August 11, 2019

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 8.11.2019

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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OPENINGS:  SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK (CBS/Lionsgate) dropped 21% on its 2nd day of release, which isn’t unusual for the horror genre (recently, The Curse of La Llorona fell 26% on its Day 2, and Child’s Play was down 25%), resulting in a $20.8M weekend, and a likely $40M US total.  Scary Stories didn’t have a bargain-basement budget, and with $60M or so in production/marketing costs, it will need help overseas, where thus far it has a quiet $4M in 30 markets.

DORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD (Nickelodeon/Paramount) dropped 7% on Saturday, a more serious blow for a picture expecting family matinee business.  Its $17M weekend leaves it with quite a hill to climb to find profit on $100M+ in costs, and its $2.5M start in 11 international territories isn’t encouraging.

THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN (20th/Disney) managed $8.1M for the weekend, below the $11.3M for this year’s A Dog’s Way Home, and almost exactly the same as the $8M for A Dog’s Journey.  That one ended up with $22.5M in the US and $44.9M overseas, and Racing is unlikely to do much better.  It had a very slow start internationally with $1.1M in 12 markets.

THE KITCHEN (BRON/DC/New Line/Warners) simply flopped with $5.5M for the weekend.  Its total costs will probably approach $100M, and the only question now is how much it will lose.  Notably, this opening is so low that it makes the $9.5M thud of Melissa McCarthy’s The Happytime Murders look like a blockbuster by comparison.  It hasn’t yet opened overseas.

BRING THE SOUL: THE MOVIE (Trafalgar), playing at just 873 theatres and with limited shows in some, earned $2.3M for the weekend, with $4.4M to date.

THE FAREWELL (A24) expanded into the low end of wide release at 704 theatres, but seems to be reaching the limits of its audience, with an 8% drop for the weekend despite playing in 72% more theatres.  Its weekend $3200 per-theatre average is considerably lower than the $5100 average Lady Bird had at 791, and while that film eventually peaked at 1557 theatres, The Farewell may not have the stamina to get there.

BRIAN BANKS (Bleecker Street) opened at 1240 theatres, but even at that level, a $2.1M weekend ($1700 per-theatre average) showed little reason for optimism.

HOLDOVERS:  HOBBS & SHAW (Universal) fell 58% in its 2nd weekend to $25.4M, on track for a $160M US total.  The hold is in line with the 60-61% Weekend 2 drops for The Fate of the Furious and Furious 7, Hobbs & Shaw has a tentpole budget of $300M+ including marketing costs, so its level of success rests overseas.  Currently it’s at $224.1M after a $60.8M weekend, but it hasn’t yet arrived in Korea or, much more crucially, China, where the Fast and the Furious franchise is huge.

THE LION KING (Disney) lost 48% to $20M in its 4th weekend, and should reach $515M in the US, which will make it Disney’s highest-grossing “live action” remake here.  It’s already reached that mark worldwide and overseas, thanks to international sales that are at $861.5M after a $51.4M weekend in all major territories except Italy.

ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD (Columbia/Sony) dipped 42% to $11.6M in its 3rd weekend, now over $100M and heading for a US total that should match or pass the $120.5M for Inglourious Basterds (which cost about $20M less to produce and also probably had lower marketing costs).  Once has finally begun its overseas run with $7.7M in Russia.

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (Columbia/Sony) continued to show great word of mouth, down 33% to $5.3M in its 6th weekend, and on its way to $380M in the US.  Next week it will pass Spider-Man 2 (not adjusting for inflation since 2004), and place itself below just the original 2002 Spider-Man.  It’s the top movie in the franchise overseas and worldwide, because the international market didn’t exist in the same way 15-20 years ago, with a $726M overseas total after a $5.3M weekend.

TOY STORY 4 (Pixar/Disney) dropped 40% to $4.4M in its 8th weekend, and should reach $430M in the US, now the top-grossing Toy Story title in the US (again, with no adjustment for inflation on a franchise that dates back to 1995).  Overseas, it’s at $570.4M after a $9.7M weekend, with a few territories still to open, and it may not catch Toy Story 3‘s $652M.

LIMITED RELEASE:  It was a soft weekend for indies.  THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON (Roadside) opened with a weekend per-theatre average of $12.1K at 17, and AFTER THE WEDDING (Sony Classics) was even milder with an $11.4K average at 5.  MAIDEN (Sony Classics) expanded to 173 with a $1500 average.  LUCE (Neon) widened to 24 and averaged $6K.  THEM THAT FOLLOW (1091) disastrously expanded to 195 with a $450 average.  TEL AVIV ON FIRE (Cohen) averaged $2900 at 27.  THE NIGHTINGALE (IFC) averaged $2700 at 27.

NEXT WEEKEND:  THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2 (Columbia/Sony) will try to get a jump on the weekend with a Wednesday opening.  On Friday, arrivals include film festival comedies BLINDED BY THE LIGHT (New Line/Warners) and GOOD BOYS (Universal), as well as 47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED (Entertainment Studios) and the long-postponed WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE (Annapurna/UA/MGM).

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."