August 5, 2017

FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “The Dark Tower” Short, “Kidnap” OK, “Detroit” Low


THE DARK TOWER (MRC/Columbia/Sony) will probably win the weekend, but in unimpressive fashion.  It had a $7.7M opening day (including $1.8M from Thursday night), putting it on track for a $19M weekend.  The production budget was reportedly kept reasonable in the $60Ms, but Sony gave it an A-level marketing campaign, which will put total costs well over $150M.  At that rate $50M in the US won’t go very far, and even overperformance internationally will make breakeven a challenge.  Despite the fact that the film is (barely) based on Stephen King’s octet of novels, the movie itself has a rather definitive ending, so the dreams of a mega-franchise may be over.  Supposedly the material will next become a prequel TV series, but we’ll see if the mediocre box office performance affects that idea.

KIDNAP (Aviron), on the other hand, is a bit of a success story.  The $3.7M opening day (including $500K from Thursday night) doesn’t sound like much, and with a $10M weekend it probably won’t get above $25M in the US, but that’s around the level of total US costs (Aviron doesn’t have international rights), so once cable, VOD, SVOD and other rights are counted, a mild profit is possible.  Nevertheless, it still won’t be something Halle Berry is likely to feature on her resume.

The weekend’s biggest disappointment looks to be DETROIT (Annapurna), which managed just $2.6M at 3007 theatres (over 600 more than Kidnap), and may struggle to get past $7M for the weekend.  This is Annapurna’s first time at bat as a distributor, and the fledgling studio made some daring decisions that don’t seem to be paying off, namely opening such a serious “Oscar bait” drama in August rather than holding it for film festival season, and then jumping from 20 theatres to 3000+ instead of employing a gradual platform release that might have built word of mouth.  Detroit will hope to hold on for the long haul, but at this level it may have a hard time keeping its theatres.  (A small-scale award-season re-release in NY and LA wouldn’t be a surprise.)

The soft newcomers allowed for some strong holds among several of the older titles.  DUNKIRK (Warners) declined a mild 37% from last Friday to $5M, and should reach $17.5M for the weekend (if Dark Tower falters, it even has an outside shot of notching the weekend win).  It’s en route to $170M+ in the US.

An exception to the strong holdover trend was THE EMOJI MOVIE (Columbia/Sony), which slumped by 62% from last Friday (by comparison, Captain Underpants dropped 55% on its 2d Friday), for a $12M weekend.  It might get to $75M in the US, and its fate as a low-level franchise will depend on overseas results.

GIRLS TRIP (Perfect World/Universal) continued to hold extremely well, down 42% from last Friday to $3.6M for a $12M weekend.  It’s on track to pass $100M in the US, and Universal must be working madly to sign everyone up for a sequel.

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (Marvel/Columbia/Sony) dipped 36% Friday-to-Friday for $2.6M and a $9M weekend, and it should pass $300M in the US next week.  That will, however, leave it behind the original Sam Raimi trilogy.

Word of mouth is not friendly to ATOMIC BLONE (Affinity/Focus/Universal), which fell 66% on its 2d Friday to $2.4M, likely to hit $8.5M for the weekend and $50M as a US total.  That would put it slightly ahead of the $43M for the original John Wick, but with uncertain prospects for the kind of homevideo boom (and subsequent bigger sequel) that film had.

The single most impressive result of the weekend may belong to WIND RIVER (Weinstein), which seemed to barely be on the radar, but is heading for a big $30-40K weekend average at 4 NY/LA theatres.  It’s not clear whether its studio will make the kind of push that would be needed for success in wide release, but there seems to be some audience interest.  STEP (Fox Searchlight) is likely to average $5K for the weekend at 29.  AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER (Paramount Vantage) expanded to 180 theatres for a $5K weekend average.  The well-reviewed COLUMBUS (Superlative) may average $10K at 2.


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."