June 4, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Turtles” Stay In Shells, “Me Before You” Fair, “Popstar” Never Starts


The latest underperforming franchise entry is TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS (Nickelodeon/Movie Media Group/Alibaba/Paramount).  Preliminary numbers at Deadline have opening day at $11.6M, down 55% from the $25.6M start for the rebooted TMNT 2 years ago.  That suggests a weekend that may not hit $30M, and a US total under $100M.  With around $250M in production/marketing costs, it’s likely to struggle just to break even.  One point worth noting, though, is that two of the co-financiers are Chinese companies, which may earn Shadows a favored place in that country’s distribution, and that could be the difference between red ink and black.  In any case, though, the future of the franchise is instantly in question.

Thinking of faltering franchises, things only got worse for X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (TSG/20th) in its 2d weekend.  The Friday-to-Friday drop was 76% to $6.4M, even worse than the 74% drop for Days of Future Past.  It’s headed for a $22M weekend and $165M US total, not a sure thing against $300M in production/marketing costs.

There was mildly good news for ME BEFORE YOU (MGM/New Line/RatPac/Warners), which had a $7.6M opening day.  That’s certainly far behind the $26.1M start for the hit summer soap The Fault In Our Stars 2 years ago, but a $16M weekend for the modestly budgeted drama would be a fair result–or at least it would have been if Warners hadn’t given the film its customary wildly expensive marketing spend.

POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING (Perfect World/Universal) will do nothing to establish Andy Samberg or Lonely Island as big-screen names.  Universal kept the production budget at $20M and the marketing spend low, but after a dismal $1.7M Friday, it’s only going to earn $4-4.5M for the weekend, and at that level, even recouping those modest costs is a longshot.

Back to the world of big failing franchises, ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (Disney) plunged 68% from last Friday to $3.2M, and a likely $11M weekend.  It may not pass $75M in the US, and even if it performs comparatively better overseas as the first Alice did, it’s har to imagine anything other than a big writedown on $300M in production/marketing costs.

With one exception, all the holdovers dropped heavily from last week’s Memorial Day weekend sales, with THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE (Rovio/Columbia/Sony), CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (Marvel/Disney), NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING (Good Universe/Universal) and THE NICE GUYS (Waypoint/Warners) all down 50% or more from last Friday.  Angry Birds now seems unlikely to get much past $100M in the US, Captain America will plateau a bit above $400M, Neighbors 2 around $60M, and Nice Guys around $35M.  All of those are below expectations, although obviously Captain America is still an enormous hit.

The exception was THE JUNGLE BOOK (Disney), down just 34% from last Friday to $1.2M, and closing in on $350M in the US after a likely $4.5M weekend.

A pair of indies expanded into the low end of wide release.  LOVE & FRIENDSHIP (Amazon/Roadside), now at 819 theatres, should average an OK $2300 per-theatre for the weekend, and doesn’t seem to have the legs to expand much farther.  THE LOBSTER (A24), in 560 theatres, will average a less robust $1700 per-theatre, although if such an esoteric art film can top $5M in the US, as seems likely (it should be in the neighborhood of $3.5M by Sunday), that’s at least a moral victory.

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."