September 30, 2018

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 9.30.2018


OPENINGS:  NIGHT SCHOOL (Perfect World/Universal) had a surprising 18% Saturday bump (by comparison, both Central Intelligence and Girls Trip dropped 4% on their first Saturdays), suggesting that it’s appealing to a family audience.  That pushed the weekend to $28M, still not in the top rank of Kevin Hart openings ($34-35M for Get Hard, Ride Along 2 and Central Intelligence), but a solid result.  Night School has the comedy field to itself for the next several weeks, so it could reach $85M+ in the US, making it profitable on production/marketing costs in the same vicinity, as long as it can do some business overseas.  It’s just started international release with $5.5M in 19 markets.

SMALLFOOT (Warners Animation) was merely OK with a $23M start, a bit better than the $20.4M for last September’s LEGO Ninjago Movie, but not likely to yield much more than $75M in the US on $150M+ in production/marketing costs.  Its international start was alarmingly low at $14M in 49 territories, although some major markets are still to open, including China, Russia and the UK.

The low-budget HELL FEST (CBS/Lionsgate) was muted at $5.1M, and may not get past $10M in the US, making breakeven even at its price point a question mark.

LITTLE WOMEN (Pinnacle/Pure Flix) had a barely wide release at 643 theatres and barely registered with a $750K weekend.

HOLDOVERS:  Even though Smallfoot had a low-key start, it seemed to be enough to dent THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS (Reliance/Universal), which dropped 53% in its 2nd weekend to $12.5M, and seems to be headed to a mild $70M in the US on roughly $125M in costs.  It’s also sluggish overseas, with $21M after a $9.4M weekend in 43 markets.

A SIMPLE FAVOR (Lionsgate) had a strong hold, down 36% in its 3rd weekend to $6.6M, possibly on course for $60M in the US on moderate costs.  It also has $19.8M overseas to date.

THE NUN (New Line/Warners) continues to hold well for the horror genre, down 46% in its 4th weekend to $5.4M, as it heads toward $120M in the US.  It’s much bigger overseas, where its $221M total (25% of that from Spanish-speaking markets) after a $16.4M weekend in 80 territories that don’t include China has pushed it worldwide to $330M, tops in the Conjuring franchise.

CRAZY RICH ASIANS (SK Global/Warners) slipped just 35% in its 7th weekend to $4.2M, and if it can hold onto its theatres, it should reach $175M in the US.  It also has $53.2M overseas.

THE PREDATOR (TSG/20th) fell 60% in its 3rd weekend to $3.7M, and probably won’t get past $55M in the US.  The $68.2M it’s earned overseas won’t make up the shortfall on costs of $150M+.

WHITE BOY RICK (Studio 8/Columbia/Sony) lost 51% on its 3rd weekend to $2.4M, on its way to a weak $25M US total.  Overseas release hasn’t yet begun.

There was no good news for last week’s flops, none of which will see $10M in the US.  FAHRENHEIT 11/9 (Briarcliff) fell 63% to $1.1M, LIFE ITSELF (Amazon) dropped 64% to $770K, and ASSASSINATION NATION (Neon) crashed by 81% to a horrible $200K (that meant a per-theatre weekend average under $200).

LIMITED RELEASE:  FREE SOLO (NatGeo) had a triumphant start with a $75K per-theatre average at 4.  THE OLD MAN & THE GUN (Fox Searchlight) was less exciting but still solid with a $30K average at 5.  The documentary MATANGA/MAYA/MIA (Abramorama) debuted with a $26K average at 2.  MONSTERS & MEN (Neon) averaged $7K at 18.  ALL ABOUT NINA (The Orchard) premiered with a $7700 average at 4.  Among holdovers, THE WIFE (Sony Classics) was notably strong with a 13% drop (despite losing 7% of its theatres) that gave it a $1800 average at 437, and $6.1M to date.  COLETTE (Bleecker Street) expanded to 38 theatres with an $11K average.  THE SISTERS BROTHERS (Annapurna) averaged $9K at 27.  BLAZE (IFC) averaged $1100 at 89.  TEA WITH THE DAMES (IFC) widened to 19 with a $2400 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The Fall movie season gets into gear with the arrivals of VENOM (Columbia/Sony) and A STAR IS BORN (Warners).  In addition, THE HATE U GIVE (20th) begins a 2-week limited run before going wide.

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."