May 12, 2019

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 5.12.2019


OPENINGS:  POKEMON: DETECTIVE PIKACHU (Legendary/Warners) started strong in the US with $58M, not that far off the $69.1M launch of The LEGO MoviePikachu may not have that movie’s legs, especially with Aladdin just 2 weeks away, but it should total $175-200M here.  Pokemon in general is a more worldwide phenomenon than LEGO, which allowed Pikachu to leap to a $103M international start in 62 markets that included China and Japan–an early opening in the latter territory pushed the overseas total to $112.4M–already over half of LEGO Movie‘s $211.4M outside the US.  Worldwide, Pikachu might get as high as $500M, and although production/marketing costs were fairly high at $250M+, that should almost certainly mean further franchise entries.

THE HUSTLE (MGM) scheduled its arrival for Mother’s Day weekend and is assuming a Sunday pop at the box office.  If that happens, it will be off to a decent start with $13.5M in the US, although even so it may not get past $40M.  Things were similar overseas, where The Hustle launched with $13.7M in about half the world.

POMS (EOne/STX) also counted on a Mother’s Day bump, but with a dreadful $5.1M weekend, that didn’t matter much.  POMS was aimed squarely at the Book Club audience, but emerged with less than half that film’s $13.6M opening (which didn’t even include Mother’s Day).  The only potential positive is that considering the age of its target audience, it may hang around in theatres for a while, but the best it can likely hope for is a $25M US total.  It hasn’t yet opened overseas.

TOLKIEN (Fox Searchlight/Disney) opened in a sparser 1495 theatres than the weekend’s other arrivals, but at $2.2M for the weekend, its per-theatre average was even lower than POMS, and once audiences catch on that it has more to do with World War I than Lord of the Rings, it’s likely to sink fast.

HOLDOVERS:  It’s increasingly unlikely that AVENGERS: ENDGAME (Marvel/Disney) will topple The Force Awakens for the US box office record.  Endgame fell 57% to $63.1M in its 3rd weekend, and it now trails Force Awakens in both total ($723.5M vs. $742.2M) and per-day receipts, making it a longshot to catch up.  Obviously, no one needs to cry for Endgame, which has now passed Black Panther to become the top Marvel title in the US (it’s already #1 worldwide), and will probably surpass Avatar by this time next week to become the #2 US title ever on its way to $850M or so.  The more interesting race against Avatar is worldwide.  Internationally, Endgame earned another $102.3M to put its overseas total at $1.76B, and its worldwide total at $2.49B.  That puts it at #2, $302.5M behind Avatar, and if it can manage 1.83x this weekend’s worldwide $165.4 weekend before it’s done, it will claim the title.  The result will likely depend on Endgame‘s ability to hold onto theatres as other summer blockbusters start pouring in.

THE INTRUDER (Screen Gems/Sony) held well for a genre piece, down 39% to $6.6M in its 2nd weekend, and possibly able to get past $40M in the US.  At this point, it’s barely opened overseas.

LONG SHOT (Good Universe/Lionsgate) also had a solid hold, down 37% to $6.1M in Weekend 2.  Even if it can keep afloat, though, it’s likely looking at $35-40M in the US, and with $3.2M in early international release, it’s still going to be submerged in red ink.

UGLYDOLLS (Alibaba/STX) chose to open a week before Pikachu, and paid the price with a 54% drop to $3.9M, perhaps capable of staggering to $25M in the US.  So far, it has $1.6M overseas.

BREAKTHROUGH (20th/Disney) held onto its target audience with a 37% drop to $2.5M in its 4th weekend, still on course for $40-45M in the US.  It has $8.8M overseas.

CAPTAIN MARVEL (Marvel/Disney) fell 58% to $1.8M, having gotten as much as it could from the Endgame halo effect, and should wind up a bit above $425M in the US.  It’s at $699.4M overseas.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The documentary THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM (Neon) had a pleasing $20K weekend per-theatre average in 5 theatres, especially compared to the $11.7K average for the higher-profile ALL IS TRUE (Sony Classics) at 4, which arrived complete with Kenneth Branagh in-theatre Q&As.  The Indian-language STUDENT OF THE YEAR 2 (FIP) averaged $2300 at 190.  Manson Family drama CHARLIE SAYS (IFC) averaged $1K at 39.  MY SON (Cohen) averaged $1500 at 3.  RED JOAN (IFC) expanded to 193 with a $1300 average.  THE WHITE CROW (Sony Classics) widened to 50 with a $2900 average.  SHADOW (Well Go) averaged $2900 at 47.  NON-FICTION (IFC) had a $9100 average at 5.


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."