October 16, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 10/16/16


OPENINGS:  The biggest arrival of the weekend is still 2 weeks away from reaching the US.  INFERNO (Columbia/Sony), the latest in the DaVinci Code/Angels & Demons franchise, opened in 53 markets comprising about 2/3 of the world with $50M.  That’s a solid start, but suggests that when the movie goes worldwide (except for France) on October 28, it will be somewhat short of Angels‘s $352.6M foreign total, let alone Da Vinci‘s $540.7M.  In Inferno‘s favor, though is the fact that its production budget was reportedly $75M less than the cost of the first two films.

Back in the US, THE ACCOUNTANT (RatPac/Warners) notched the win with $24.7M, basically the same as last week’s $24.5M for The Girl On The TrainAccountant was very slightly stronger on Saturday, with a 5% bump instead of Train‘s 3%, and for the moment, the studio is forecasting a stronger Sunday hold, down 36% instead of 40%.  But just as Girl had direct competition from The Accountant this weekend (and suffered for it, as seen below), Accountant will have to face off with Jack Reacher: Never Go Back next week and Inferno the week after that, so the trajectories will likely be very similar, putting both at $75M in the US, and needing international help to turn a profit on production/marketing costs of around $125M.  Acccountant has barely kicked off its foreign campaign with $2.8M from 10 small markets.

KEVIN HART: WHAT NEXT? (Universal) started with $12M, technically better than the $10M opening weekend for Hart’s last concert movie Let Me Explain, but that one started on the Wednesday of July 4th weekend and already had earned $7.4M before Friday arrived.  Explain ended up at $32.2M in the US (it barely ran overseas), and What Next should be similar, which may be problematic since Universal gave it a full-scale marketing campaign that certainly exceeded the $10M production cost (although digital revenue should be strong).  On the other hand, Kevin Hart is a huge piece of talent for the studio thanks to the Ride Along series (not to mention being a key voice in The Secret Life of Pets), so even if Universal takes a small haircut on his concert movie, it’s well worth the cost.

MAX STEEL (Open Road) barely registered with $2.2M.  The studio didn’t cover production costs, and its fate will depend on whether it picked up the tab for the low-key marketing campaign.

HOLDOVERS:  As noted, the crowded adult-thriller line-up didn’t help the 2d weekend of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (DreamWorks/Reliance/Universal), which fell 51% to $12M, on the way to $70-75M in the US.  (By comparison, Gone Girl slipped just 30% on its sophomore weekend.)  It also has a mild $33.1M overseas after a $9M weekend.

THE BIRTH OF A NATION (Fox Searchlight) collapsed in Weekend 2, down 61% to $2.7M, which is a terrible result for what was intended as a prestigious awards season title.  Birth may barely earn out Searhlight’s $17.5M purchase price, and that doesn’t touch the cost of its national marketing campaign.  Awards hopes are probably in the dust.

MIDDLE SCHOOL: THE WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE (CBS/Lionsgate) held quite well, down 38% to $4.3M.  A $25M US total isn’t much to cheer about, especially since foreign prospects are probably limited, but digital revenues may help.

MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (TSG/20th) dropped 41% to $8.9M in the US, and it might reach $85M.  That’s not much compared to its $225M in total costs, but it may be saved internationally, where it’s at $130.9M after a $23.5M weekend in almost all of the world except Italy and Japan (and China, where it may not be permitted a run).

No such luck for DEEPWATER HORIZON (Participant/Summit/Lionsgate), which had costs similar to Miss Peregrine, but which is on track for $65M in the US after a 45% drop to $6.4M, and which has only $27.7M overseas.

STORKS (Warners Animation) is holding its own, down 33% to $5.6M and likely to reach $75M in the US.  Overseas it’s at $71.6M after a $10.6M weekend in 58 markets, but those aren’t the kinds of numbers that give birth to new franchises.

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (Village Roadshow/MGM/Columbia/Sony) dropped 42% to $5.2M, and will run out of steam in the US before reaching $100M.  The bigger problem is that it’s at only $63.9M overseas, and that probably means red ink on total costs of $200M.

SULLY (Village Roadshow/Warners), the one clear hit of the fall, continues its route to $125-130M in the US, down 41% to $3M, and with a less exciting $57.2M overseas.

LIMITED RELEASE:  DESIERTO (STX) opened at 73 theatres with a soft $6200 per-theatre average.  CERTAIN WOMEN (IFC) started at just 5 NY/LA arthouses, and in that context a $13K average doesn’t suggest much promise.  DENIAL (Bleecker Street) expanded to 96 with a $4100 average.  A MAN CALLED OWE (Music Box) averaged $2600 after widening to 78.  AMERICAN HONEY (A24) wasn’t able to turn its strong reviews into ticket sales, averaging $1100 after an expansion to 125.

NEXT WEEKEND:  An assortment of arrivals will try to make an impression before Halloween and Doctor Strange take over.  At multiplexes, Tom Cruise will test his remaining US box office clout with JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK (Skydance/Huahua/Paramount), KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES (20th) will seek a wide comedy audience, and for horror fans there is the scary OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (Universal) and the comic BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN (Lionsgate).  Awards season heats up with limited releases for film festival veterans MOONLIGHT (A24), AMERICAN PASTORAL (Lionsgate) and THE HANDMAIDEN (Amazon/Magnolia).

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."