October 8, 2017

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 10.8.2017


OPENINGS:  Coming into this weekend, the discussion about BLADE RUNNER 2049 (Alcon/Sony/Warners) was mostly about whether with its critical raves it could exceed expectations by 20% or so and become October’s #1 opening.  But things went in the other direction, and its current $31.5M estimate doesn’t even put it in the month’s Top 20.  In addition, and especially considering its older audience, the 11% drop from Friday to Saturday suggests that it’s not getting the kind of word of mouth it would need for a lengthy run (although it will help that competition is weak through the rest of October).  At this point, 2049 would be lucky to reach $100M in the US, a bad number for a film with $300M in production/marketing costs (mostly paid by Alcon).  The weekend overseas was more respectable at $50.2M, but also not wildly encouraging since it covered almost the entire world except China, Japan and Korea, which will open over the course of the next month.  Keeping in mind that US studios are only allowed to retain a small portion of China box office, 2049 will be struggling just to break even.

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US (20th) had a mild $10.1M start, and it isn’t getting the kind of reviews that would make it the awards contender it was designed to be.  (It doesn’t help that Kate Winslet and Idris Elba both have more promising Oscar candidates in Wonder Wheel and Molly’s Game, respectively.)  It faces competition for the older female audience from Professor Marston and the Wonder Women and Suburbicon over the next several weeks, which are likely to hinder its longevity.  Mountain also earned $3.6M in early overseas release in 11 markets.

MY LITTLE PONY (Lionsgate) didn’t have the Saturday matinee bump that was expected, up just 16% from Friday, and that meant a light $8.8M weekend.  It’s not an expensive enterprise, but despite the popularity of the TV show (or because of it), the film isn’t going to be a breakout hit.  That’s true internationally, too, where Pony took in $3.8M in 49 territories.

THE STRAY (Purdie) is another family film that passed almost entirely under the radar in big cities, but did have a 640-theatre opening.  However, it wasn’t on the general radar either, with a $550K weekend that gave it a per-theatre average under $900.  (My Little Pony, by comparison, averaged $3500.)

VICTORIA & ABDUL (Focus/Universal) had a robust expansion to wide release at 732 theatres, averaging a fine $5700.  That compares well to Philomena, a previous Stephen Frears/Judi Dench collaboration, which averaged $4400 at 835, and which reached $37.7M in the US.  V&A also has $25M from overseas release, mostly from the UK and Australia.

HOLDOVERS:  IT (RatPac/New Line/Warners) continued its march, down 43% in its 5th weekend to $9.7M, and likely to hit $325M in the US.  It’s at $298.8M overseas after a $19.8M weekend in 64 markets (Italy and Japan are coming, but apparently the film won’t be permitted a China run), and at this point is just printing money for Warners.

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE (MARV/20th) is losing steam quickly, down 52% in its 3rd weekend to $8.1M, far worse than the 35% drop for The Secret Service in Weekend 3.  Golden Circle is already running behind Secret Service, and that will accelerate, with the sequel struggling to reach $100M in the US, a 30% drop.  Overseas, Golden Circle is at $173.6M after a $25.5M weekend in 69 territories, well below Secret Service‘s $289.1M, although China (a very big market for the first film) and Japan are among the markets yet to open.

AMERICAN MADE (Cross Creek/Universal) fell 52% in its 2d weekend to $8.1M, and probably won’t reach $50M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $68.1M after more than a month of release.  Between this and The Mummy, 2017 would have to be considered the worst single year of Tom Cruise’s career, so he’s probably counting the days until next July, when the new Mission: Impossible is scheduled to open.

THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE (Warners Animation) wasn’t hurt much by the arrival of My Little Pony, down 42% in its 3rd weekend, but that still only meant $6.8M, and a US total that may not get to $65M, a crushing number compared to the first two LEGO movies ($257.8M/$175.8M).  Its overseas number thus far is $33.6M.

FLATLINERS (Cross Creek/Columbia/Sony) actually held pretty well, considering the awful reviews, down 42%.  But as with LEGO Ninjago, the resulting number was so low–$3.8M–that the movie is still on a losing course, unlikely to get much past $20M in the US.  (It has $6M in early international release.)

BATTLE OF THE SEXES (Fox Searchlight) is quickly collapsing.  Despite increasing its theatre count by about 50%, it fell 30% for the weekend to $2.4M, with a dour $1300 per-theatre average.  It’s going to be hard to hold onto theatres for an Oscar push over the next 2 months, and although reviews were favorable, it seems unlikely to win critics’ awards.

Last week’s pair of niche openings had no staying power.  TILL DEATH DO US PART (Novus) fell 52% to $730K, and A QUESTION OF FAITH (Pure Flix) dropped 58% to $435K.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE FLORIDA PROJECT (A24) had a solid start, averaging $38K at 4 NY/LA arthouses, and will now have to try to build in less critic-minded areas.  FACES PLACES (Cohen) averaged $6K at 5.  LOVING VINCENT (Good Deed) widened to 28 theatres with a fair $5600 average.  MARK FELT (Sony Classics) had a weak expansion to 17 with a $3300 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  There are plenty of openings, but no obvious breakouts:  the Jackie Chan thriller THE FOREIGNER (STX), bios MARSHALL (Open Road) and PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN (Annapurna), and thriller HAPPY DEATH DAY (Blumhouse/Universal).  Limited releases are led by GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (Fox Searchight).


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."