October 23, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 10/23/16


OPENINGS:  BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN (Lionsgate) took the weekend with $27.6M, Tyler Perry’s biggest start since the $29.3M for 2010’s Why Did I Get Married Too.  Perry’s movies tend to run out of steam quickly, but Boo had an encouraging 24% Saturday bump, and even if Boo only reaches $60M in the US (and as usual gets only a tiny overseas release), it will be quite profitable on a production budget around $20M and a targeted marketing campaign.

Things aren’t nearly as promising for JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK (Skydance/Huahua/Shanghai Film/Paramount), despite the fact that its studio-estimated $23M weekend is higher than the $15.2M launch of the first Jack Reacher.  That movie had a huge multiple from its first weekend because it played through Christmas week, and it also had much better word of mouth, rising 13% on its 2d day of release while Reacher 2 dropped 1%, suggesting that the sequel may not reach its predecessor’s $80.1M US total.  The bigger problem is overseas, which is where Reacher 2 was expected to make all its profit.  A $31M start in 42 markets is no more than mediocre, especially since that includes only $5.6M from China, which as the production entities noted above imply was supposed to be a huge territory for the film.  (Tom Cruise devoted a lot of his time to promoting the China launch.)  It’s still possible that Reacher 2 will exceed the worldwide $218.3M worldwide total of the first movie, but with $175M in production/marketing costs, it has very little room to spare.

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (Blumhouse/Universal) underperformed at $14.1M, considering that the first Ouija opened at $19.9M.  But word of mouth, sparked by strong reviews, may keep Origin buoyant for longer than the ordinary horror sequel, as Origin stayed steady on Saturday, while the first Ouija dropped 8% on its 2d day.  A $40M US total should still allow for some profit on the low-budget production.  Origin also opened in a few territories overseas with $7.9M.

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES (20th) was simply a disaster with a $5.6M opening on production/marketing costs that might reach $100M.  Things were no better overseas with a $2.5M weekend in 22 markets.

DENIAL (Bleecker Street) expanded to 648 theatres with a very mild $1500 per-theatre average.

I’M NOT ASHAMED (Pure Flix), the latest production aimed at the Christian audience, didn’t even do well with its niche, averaging $1800 at 505 theatres.

A pair of films that haven’t hit the US yet are already earning overseas.  TROLLS (DreamWorks Animation/20th) started in 14 territories with $18M.  INFERNO (Columbia/Sony), which has been in wide international release for 2 weeks, is at $94.8M after a $28.9M weekend in 58 territories, and will add China and Japan  in addition to the US next weekend.

HOLDOVERS:  THE ACCOUNTANT (RatPac/Warners) held very well, considering that it faced direct competition from Jack Reacher 2, dropping 43% to $14M.  That’s better than last week’s 50% drop for The Girl On The Train, although in the context of Ben Affleck’s adult-thriller career, it wasn’t as strong as the drops of 35% for The Town, 30% for Gone Girl or 16% for Argo.  An $80M US total would still make the production moderately profitable if it can show some strength overseas, where it’s currently at $10.2M in limited release.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (DreamWorks/Participant/Reliance/Universal) stabilized with a 41% Weekend 3 drop to $7.3M, and it’s still on track for $75M in the US.  In addition, it has $45.1M overseas, and should be able to pull past breakeven.

MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CIHLDREN (TSG/20th) fell 33% to $6M, and may hit $85M in the US.  Luckily for the studio, it’s performing as needed overseas, where it’s at $150M after a $13.5M weekend in 64 markets.  With $225M in total costs, it’s still not going to be a bonanza, but it should just about hit profit.

Not unexpectedly, the bottom dropped out of the concert movie KEVIN HART: WHAT NOW? (Universal), as usually happens with that fan-driven genre.  It fell 65% to $4.1M, and may not match the $32.2M earned by Hart’s last concert movie Let Me Explain, despite a fairly extensive (and costly) marketing campaign.  Chalk this up to talent relations with Hart, a very valuable commodity for the studio.

A trio of fall releases aren’t performing overseas as they desperately needed to.  STORKS (Warners Animation) is holding well in the US, down just 28% to $4.1M and on track for $75M, but the $83.1M international total won’t do more than pay the bills.  DEEPWATER HORIZON (Summit/Lionsgate) is sunk, heading for $65M in the US after a 43% slide to $3.6M, and with only $36.9M overseas on $225M in costs.  THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (Village Roadshow/MGM/Columbia/Sony) may hit $95M in the US after a 55% drop to $2.4M, but $66.5M overseas won’t pay for its $200M costs.

THE BIRTH OF A NATION (Fox Searchlight) is done, down 66% to under $1M for the weekend, and now unlikely even to earn back Searchlight’s $17.5M license fee, let alone the millions in marketing costs, a testament to the fact that there are no sure things.

LIMITED RELEASE:  MOONLIGHT (A24) appears poised to take up the mantle of prestige African-American awards contender, with a spectacular $104K per-theatre average at its 4 NY/LA homes.  Not every big exclusive opening translates to mainstream success (The Master, with a $147K opening average and $16.4M US total comes to mind), but it’s certainly a great start.  AMERICAN PASTORAL (Lionsgate) managed just a $3K average at its 50 theatres.  THE HANDMAIDEN (Amazon/Magnolia), which is far more entertaining than its status as a 2 1/2-hour subtitled costume drama might suggest, started quite well with a $18K average at 5.  DESIERTO (STX) expanded softly to 168 theatres with a $2800 average.  CERTAIN WOMEN (IFC), now in 41 theatres, averaged $3900.  CHRISTINE (Orchard) averaged $3200 at 12.  A MAN CALLED OWE (Music Box) is earning solid word of mouth, averaging $2700 after a small expansion to 96 theatres.

NEXT WEEKEND:  With Doctor Strange, Trolls and Hacksaw Ridge just around the corner to kick off the holiday movie season, the only notable opening is the US release of INFERNO.

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."