October 9, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 10/9/16


OPENINGS:  THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (DreamWorks/Reliance/Universal) didn’t have much of a Saturday bump, rising just 2% (that compares to 15% for the 2d day of Gone Girl), suggesting that word of mouth is less than stellar.  The result was a $24.7M weekend that was lower than originally anticipated, and early international results of $16.5M in 34 territories were also somewhat soft.  Nevertheless, production and global marketing costs are in the reasonable neighborhood of $150M, so with a fair amount of the world left to open, there’s still a clear path to profit for the thriller.

Much has already been written about THE BIRTH OF A NATION (Fox Searchlight), and given its opening day performance, there weren’t any surprises in its $7.1M weekend total.  Despite strong exit polling, the film appeared to be front-loaded (probably due to all the advance controversy), with a slight 3% increase from Friday to Saturday.  There is the possibility for some upside from the studio estimate if a large chunk of Birth ticketbuyers attend after church on Sunday, which wouldn’t be unusual for the African-American demo (the first Sunday of the run for Precious dipped just 16%), but even if the number rises by as much as $1M, that’s still not an exciting result.  Birth‘s only real hope to stay in the awards conversation is to have a strong hold next weekend, when Searchlight will presumably try to add a few hundred more theatres.  If it fails to demonstrate enthusiastic word of mouth, it may be gone by November, and Searchlight may be out a record-setting deal price.

MIDDLE SCHOOL: THE WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE (CBS/Lionsgate) opened weakly at $6.9M, and although costs were low, it’s unlikely to get much past $20M in the US, which won’t pay its production and marketing costs.

HOLDOVERS:  MISS PEREGRINE’S SCHOOL FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (TSG/20th) had a reasonable 48% drop to $15M, but it’s still on track for around $80M in the US, not sufficient considering its $225M+ costs.  The good news is that it’s performing strongly overseas, with a $94M total after a $42.5M weekend virtually worldwide (Italy and Japan are among the remaining markets).  That’s not going to make for a box office bonanza, but at least Peregrine may avoid red ink.

The same can’t be said for DEEPWATER HORIZON (Participant/Summit/Lionsgate), down 42% to $11.8M, with an ultimate US total of $65M likely.  Deepwater cost as much as Miss Peregrine, but it’s far weaker overseas, at a mere $27.8M after a $10.6M weekend in 70 territories that cover most of the world.

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (Village Roadshow/MGM/Columbia/Sony) continues to slog, down 41% to $9.2M, with a $100M US total probably too far to aim.  It, too, is fatally weak overseas, now in 68 markets with $58.7M after a $6.9M weekend.

STORKS (RatPac/Warner Animation) again held well on a low base, down 37% to $8.5M and hoping to hit $75M in the US.  It still has some big markets to open overseas, including France and the UK, but so far it’s at a mediocre $56M after a $9.7M weekend in 55 territories.

SULLY (RatPac/Village Roadshow/Warners) stayed on the path to $130M in the US, down 36% to $5.2M.  Overseas it’s at $53.7M after a $3.2M weekend in 55 markets, a number that should grow somewhat once it’s opened in the UK, much of Europe and Brazil.

With no other adult comedies in the market, MASTERMINDS (Relativity) held surprisingly well, down just 37%, but that still put it at just $4.1M for the weekend, and a hope perhaps of reaching a $25M total.

LIMITED RELEASES:  There were no major new openings.  DENIAL (Bleecker Street) had an OK expansion to 31 theatres with a $7400 per-theatre average.  AMERICAN HONEY (A24) widened less effectively, averaging $3500 at 25.  The lower-profile A MAN CALLED OWE (Music Box) averaged $3500 at 27.

NEXT WEEKEND:  THE ACCOUNTANT (Warners) is the latest adult thriller to hit the market, while the comedy concert movie KEVIN HART: WHAT NOW? (Universal) aims younger.  Younger still will be the family audience for MAX STEEL (Open Road).  Sundance title CERTAIN WOMEN (IFC) enters limited release.


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."