON (Disney) and KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (Laika/Focus/Universal) continue to be stable at low numbers, at $1.3-1.4M on Friday and with $8-9M 4-day weekends ahead.  Dragon may reach $80M in the US, and Kubo may end up at $50M.

SAUSAGE PARTY (Annapurna/Columbia/Sony) is still pushing for $100M in the US.  It brought in $1.2M on Friday, and should be near $90M by Monday.  MECHANIC: RESURRECTION (Millenium/Summit Premiere/Lionsgate) should also have $1.2M/$5M numbers for Friday/long weekend, on track for $25M in the US.

BAD MOMS (H Brothers/Tang/STX) will hit the $100M milestone this weekend, with a 4-day $5M weekend starting with $1.2M on Friday, not so far off from the $125M for the far more expensive female-driven Ghostbusters reboot.

HELL OR HIGH WATER (CBS/Lionsgate) expanded nicely from 909 theatres to 1303, earning $1M on Friday for a $5M holiday weekend that suggests it could reach $25M in the US.

NO MANCHES FRIDA (Pantelion/Lionsgate) went after the Spanish-language audience at 362 theatres, with $550K on Friday and perhaps $3M by Monday.

Kevin Smith’s YOGA HOSERS (Invincible) had a terrible start in 140 theatres and may not average $1000 per-theatre over the 4-day holiday.  This could be his 3rd consecutive film not to crack $2M at the US box office.


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."