February 9, 2020

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 2.9.2020


OPENINGS:  BIRDS OF PREY (DC/Warners) was supposed to be the year’s first tentpole smash, but at $33.3M in the US, it was a dismal disappointment, by far the lowest start for this generation of DC movie properties.  It was also weak overseas with $48M in all major markets except Japan and China (where of course all theatres are currently closed), and with roughly $200M in production/marketing costs, Birds may become the rare comic-book title to actually lose money.  What happened here?  Clearly Warners overestimated the appeal of both Margot Robbie and Harley Quinn, and the marketing seemed to fix on a promise of quasi-punk empowerment frenzy, rather than the emotional stakes seen in the promos for Marvel’s upcoming Black Widow, or the clear comic point of view of a Deadpool.  The comic-book genre is the backbone of Hollywood right now, so there’s certain to be plenty of analysis internally and by other studios to make sure an error this big doesn’t happen again.

HOLDOVERS:  Note that all holdovers look particularly strong this weekend, because of the traditionally low box-office for last weekend’s Super Bowl Sunday.  They were led by BAD BOYS FOR LIFE (Columbia/Sony), down 32% to $12M in its 4th weekend, and on track for a $190M US total.  Overseas was similarly strong, with $170M after a $48M weekend.

1917 (Universal) reaped the benefits of Oscar weekend, down a tiny 5% to $9M.  The extent to which it passes $150M in the US will depend in part on tonight’s results.  The Best Picture frontrunner also has $154.8M overseas after a $15.2M weekend with Japan (and China) yet to open.

DOLITTLE (Perfect World/Universal) is paying the price for its colossal cost.  At a reasonable pricetag, a US total of $75M or so would look fine, and that’s where Dolittle is heading after a 12% drop to $6.7M.  Similarly, Dolittle is at $94.7M overseas after an $18.8M weekend, with Brazil, Russia and Japan (and China) still to come.

JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL (Columbia/Sony) is still earning in its 9th week of release, down 8% to $5.5M and on its way to $310M in the US.  It’s bigger overseas, where it’s at $470M after a $3.3M weekend.

THE GENTLEMEN (STX) dipped 26% to $4.2M in its 3rd weekend, and should reach $35M in the US.  It has $33.5M overseas after a $3.8M weekend in just 14 markets.

GRETEL & HANSEL (Orion/MGM) fell 43% from last week’s premiere to $3.5M, and probably won’t see $20M in the US.  It has $1.6M in limited overseas release.

KNIVES OUT (MRC/Lionsgate) remains the box office word-of-mouth champion, down a mere 9% to $2.4M in its 11th weekend, and en route to $165M in the US.  It has $140.7M overseas after a $1.3M weekend in 52 territories.

LITTLE WOMEN (Columbia/Sony) hit a major milestone this weekend, passing $100M in the US.  It lost 24% to $2.3M in its 7th weekend.  It also has $74.5M overseas after a $5.8M weekend in 54 markets.

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (Lucasfilm/Disney) is losing altitude, down 31% to $2.2M in its 8th weekend, as it nears a likely $515M US total, about $105M below The Last Jedi.  It’s at $551M overseas, $161M below Last Jedi.

Last week’s disastrous THE RHYTHM SECTION (Paramount) looked no better in Weekend 2, even with the Super Bowl Sunday factor, falling 63% to $1M.  It may not get past $7M in the US, an atrocious result.  It has $300K overseas.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE LODGE (Neon) opened with a $13K weekend per-theatre average at 6 theatres.  COME TO DADDY (Saban) launched with a $2K average at 29.  AND THEN WE DANCED (Music Box) averaged $14K at 2.  THE ASSISTANT (Bleecker Street) expanded to 25 and averaged $4900.  THE TRAITOR (Sony Classics) widened to 17 with a $2900 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  A relative flood arrives for the Valentines Day/Presidents Day holidays.  Wide releases include DOWNHILL (Searchlight/Disney), THE PHOTOGRAPH (Universal), FANTASY ISLAND (Blumhouse/Columbia/Sony) and SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (Paramount), with limited releases of ORDINARY LOVE (Bleecker Street) and PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (Neon).



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."