April 14, 2019

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office


OPENINGS:  LITTLE (Legendary/Universal) led the weekend’s weak crop of newcomers with $15.5M, buoyed by a 15% Saturday bump.  That’s about 15% below the recent opening of What Men Want, which was aimed at a somewhat older audience, and suggests an OK $45M US total.  It had a limited overseas opening in 11 markets, where the $1.9M total suggests challenges ahead.

HELLBOY (Millenium/Summit/Lionsgate) bombed with $12M on production/marketing costs of $125M or so, and probably won’t reach $35M in the US.  It’s not likely to be rescued overseas, either, based on its $10.1M opening in 40 territories.

AFTER (Aviron) had a $6.2M start and probably won’t see $20M in the US.  The producers are therefore talking up its international opening, where it earned $12.3M in 28 markets.  Costs were low, so that rollout will determine the film’s financial fate.

MISSING LINK (Laika/Annapurna/United Artists/MGM) limped to a $5.8M launch, less than half the previous low for a wide-opening Laika production, $12.6M for Kubo and the Two Strings.  A $25M US total won’t get it very far, and the stop-motion studio’s films don’t have a history of overperforming internationally.

THE MUSTANG (Focus/Universal) took a step into the low edge of wide release at 527 theatres.  Its weekend was under $800K, which translated into a quiet per-theatre average of $1500.

HOLDOVERS:  SHAZAM (DC/New Line/Warners) easily took the weekend with a 53% drop to $23.1M.  Many of DC’s recent movies have notoriously crashed in their 2nd weekends, and Shazam certainly held better than Batman v Superman (-69%) or Suicide Squad (-67%), but not as well as Wonder Woman (-43%).  It’s heading for $140M in the US.  Internationally, it’s quickly running out of steam with $163.9M after a $35.9M weekend in all major territories except Japan (that includes an ugly 84% drop in China).  It seems unlikely to reach $400M worldwide, but with relatively moderate costs, that should be enough to justify a sequel.

PET SEMATARY (Paramount) fell an unsurprising 59% to $10M in Weekend 2, on its way to $60M in the US.  It’s in a similar place overseas, where it’s at $35.7M after a $12.6M weekend in all major markets except Brazil and Italy.  A worldwide total of $125M should provide a bit of profit.

DUMBO (Disney) lost another 50% to $9.2M in its 3rd weekend, with a likely ceiling of $110M.  International isn’t helping enough, with $177M to date after a $22M weekend in all major territories.  Dumbo has $300M+ in costs, and isn’t destined to break even.

CAPTAIN MARVEL (Marvel/Disney), likely aided by the increasing drumbeat for Avengers: Endgame, is holding extremely well, down down 31% to $8.6M in Weekend 6.  That’s better than Black Panther, which dipped 36% on the parallel weekend.  A $400M US total is within its sights.  Overseas, it’s at $678M after an $8M weekend in all major markets, and has a chance of hitting $1.1B worldwide before Endgame explodes the box office.

US (Blumhouse/Perfect World/Universal) fell 50% to $6.9M in its 4th weekend, and will end up almost exactly at Get Out‘s $176M US total despite an opening weekend that was more than twice as high.  Overseas, it’s at $72.5M after a $4.4M weekend in 61 territories, and will also finish very close to Get Out‘s $79.4M.

THE BEST OF ENEMIES (STX) dropped 55% to $2M in its 2nd weekend, unable to muster the word of mouth it desperately needed, and probably won’t hit $15M in the US, with little likely international appeal.

LIMITED RELEASE:  There were no breakout arrivals, with HER SMELL (Gunpowder & Sky) narrowly leading the bunch with a $13K per-theatre average at 3 NY arthouses.  The weekend’s other rock drama TEEN SPIRIT (Bleecker Street), boosted by an unusually intensive program of in-theatre Q&As, averaged $11K at 4 in NY/LA.  WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY (Greenwich) averaged $11K at 3.  The critically-hailed LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT (Kino-Lorber) had a $9300 average at 3.  The widest new release, MARY MAGDALENE (IFC) only managed a $1000 average at 62.  AMAZING GRACE (Neon) expanded to 58 with a $6400 average.  HIGH LIFE (A24) averaged $6400 at 32.  DIANE (IFC, also on streaming) widened to 64 with a $1300 average  THE CHAPERONE (PBS) averaged $2K at 33.  PETERLOO (Amazon), now at 32, averaged $1100.

NEXT WEEKEND:  With the Good Friday/Easter Sunday weekend ahead, a pair of family-friendly films arrive on Wednesday:  the Christian-themed BREAKTHROUGH (20th) and the nature documentary PENGUINS (Disney).  On Friday, THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA (New Line/Warners) will try to make a few horror bucks in the waning days before Endgame.  Limited releases include LITTLE WOODS (Neon) and RED JOAN (IFC).

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."