January 13, 2019

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 1.13.2019


OPENINGS:  After 4 weeks of holiday movies occupying most of the market, moviegoers were ready for something new, and the beneficiary was THE UPSIDE (STX/Lantern), which substantially beat projections with a $19.6M weekend.  A 14% Saturday bump suggested strong word of mouth, and the final weekend number could go higher than the studio projection.  There are big action movies on the way over the next few weeks, but little direct competition, which could extend its run.  The Upside is also in 17 international markets, where it earned $1.3M.

A DOG’S WAY HOME (Bona/Columbia/Sony) had a $11.3M start, 38% lower than the opening of 2017’s A Dog’s Purpose (that film’s sequel opens in May), but OK for a project with moderate costs.  It could reach $40M in the US, and hasn’t yet opened overseas.

ON THE BASIS OF SEX (Focus/Universal) expanded to wide release at 1923 theatres with a fair $6.2M, similar to the $6.1M Darkest Hour had at 1733.  The problem for Basis will be keeping up momentum when, unlike Darkest Hour, it doesn’t appear to have a path into the Oscar race.

REPLICAS (Entertainment Services) was an utter flop with $2.5M, and even that woeful number assumes the studio’s generous Sunday estimate is accurate.  Costs were low, but not low enough.

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (Annapurna) widened to 1018 theatres with a wan $2.4M, and it’s probably going to need nominations in major Oscar categories (beyond Supporting Actress, where Regina King is a strong candidate) to get beyond the arthouse audience.

BEN IS BACK (Roadside) dipped its toe into the low end of wide release at 598 theatres, and probably shouldn’t have, with a weekend per-theatre average that didn’t reach $800.

HOLDOVERS:  AQUAMAN (DC/Warners) dropped 44% to $17.3M and out of 1st place in the US, but that should hardly matter to the smash, which is on track for $315M in the US.  Worldwide, it’s hit the $1B mark, and may well top the $1.08B mark of The Dark Knight Rises to become the highest-grossing DC property to date.  This weekend, it took in $27.9M for an international total of $732.4M, with Japan yet to open.

SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (Sony Animation/Columbia/Sony) dipped 31% to $9M, and may hit $165M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $154.6M after a $9.4M weekend in all major territories except Japan.  It should break even, but there won’t be much profit here.

ESCAPE ROOM (Columbia/Sony) wasn’t built for the long term, and it fell 51% to $8.9M, a decent hold for its genre, with a possible $50M in the US.  It has $2.5M overseas, after a $1.5M weekend in 15 territories.

The outlook is surprisingly dim for MARY POPPINS RETURNS (Disney).  It took a 55% punch in the US to $7.2M, on its way to $165M.  Overseas, it’s at $137.2M after a $10.6M weekend in 48 markets, with Japan and Korea as the final significant territories yet to open.  This was an expensive project with a major marketing campaign, and it may have to stretch to break even.

BUMBLEBEE (Tencent/Paramount) has also been an underperformer.  In the US, it fell 49% to $6.8M, and may get to $125M.  Overseas, despite an upbeat reception in China, it’s at $256.3M after a $35.6M weekend in 64 markets, with Japan opening in March.  That’s enough to get past red ink, but not the franchise-starter it was supposed to be, particularly after the strong reviews it received.

THE MULE (BRON/Warners) dropped 39% to $5.5M, and may still find its way to $100M in the US.  It’s finding fewer takers overseas, with $3.3M after a $2.1M weekend in 28 territories.

VICE (Annapurna) is holding quite well, considering its genre and mixed reviews, down 43% to $3.3M, with a possible $45M US total.  (It hasn’t yet opened overseas.)  It should do well with Oscar nominations, which could build those numbers, which it will need with $100M+ in reported production/marketing costs.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (Regency/20th), off its surprise Golden Globes win and with the addition of 24% more theatres and “sing-along” showings, gained 35% in its 11th week of release to $3.2M, and it will pass $200M in the US next week.  Those are pennies compared to its international bonanza, now at $574.2M after a $15M weekend, with a second (third?) wind very possible once the Oscar nominations are announced.

For the first time, it seems as though RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET (Disney) may not reach $200M in the US.  It fell 53% to $2.2M, a long $10M away from that mark.  It’s still in gradual release overseas, where it’s at $243.7M after a $15.4M weekend in 35 markets.

GREEN BOOK (DreamWorks/Participant/Universal), coming off a week that was both very good (the Golden Globe) and very bad (everything else), grew its theatre count by 31% and gained 16% to $2.1M.  It will clearly be an Oscar player, one way or another, which should get it past $45M in the US.  It’s barely had any overseas release yet, with $1M to date.

LIMITED RELEASE:  FREE SOLO (NatGeo) expanded to 154 theatres (including some in IMAX), with a solid $5300 per-theatre average.  THE WIFE (Sony Classics) tried to ride its Golden Globes win with an expansion to 156, but only averaged $700.  There were smaller expansions for a quartet of awards hopefuls:  DESTROYER (Annapurna) to 27 with a $5600 average, STAN & OLLIE (Sony Classics) to 13 with a $6800 average, COLD WAR (Amazon) to 10 with an $8800 average, and CAPERNAUM (Sony Classics) to 15 with a $3200 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The studios are handing the MLK holiday to GLASS (Universal), the only wide release of the weekend.

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."