October 30, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 10/30/16


OPENINGS:  As is frequently the case these days, the biggest opening numbers are outside the US.  DOCTOR STRANGE (Marvel/Disney) won’t arrive here until Thursday night, but it’s already racked up $86M in 33 overseas territories covering less than half the world, and not including China or Japan.  It’s a particularly impressive start since Strange is a new character to the Marvel universe who doesn’t yet tie in with the main body of the superhero empire.

TROLLS (DreamWorks Animation/20th) will also turn up in the US on Thursday night, and it’s already at $61.7M after a $30M weekend in 40 foreign markets.  There are still 30 more to open, although the current numbers do include a downbeat $5M opening in China.

As for US releases, all the box office had to offer was the disastrous INFERNO (LStar/Columbia/Sony), which crawled to a terrible $15M weekend.  Luckily, things are more robust overseas, where the Ron Howard thriller is at $132.7M after a $29.1M weekend in 61 territories covering most of the world (including China, which had an OK $13.3M opening).  If Inferno can reach $250M worldwide, its financial state will likely depend on how Howard and Tom Hanks’s deals are structured.  The question of whether they get money off the top may make the difference between possibly breaking even and a pool of red ink.

HOLDOVERS:  BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN (Lionsgate) had an exceptionally good hold for a Tyler Perry movie, down just 42% in its 2d weekend to $16.7M, which was enough to top the domestic weekend box office.  Boo will likely take a steeper dip next week, once Halloween is over and Doctor Strange/Trolls arrive, but it’s still on track to be Perry’s biggest hit since 2009’s Madea Goes To Jail (which earned $90.5M).

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK (Skydance/Huahua/Shanghai Film/Paramount) probably marks the end of Tom Cruise’s misbegotten B franchise.  It sank by 58% in its 2d US weekend to $9.6M, and may not reach $60M.  More disappointingly for its investors, it’s at only $54.2M overseas after an $11.6M weekend in most of the world (including China).  Germany and Japan are among the markets still to open, but the aptly-titled Never Go Back won’t end up anywhere near the $218.3M worldwide total for the first Jack Reacher.

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (Blumhouse/Universal) didn’t benefit much from Halloween weekend (that audience went to Boo), and fell 50% to $7.1M, on its way to a $35-40M US total, which is an OK result given its low costs.  Overseas, it’s at $19.1M after a $8.3M weekend in 42 territories.

If KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES (20th) had found any success when it opened, its 38% Weekend 2 drop might have been noteworthy.  As it is, that only gave it $3.4M, and it still may not reach $20M in the US, a significant loss for the studio on production/marketing costs of around $100M.  Early in its international release, it’s at $5.1M.

THE ACCOUNTANT (RatPac/Warners) led the longer runs, down a fine 38% to $8.5M.  It should end up as the top of the fall’s adult thrillers, narrowly leading The Girl On the Train with about $80M.  Overseas, it’s at $20.7M after a $7.9M weekend in 46 territories that don’t include major markets like the UK and France.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (DreamWorks/Participant/Reliance/Universal), for its part, is still holding well, down 40% in its 4th weekend to $4.3M, and likely to reach $75M.  It’s also earned $56.5M overseas.

MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (TSG/20th) had the lead in the family market for one last US weekend before Trolls arrives, down just 33% to $4M and a US total that could hit $90M.  It has around $225M in costs to recoup, though, so the important number is its $163.6M international take to date ($7.5M this weekend), with China, Japan and Italy still to come.  It still isn’t going to be a box office bonanza, but it should turn a modest profit.

LIMITED RELEASE:  There were no major openings this weekend, but several titles had significant expansions.  MOONLIGHT (A24) widened well to 36 theatres with a $25K per theatre average, not far off the pace of the $28K average Birdman had in 50 theatres–although it should be noted that the studio estimate includes an extraordinarily strong hold on Sunday, so the final figure may come down.  The challenge for the studio will be to keep the film in play through the months that remain of awards season.  A MAN CALLED OWE (Music Box) broadened its run to 150 theatres with a fair $2300 average.  THE HANDMAIDEN (Amazon/Magnolia) averaged $4400 at 76.  CERTAIN WOMEN (IFC) had a $2300 average at 90.  CHRISTINE (Orchard) was more subdued with a $1400 average at 21.

NEXT WEEKEND:  A pair of awards hopefuls arrive on Wednesday:  Mel Gibson’s rehabilitation project HACKSAW RIDGE (Summit/Lionsgate) and documentary THE EAGLE HUNTRESS (Sony Classics).  As noted, Friday brings Doctor Strange and Trolls to the US.



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."