August 18, 2019

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 8.18.2019

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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OPENINGS:  GOOD BOYS (Good Universe/Universal) easily led the weekend with $21M, a solid start for a comedy that probably had production/marketing costs under $75M.  It was somewhat frontloaded with a 12% Saturday drop, but summer Sundays have been running strong this year, so it should still have a fair weekend multiple.  Good Boys has the comedy market to itself for weeks, and with good word of mouth should reach $60M+ in the US.  It’s opened in 13 overseas markets with $2.1M.

THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2 (Sony Animation) turned out to be a franchise no one wanted.  The studio gave it a Monday night launch for a nearly week-long opening, and could still manage only $16.2M ($10.5M from Fri-Sun), a fraction of the $38.2M earned by the 3-day opening weekend for the first Angry Birds.  That one made it to $107.5M in the US, but Birds 2 may not even reach $40M.  It’s a bit stronger overseas, with $30M after a $19.2M weekend in 29 territories (including China), but won’t get close to the $244.8M of its predecessor.

47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED (Entertainment Partners) was another soft sequel, with a $9M weekend compared to $11.2M for the original 47 Meters.  At best, it can hope for $35M in the US.

After that, things get ugly.  BLINDED BY THE LIGHT (New Line/Warners) was the latest big-studio Sundance pick-up to go bust with a $4.5M weekend.  The only positive was that its older audience contributed to a 23% Saturday bump, so it may hold well for a week or two, but a $15M US total still won’t justify what Warners paid to acquire and market it.

WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE (Annapurna/UA/MGM) was the disaster widely expected after its numerous shifts around the release schedule.  A $3.5M opening will do nothing to help its troubled studio hold together, and it may not get much past $10M in the US.

HOLDOVERS:  HOBBS & SHAW (Universal) dropped 44% to $14.4M in its 3rd weekend, and continues to be on track for $160M in the US, an OK result for a mega-production with $325M or so in production/marketing costs.  As expected, it’s much bigger overseas, where it’s at $303.3M after a $45.7M weekend in 67 markets that don’t yet include China, the world’s biggest Fast & Furious fandom, where it opens next week.

THE LION KING (Disney) declined 41% to $11.9M in its 5th weekend, just days away from hitting $500M in the US and on its way to $525M, the biggest of Disney’s “live-action” remakes.  It’s even more gigantic overseas, where it’s at $939.1M after a $33.8M weekend.  It’s already the #9 worldwide title of all time, and may still move up a notch or two.

SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK (Columbia/Sony) fell an expected 52% to $10.1M from last week’s opening, and should be solidly profitable with a $60M US total.  It’s at $14.1M in early international release.

DORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD (Nickelodeon/Paramount) lost 51% to $8.5M in its 2nd weekend, a steeper drop than a family movie wants to see.  It may reach $50M in the US, and will need help overseas against $125M in costs.  Currently, it’s at $10.7M internationally after a $6.6M weekend in 24 markets, and will continue a slow rollout into the fall.

ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD (Columbia/Sony) eased by 35% to $7.6M in its 4th weekend, and will soon pass Inglourious Basterds to become Quentin Tarantino’s #2 film in the US, behind the $162.8M for Django Unchained.  It has $66.2M overseas after a $53.7M weekend in 49 markets with a few still to come, and again looks likely to end up between Basterds and Django worldwide, which was far from a sure thing given the fact that Hollywood is much less action-oriented than Tarantino’s usual fare.

There was no good news for 3 of last weekend’s flop openings.  THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN (20th/Disney) dropped 46% to $4.4M and will end up around $25M in the US, with $1M so far overseas.  THE KITCHEN (New Line/Warners) fell 60% to $2.2M and may not get past $15M in the US, with overseas release still to come.  BRIAN BANKS (Bleecker Street) plunged 68% to $700K and may struggle to exceed $5M in the US, with no international release yet.

THE FAREWELL (A24) added 22% more theatres (for a total of 861) and declined by 28% to $1.5M, a per-theatre weekend average of $1700.  $20M may be too far a goal for the indie.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The High Frame Rate documentary AQUARELA (Sony Classics) opened in 5 theatres with a slow $4700 per-theatre average.  LUCE (Neon) expanded to 58 with a mild $2800 average.  AFTER THE WEDDING (Sony Classics) widened to 26 and averaged $3300.  HONEYLAND (Neon) averaged $1800 at 32.  ONE CHILD NATION (Amazon) averaged $2600 at 19.  THE NIGHTINGALE (IFC) managed a $1200 average at 39.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The end of summer pickings continue to be slim.  On Wednesday, READY OR NOT (Fox Searchlight/Disney) is an unusual genre piece for its distributor.  On Friday, the franchise installment ANGEL HAS FALLEN (Lionsgate) arrives, along with the Christian-aimed OVERCOMER (Affirm/Sony).  Limited releases include another high-profile Sundance pick-up, BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON (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."