January 3, 2015

Behind the Friday Box Office – 1/2/15


Hollywood’s very successful holiday season rolled into the first Friday of 2015, and the fun should continue today, until end-of-break factors kick in on Sunday, when for the first day in nearly 2 weeks numbers will return to normal levels.

OPENINGS:  THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2: ANGEL OF DEATH (Relativity) smartly seized an opportunity at the tail end of the holiday, in a genre otherwise absent from multiplexes, and kicked off at the higher end of expectations with $7.8M (that includes $1.5M from Thursday night screenings).  It’s likely to flame out quickly, but a $15M weekend will be a fine number for the low-budget acquisition, on which Relativity is on the hook basically just for marketing costs.

HOLDOVERS:  The rest of the Top 10 was in line with the rest of the holiday season.  THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES (New Line/MGM/Warners) led the way with $8.3M, down 46% from last Friday, to give it $207.2M thus far.  That keeps it midway between the 17-day totals for An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, on track for $280M or so at the US box office.

INTO THE WOODS (Disney) had the day’s lead over UNBROKEN (Universal/Legendary), $7.5M to $7.4M, down respectively 39% and 40% from last Friday.  Woods may pull a bit farther ahead on Saturday due to family matinees, but by the end of the holidays, both will be in the neighborhood of $90M, hoping that awards season will keep them going into February.

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB (20th) earned $5.9M on Friday (down 20% from last Friday) for a $81.2M total, and it should also top $90M by Sunday.  It increased its distance from ANNIE (Columbia/Sony), which fell 25% from last Friday to $4.6M, with $65.8M to date, now unlikely to ever reach $100M.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART I (Lionsgate) edged closer to Guardians of the Galaxy with a $3M Friday (down just 15% from last Friday) that put it at $319.2M.  It should be at $324M by Sunday, only$9M away from its goal of being 2014’s #1 film in the US.

THE GAMBLER (Paramount) fell 25% to $2.6M for an unexciting $23.4M total, and BIG EYES (Weinstein) had a good hold (down 10%) but at a low $950K, giving it $8.5M.

Harvey Weinstein is doing far better with THE IMITATION GAME (Weinstein), which continues to perform beautifully at a mid-sized 754 theatres.  It was actually up 2% from last Friday to $3M, and it could hit $30M by Sunday, with tons of awards-driven expansion likely ahead.  WILD (Fox Searchlight) is also holding very well, down 10% from last Friday to $1.7M (at 1361 theatres), and $23M to date.

LIMITED RELEASE:  A MOST VIOLENT YEAR (A24) had a very solid start at 4 NY/LA theatres with what should be a $40K weekend per-theatre average.  SELMA (Paramount), which added a few theatres from last week for a total of 22, rose 7% from last Friday and should have a weekend average of around $27.5K.  Nothing compares, however, to AMERICAN SNIPER (Warners), which held at 4 theatres and managed to rise 18% from last Friday’s already giant levels, which could give it a fantastic $160K average for the weekend.  That appears to be the highest 2d weekend average for a live-action film in history (although partly that’s because other huge openings like Grand Budapest Hotel and The Master expanded in their 2d weekends).

NEXT WEEKEND:  The holidays are over, every film that hoped to contend for awards has opened, so it’s back to schlock, as Liam Neeson returns with TAKEN 3 (Europa/20th), which claims to be the last of the series.  (We’ll see.)  Two of the prestige holiday items, Selma and INHERENT VICE (Warners) will expand to national release.


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."