November 26, 2017

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 11.26.2017


OPENINGS:  3-day weekend totals were largely in line with where they were headed on Friday night.  COCO (Pixar/Disney) settled in at $49M ($71.2M since Wednesday).  On a 3-day basis, that was almost exactly the same as Tangled‘s $48.8M, suggesting that Coco should land at $200M in the US.  That would put it in the bottom half of Pixar releases, although much better than June’s Cars 3 and its $152.9M.  Animated releases typically have a more gradual international roll-out than action blockbusters, and Coco is in only 22 territories to date, where it had a $30.7M weekend for a $82.2M total (which includes its record $53.4M from Mexico).

ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ (Columbia/Sony) expanded badly to 1665 theatres, where it averaged $2700 per theatre over the 3-day weekend and totaled $4.5M.  Unless Denzel Washington can make a serious Oscar run–which seems unlikely at this point–the film may not make it to the next set of holidays.

3 BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (Fox Searchlight) had a strong expansion to a quasi-wide 614 theatres with a $7200 per-theatre average and $4.4M total, just a bit under the $8100 average Little Miss Sunshine had at 691, on its way to $59.9M in the US.

LADY BIRD (A24) stumbled a bit as it widened to 791 theatres with a $5100 average and $4M total, although that was still in the range of Brooklyn, which averaged $4700 at 845 on its way to a healthy $38.3M.  A24 will play the next several weeks carefully as critics’ awards start to roll in, striving to keep the weekly per-theatre average at a solid level while Academy voters are paying attention.

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS (Bleecker Street) had little holiday spirit, averaging $2100 at 626 theatres for a $1.3M weekend.

HOLDOVERS:  JUSTICE LEAGUE (RatPac/DC/Warners) fell 57% from last weekend to $40.7M, which wasn’t terrible for a Weekend 2 Thanksgiving drop (Catching Fire, in the same slot, lost 53%, and various Twilight and Harry Potter chapters were down 60-70%), but was much worse than last year’s Fantastic Beasts, which declined 39% in that slot.  It’s at $171.5M in the US, and seems unlikely to get much above $250M.  Not only would that be the worst result for this group of DC titles (around 20% below Man Of Steel), but more embarrassingly, it would put the purported mega-buster at only #12 in the Marvel universe.  It’s not going to be rescued overseas, either, where it’s at $309.8M after a $72.2M weekend in all major markets.  At best, Justice League may be headed to $700M worldwide, and if it doesn’t get past $668M, it’ll be the worst DC performer (and out of the Top 10 compared to Marvel titles).  With $450M in production/marketing costs, not including other expenses like interest and distribution costs, it’s not clear whether $700M would even bring the film to breakeven, and anything less than that would almost certainly mean red ink.

WONDER (Participant/Walden/Lionsgate) is the little movie that could, down just 19% from last week’s opening to $22.3M, and destined to reach $100M+ in the US on costs that may not get that high.  It’s barely begun its international run at this point.

THOR: RAGNAROK (Marvel/Disney) declined 23% on its 4th weekend to $16.8M, and should pass $300M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $512.6M after an $11M weekend.  Worldwide, it should rank between Guardians of the Galaxy 2 ($863.6M) and the first Guardians ($773.3M), up about 30% from Thor: The Dark World as the Marvel machine keeps humming along.

DADDY’S HOME 2 (Paramount) is reaching the family comedy audience, down 8% from last weekend to $13.3M as it climbs its way to the $100M neighborhood, still down one-third from the first Daddy’s Home and with profitability unclear on $150M in production/marketing costs.  It’s in only 24 territories overseas to date, and has a $15M total after a $13.8M weekend.

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (20th) dipped just 6% in its 3rd weekend to $13M, also hoping to brush past $100M in the US.  It’s robust overseas as well, with $122.6M after a $17.2M weekend, and with several significant markets still to open.

Despite the available family audience over the holiday, THE STAR (Affirm/Sony) was blasted by Coco and fell 30% to $6.9M.  It may not get much past $35M in the US, and hasn’t yet had a meaningful run overseas.

A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS (H Brothers/STX) dropped 28% to $5M in the US, on its way to a $70M total, which would be almost a 40% fall from the first Bad Moms.  However, that shortfall is being made up overseas, where it’s at $92.8M after a $4M weekend–already better than the original’s $70.7M international total–and still has some of Europe and Latin America left to open.  So this franchise may still have some life in it.

LIMITED RELEASE:  As expected, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Sony Classics) crossed the magic line, at least in studio estimates, with a $101K per-theatre average in its 4 NY/LA arthouses for the weekend, the highest of the year.  It should be in the forefront of critics’ awards choices, and Sony Classics will hope to reap the benefits of that attention as the film rolls out to less metropolitan areas.  Compared to that, the $44K average for DARKEST HOUR (Focus/Universal) at 4 in NY and LA looked a bit meager, but that’s still a solid opening.  (Darkest Hour opened on Wednesday and has an additional $17.5K average from those extra 2 days.)  LAST FLAG FLYING (Amazon/Lionsgate) widened to 98 theatres with a thud and a $1900 average.  That looked stellar, though, compared to NOVITIATE (Sony Classics), which managed a paltry $600 average at 120.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The studios follow the adage that the next 2 weeks are for holiday shopping, so there will be little in the way of wide releases.  Awards hopefuls, though, will continue to arrive.  This week it’s THE DISASTER ARTIST (A24) and WONDER WHEEL (Amazon).  In addition, THE SHAPE OF WATER (Fox Searchlight) will depart from the distribution norm, opening only in NY (where a busy schedule of in-theatre Q&As will boost the per-theatre average) before arriving in LA the following week.

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."