October 14, 2018

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 10.14.2018


OPENINGS:  FIRST MAN (Perfect World/Universal) had an underwhelming $16.5M start, and considering its older-skewing audience, its 10% Saturday bump wasn’t impressive either.  It carries $150M+ in production/marketing costs, and a $50M US total would leave it at risk for red ink, since its very American story (flag controversy notwithstanding) makes foreign appeal questionable.  It will have a gradual overseas release, and launched with $8.6M in 22 markets.  First Man also needs to show some box office traction if it’s going to receive more than courtesy nominations at the Oscars.

First Man did edge out GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN (Sony Animation/Columbia/Sony), at least in studio estimates, which put the kiddie movie at $16.2M.  That’s a 31% drop from the original Goosebumps, which suggests a $55M US total.  Goosebumps 2 cost less than the first with around $100M in total costs, but that opening means there’s an uphill journey ahead.  It has $3.7M in early overseas launches.  Its only good news is that it has the family market to itself until the arrival of The Nutcracker and The Four Realms on November 2.

BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE (20th) didn’t generate much enthusiasm with a $7.2M start, with little chance of earning back its $75M+ costs.  The news wasn’t good internationally either, where it had $4M in 36 markets.

The anti-abortion screed GOSNELL: THE STORY OF AMERICA’S BIGGEST SERIAL KILLER (GVN) played strictly to the base with $1.2M at 673 theatres, an $1800 per-theatre weekend average.

COLETTE (Bleecker Street) expanded to the low edge of wide release at 593 theatres with $1M, a dim $1700 per-theatre average

HOLDOVERS:  VENOM (Tencent/Columbia/Sony) continued to surprise, down 56% to $35.7M on its second weekend, which is a very decent hold for a superhero movie, let alone one with Venom‘s terrible reviews.  (By comparison, Thor: The Dark World had a 57% Weekend 2 drop.)  It could reach $210M in the US, although Halloween will provide more formidable competition next weekend.  Overseas, it’s at $235.3M after a $69.7M weekend in 65 territories, and should reach $600M worldwide if it’s allowed to open in China, which hasn’t yet granted permission.

A STAR IS BORN (MGM/Warners) was expected to hold well and it did, down 35% to $28M, and still on track for $150M+ in the US.  However, things are slower overseas, with $41.2M after a $20.2M weekend in 65 markets.  There aren’t that many left to open, although they include Japan, Australia and potentially China, and it will be tricky for Warners to hold onto screens through awards season with these numbers.

SMALLFOOT (Warners Animation) wasn’t overly troubled by the arrival of Goosebumps 2, down 35% in Weekend 3 to $9.3M, and still on its way to $75M in the US.  Overseas, it’s going to need a boost from next week’s China opening (France is also on the calendar), with $52.6M after a $14.5M weekend in 57 territories.

NIGHT SCHOOL (Perfect World/Universal) dropped 36% in its 3rd weekend to $8M as it heads to $75M in the US.  It has $15.4M overseas after a $2.2M weekend in 23 markets.

THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS (DreamWorks/Reliance/Universal) lost 46% in Weekend 4 to $4M, likely to reach $70M in the US.  To date, it has $17.4M overseas after a $2.8M weekend in 22 territories.

LIMITED RELEASE:  BEAUTIFUL BOY (Amazon) had a perplexing start.  Its $55K per-theatre average at 4 NY/LA arthouses was fine, but it had a troubling 37% Friday-to-Saturday drop, suggesting unusually bad word of mouth for a film that wouldn’t seem likely to turn off audiences in that way.  JANE & EMMA (Excel) opened at 31 with a $5800 average.  THE HAPPY PRINCE (Sony Classics) averaged a mild $5K at 8.  THE OATH (Roadside) started slow with a $2900 average at 10.  THE HATE U GIVE (20th) widened to 248 with an OK $7100 average.  THE OLD MAN & THE GUN (Fox Searchlight) expanded to 228 with a modest $4K average.  THE SISTERS BROTHERS (Annapurna) didn’t do its unsettled studio any favors with a $2K average after expanding to 129.  TEA WITH THE DAMES (IFC, also on VOD) averaged $1500 at 68.  STUDIO 54 (Zeitgeist) averaged $4K at 6.

NEXT WEEKEND:  HALLOWEEN (Blumhouse/Universal) is expected to open big, and the other studios are staying away, although The Hate U Give and The Old Man & The Gun are scheduled to expand into wide release.  Limited releases include CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? (Fox Searchlight), MID 90S (A24), WHAT THEY HAD (Bleecker Street) and WILDLIFE (IFC).

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."