August 26, 2018

Behind the US/Worldwide Box Office – 8.26.2018


OPENINGS:  It’s very possible that the news is going to get even worse for THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (H Brothers/Black Bear/STX), which is grimly insisting on a studio estimate of the best Sunday hold in the weekend’s Top 10 to claim a $10M opening–even after dropping 15% on Saturay.  That number may easily slip to 7 figures in finals tomorrow, but even if it manages to hold, it’s the worst opening of Melissa McCarthy’s starring career, and not by an inch:  her previous worst was $17.9M for Life of the PartyHappytime hasn’t opened overseas yet, but it would take a miracle to avoid red ink.

The weekend’s other openings were even uglier.  AXL (Global Road) had a pathetic $2.9M launch, amid reports that its studio is headed into bankruptcy.  It did have a solid 47% Saturday bump from the family matinee audience, but at these numbers, that didn’t mean much.

PAPILLON (Bleecker Street) seemed to open out of contractual obligation, with a 544-theatre release that earned $1.2M.

HOLDOVERS:  CRAZY RICH ASIANS (SK Global/Warners) is the feel-good story of the late summer box office, with a phenomenal Weekend 2 hold (helped a bit by the fact that last Friday was its 3rd day of release), that was down a microscopic 6% to $25M.  A US total of $125M+ seems unstoppable, and the sequel has already been announced.  Overseas, the film is taking its time and is in 18 markets, where it had a $6M weekend for $7.1M to date.

THE MEG (Gravity/Warners) benefited from the lack of new competition and dipped 38% on its 3rd weekend to $13M, on its way to $125M in the US.  Its real money, of course, is abroad, where it’s at $303.3M ($143M of that from China) after a $32.7M weekend in 65 territories and Japan still to come.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT (Skydance/Alibaba/Paramount) had the best weekend-to-weekend hold in the Top 10, down 26% to $8M (the 2nd best Weekend 5 hold in the franchise, behind the original Mission by a tiny margin), as it heads to $210M.  Overseas, it’s at $344.8M after a $13M weekend in 61 markets, and while that’s considerably behind the $487.7M for Rogue Nation, China should change all that when it opens this week.

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (Disney) continues to own the family market, down 29% in Weekend 4 to $6.3M, with $90M in its sights in the US.  Its overseas total to date is $35.1M, after a $5.9M weekend in 32 markets.

Not even this weekend’s weak openings could save MILE 22 (H Brothers/Hideaway/STX), which fell 56% to $6M, and may reach $40M in the US.  It isn’t being helped by the rest of the world, where its total is $6.3M.

ALPHA (Studio 8/Sony/Columbia) didn’t fare any better, down 46% to $5.6M, with the hope of seeing $35M in the US.  It has $7.3M overseas, after a $6.7M weekend in 17 territories.

BLACKKKLANSMAN (Focus/Universal) was much more robust, down 28% in its 3rd weekend to $5.3M, and perhaps able to get past $45M in the US.  Its overseas total to date is $8.3M.

SLENDER MAN (Sony/Screen Gems) dropped a fair (for its genre) 42% in Weekend 3 to $2.8M, and it might surpass $30M by a bit in the US.  It has $8M overseas.

ANT-MAN & THE WASP (Marvel/Disney) is almost done in the US, with $211.5M to date after a $1.8M weekend, but it was the weekend’s big opening in China, where it took in $68M for the weekend, the #3 opening of the year for a non-local title, and better than Black Panther‘s $65.1M start there.  With an additional $3.2M from 27 other markets, its international total is now $332.6M.

LIMITED RELEASE:  SEARCHING (Sony/Screen Gems) had a strong start, with a $40K per-theatre weekend average at 9.  THE BOOKSHOP (Greenwich) was quieter with a $12K average at 4.  PUZZLE (Sony Classics) expanded aggressively to 265 with a $1400 average.  JULIET, NAKED (Roadside) widened to 43 and averaged $5800.  THE WIFE (Sony Classics), now at 18, averaged $12K.  THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST (FilmRise) averaged $1400 at 85.  BLAZE (IFC) averaged $7300 at 7.  WE THE ANIMALS (Orchard) expanded to 12 and is claiming a $4100 average, although that relies on an extremely strong Sunday estimate.  MADELINE’S MADELINE (Oscilloscope) averaged $2K at 9.

NEXT WEEKEND:  As it usually does, the summer movie season will go out with a Labor Day whimper.  OPERATION FINALE (MGM) will open on Wednesday and attempt to pick up some of the older-thriller audience that has supported The American and The Debt on past Labor Days.  On Friday, action movie KIN (Lionsgate) and a near-wide release of the thriller THE LITTLE STRANGER (Focus/Universal) arrive, along with a wide expansion of Searching.


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."