July 23, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Star Trek Beyond” Less Than Bold, “Lights Out” Bright, “Ice Age” Frozen Stiff


STAR TREK BEYOND (Skydance/Alibaba/Huahua/Paramount) is showing a fair franchise hold by the standards of this summer.  Based on preliminary numbers at Deadline, it had a $23M opening day (including $5.5M from Thursday), down about 26% from the start of 2009’s Star Trek reboot.  (2013’s Into Darkness opened on a Thursday, changing its weekend dynamic.)  That suggests a $57M weekend that might go as high as $60M, and a US total that will hope to reach $200M.  Those numbers are OK, but with $325M+ in production/global marketing costs, Beyond will need to build on Into Darkness‘s international growth, which increased the overseas proportion of box office revenue from 33% to 51%, in order to get much beyond breakeven.

LIGHTS OUT (Warners) is riding a set of strong reviews to overperformance, with $8,4M on Friday (including $1.8M from Thursday night) and a potential $18-20M weekend.  The production budget was a tiny $5M, but as usual with Warners that’s belied by a fairly expensive marketing campaign, so profit may not be as high as it could otherwise have been.  Still, it’s a solid start for what could become a new franchise.

It turns out the animation market could be oversaturated after all, as ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE (Blue Sky/20th) is by far the lowest opener of its franchise, with just $6.6M on Friday, a disastrous 60% drop from the opening day of Continental Drift in 2012.  Collision may only get to $18M for the weekend, and might not reach $100M in the US, against worldwide costs of $225M+.  That’s all terrible, but the Ice Age franchise is all about international (Continental Drift made a stupendous 82% of its global total outside the US), so the verdict on Collision Course won’t be written until we know more about how it performs overseas.

Right-wing rant HILLARY’S AMERICA (Quality Flix) jumped from 3 theatres to 1217 to capitalize on convention season, but it isn’t showing any of the partisan strength that the director’s Obama’s America did in 2012.  When that one reached 1091 theatres, it had a $6000 weekend per-theatre average, but this thing will be around one-third of that, based on its $1.2M Friday.  That’s not even as high as 2014’s America, which averaged $2500 in its 1st wide weekend at 1105 theatres, and although there’s enough fanaticism to keep it boiling for a few weeks, it isn’t going to have much box office impact.

Holdovers were led by THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (Illumination/Universal), down a moderate 42% from last Friday to $8.8M despite the arrival of Ice Age.  It should be at $260M by Sunday, and is on track for $325M in the US.

GHOSTBUSTERS (Village Roadshow/Columbia/Sony) showed little staying power, down 61% from last Friday to $6.6M.  That will stabilize over the weekend to an OK 50% drop for $23M, but it’s headed for around $130M in the US, and will require major success overseas to have any hope of showing a profit, let alone sustaining a franchise.

With its older-skewing audience, THE INFILTRATOR (Broad Green) is holding well, with a 45% Friday-to-Friday drop.  But that still gave it a sub-$1M Friday, and a $3M weekend suggests it will end up at just $20M.

FINDING DORY (Pixar/Disney) keeps selling tickets, down a mere 34% from last Friday to $2.1M.  It should reach $460M this weekend and $475M before it’s done.  THE LEGEND OF TARZAN (Village Roadshow/RatPac/Warners) had a 43% Friday-to-Friday decline to $1.9M, and is still headed to $125M in the US.

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE (Fox Searchlight) is attracting core fans with a semi-wide run at 313 theatres that should give it a $12.5K weekend per-theatre average.  CAFE SOCIETY (Amazon/Lionsgate) expanded to 50 theatres, and its likely $12.5K weekend average puts it at the level of Magic In the Moonlight, which petered out at $10.5M in the US.  (However, it quadrupled that number overseas, thanks to Woody Allen’s international strength.)  CAPTAIN FANTASTIC (Bleecker Street) widened to 104 theatres for a mild $5K 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."