November 3, 2019

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 11.3.2019


OPENINGS:  The entertainment business revolves these days around IP, but not all franchises are created equal, and there turned out to be a thunderous lack of interest in TERMINATOR: DARK FATE (Skydance/Tencent/20th/Disney/Paramount), which opened to just $29M in the US against production/marketing costs of $300M+.  A big-budget action epic in that predicament normally hopes for rescue overseas, but Dark Fate is fatally soft there too, with a $94.6M total after a $72.9M weekend in 48 major territories that included China (where it opened with a weak $28M) but not yet Japan.  A 9-figure loss seems inevitable.

HARRIET (Focus/Universal) launched with a robust $12M despite mixed reviews, which should fuel the Best Actress campaign for Cynthia Errivo.  The only risk for Harriet is that by opening wide at 2059 theatres rather than following the usual prestige-film platform release strategy, it could run out of box office gas while the competition is building.

MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN (Warners) marked the studio’s 2nd consecutive failure to open an awards-targeted title, with a puny $3.7M that followed the $2.7M start for The Goldfinch.  Edward Norton’s labor of love may not see $10M in the US, and although costs were kept low, that will still mean a loss of the film’s investment.

ARCTIC DOGS (Entertainment Studios) managed just $3.1M at 2844 theatres, and will move swiftly to streaming and video.

DOCTOR SLEEP (Warners) doesn’t arrive in the US until next week, but it opened in 9 international territories with a quiet $5.6M.  In the UK, it took in $1.9M, comparing badly to the recent $9.1M opening for It Chapter Two.

HOLDOVERS:  JOKER (BRON/DC/Warners) continued to perform phenomenally, down only 28% to $13.9M in its 5th weekend and just a whisker shy of $300M in the US with plenty of road ahead.  It now seems likely to reach $1B worldwide, with $634.4M overseas after a $37M weekend, despite the lack of a release in China.  That would make it the #2 title of the current DC franchise worldwide, not far below Aquaman‘s $1.15B (which included $298.3M from China).

MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL (Disney) dropped 37% to $12.1M in its 3rd weekend, and might reach $110M in the US.  Its stronger international business may bring it to breakeven, with $298.9M after a $40.5M weekend in all major markets.  However, even in a best case scenario, the worldwide total will be more than 30% below the $758.4M of the first Maleficent.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY (BRON/MGM) dipped 29% to $8.5M in its 4th weekend, and may hit $100M in the US.  It has $44M overseas after a $31.5M weekend.

ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP (Columbia/Sony) lost 38% to $7.4M in its 3rd weekend, on its way to an OK $75M US total.  It’s showing limited international appeal, with $27.8M after a $7M weekend in 45 markets.

COUNTDOWN (STX) held fairly well for low-budget horror, down 34% from last week’s premiere to $5.9M, and perhaps able to reach $30M in the US.  It has $3.7M overseas after a $1.1M weekend in 23 territories.

BLACK & BLUE (Screen Gems/Sony) fell 52% to $4M in its 2nd weekend, and probably won’t see $25M in the US.  It’s had a negligible overseas release thus far.

THE LIGHTHOUSE (A24) broadened its footprint by over 65% to 978 theatres, but dropped 33% to $2M, a $2K per-theatre weekend average that was down 60% from last week’s average.

LIMITED RELEASE:  (Note that per its usual policy, Netflix hasn’t released box office results for this weekend’s opening of THE IRISHMAN.)  PARASITE (NEON) expanded to near-wide release at 461 theatres and had a fair $5700 weekend per-theatre average, a bit lower than the $6500 that the studio’s I, Tonya averaged at 517.  JOJO RABBIT (Fox Searchlight/Disney) widened to 256 with a solid $9400 average, close to the $10.8K that The Shape of Water averaged at 158.  FRANKIE (Sony Classics) expanded to 11 theatres with a dim $2400 average.  SYNONYMS (Kino Lorber) averaged $3800 at 6.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Doctor Sleep reaches the US, joined by LAST CHRISTMAS (Universal), MIDWAY (Lionsgate) and PLAYING WITH FIRE (Paramount).  Limited releases include HONEY BOY (Amazon).

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."