December 15, 2019

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 12.15.2019


OPENINGS:  JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL (Columbia/Sony) successfully rode its strategy of arriving in theatres ahead of The Rise of Skywalker to a $60.1M weekend, far ahead of the $36.2M opening weekend for the last Jumanji (although that had a different release pattern, opening on the Wednesday between that year’s Star Wars installment and Christmas itself–it had $52.8M as of its first Sunday).  Next Level will benefit handsomely from the holiday break, and should perform at least at the level of its predecessor’s $404.5M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $152.7M after an $85.7M weekend in 52 markets (not yet including Italy, Australia and Brazil), and it will be gunning for the $557.6M earned internationally by the last chapter.

Clint Eastwood’s directing decade has been very up (The Mule, Sully and of course American Sniper) and down (The 15:17 To Paris, Jersey Boys, J. Edgar), and RICHARD JEWELL (Warners) is emphatically at the low end with a miserable $5M weekend.  Even with a holiday multiple, Jewell won’t come near its $100M production/marketing costs, and it’s unlikely to have any significant appeal overseas.

BLACK CHRISTMAS (Blumhouse/Universal) thought it could make something of its holiday theme and a Friday the 13th opening, but no one showed up for a $4.4M opening, and things were no better overseas with $3.1M in 37 territories.  Even with the low costs of a Blumhouse production, this one will have no Yuletide cheer.

HOLDOVERS:  Despite relinquishing the top slot to Jumanji, FROZEN 2 (Disney) remained strong, down 46% to $19.2M in its 4th weekend, still on track for $425-450M in the US.  Worldwide, it’s now passed the $1B milestone (it’s at $1.03B), with $666M overseas after a $55.7M weekend in 48 markets and Brazil still to come.

KNIVES OUT (MRC/Lionsgate) has proven itself a true crowd-pleaser, down 35% to $9.3M in its 3rd weekend, and on its way past $100M in the US.  It also has $83.2M overseas after a $13.6M weekend in all major markets except Germany and Japan.

FORD VS FERRARI (20th/Disney) is the other adult-themed title of choice (although at a much more expensive price-point than Knives Out), down 38% to $4.1M in its 5th weekend and poised to pass $100M in the US next week.  It has a slightly milder $86.4M overseas after a $5.1M weekend in 53 territories, and that may keep it at breakeven rather than profit.

QUEEN & SLIM (BRON/Universal) dropped 47% to $3.6M in its 3rd weekend, and if it can hold onto its theatres, it might reach $45M in the US.  It hasn’t yet opened overseas.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD (Columbia/Sony) continued to be sedate, down 36% to $3.4M in its 4th weekend and heading toward $60M in the US.  It also hasn’t ventured to international shores yet.

DARK WATERS (Focus/Universal) fell 50% to $2M in its 2nd wide weekend, and with no awards traction, it will probably trail off at around $15M in the US, with negligible international results thus far.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Two of the three marquee openings of the weekend went very well, both boosted by starry in-theatre Q&As.  UNCUT GEMS (A24) launched with a shiny $106K per-theatre weekend average at 5, and BOMBSHELL (Lionsgate) started with a $78K average at 4.  Things were much tougher for the 3-hour Terence Malick slog A HIDDEN LIFE (Fox Searchlight/Disney), which only managed a $10K average at 5.  In addition, 63 UP (Britbox) expanded to 20 with a $2200 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  There’s no doubt that STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (LucasFilm/Disney) will be huge, the question is how huge, compared to the $248M opening for The Force Awakens and the $220M for The Last Jedi.  Counterprogramming will come from the intrepid musical CATS (Universal), already the subject of a million memes.

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."