January 10, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 1/10/16


OPENINGS:  THE REVENANT (Regency/20th) had an impressive $38M start, the #5 January wide opening ever (although tomorrow’s final numbers could send it below Lone Survivor‘s $37.8M, the comp it wanted to beat).  Survivor made it to $125.1M, and Revenant could do the same, especially fueled by what now seems like a can’t-miss campaign for Leonardo DiCaprio to win his first Oscar.  However, Revenant cost twice as much to produce as Survivor, so it will still need an enthusiastic international run–and remarkably, despite having just begun overseas in 10 territories, it’s already ahead of Survivor outside the US, $20.2M to $19.7M.

THE FOREST (Gramercy/Focus/Universal) deserves some credit for rising 5% on Saturday (The Revenant was barely better at 6%), unusual for low-budget horror.  Even so, that pushed it to only $13.1M, a bit better than expected, but below last January’s $15M start for Woman In Black 2Forest will probably end up in the moderately profitable $20Ms neighborhood of its ilk.  It hasn’t yet arrived overseas.

There was a reason that CAROL (Weinstein) stayed in a small arthouse release for as long as it did, because absent more awards steam than it currenty has, it’s a tiny film with limited popular appeal.  With Golden Globe and Oscar nomination hopes, it expanded to a barely-wide footprint at 525 theatres, and managed a bland $2800 per-theatre average.  (By comparison, when Brooklyn expanded to a wider 845 theatres, it had a $4700 average.)  With $7M after a $1.5M weekend, it’s still not clear whether Carol can beat director Todd Haynes’ 2002 Far From Heaven and its $15.9M.

HOLDOVERS:  Despite the challenge from The Revenant, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (Lucasfilm/Disney) still controlled the multiplexes with $41.6M, giving it $812M in the US, and with every dollar setting a new US record.  Its 54% drop in its 4th weekend was perfectly fine (especially coming after a holiday weekend), but now it’s clear that its trajectory will be completely different from Avatar‘s, which dropped a tiny 27% in the parallel weekend.  Force will instead play like a summer blockbuster, which suggests it may end up around $900M in the US.  At least as important to Disney is that Force opened big in China, setting a Sat/Sun record at $52.6M.  (Unlike in the US, films in China can open on practically any day of the week.)  Star Wars has never been a pop culture event in China, so this represents a triumph for the Disney team.  Force‘s $104.3M international weekend put it at $1.73B worldwide, the #3 movie ever behind Titanic and Avatar (not adjusting for inflation), and with a solid chance of moving past Titanic‘s $2.13B ($2.19B if the 3D re-release is included), although Avatar‘s $2.79B looks like a galaxy too far.

DADDY’S HOME (Red Granite/Paramount) fell 49% to $15M for a $116.3M total, and there’s a chance it could top the $148.2M of Talladega Nights to become Will Ferrell’s biggest live-action hit behind Elf.  It’s also at $37.9M overseas after a $10.2M weekend in 30 markets.

SISTERS (Universal) held very well, down 44% from last week’s holiday weekend to $7.2M, and $74.9M so far.  It’s already Tina Fey’s 2d biggest star vehicle behind Date Night‘s $98.7M.  Overseas, it earned $3.4M from 21 markets for a quiet $8.2M total.

The arrival of The Revenant was terrible news for THE HATEFUL EIGHT (Weinstein), which expanded its run by 464 theatres and still plunged 60% to $6.4M for the weekend.  Its $41.5M total to date means that it may not reach $60M in the US, and its $14.5M start in 13 overseas territories isn’t wildly promising.

THE BIG SHORT (Regency/Paramount) did a better job of expanding, adding 941 theatres and slipping just 31% from the holiday weekend to $6.3M.  It has $42.9M so far (plus a modest $9.7M overseas after a $4.6M weekend in 24 markets), and if it can pull off the mild upset of beating The Martian for the Comedy/Musical Golden Globe, it has a month or more of solid box office ahead.

ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP (20th) deflated by 54% to $5.5M, for a $75.6M total that will make it by far the least profitable of the franchise.  Overseas, it has an unimpressive $36.2M after $5.8M in 24 territories.

JOY (Annapurna/20th) ends David O. Russell’s great streak, dropping 56% to $4.5M for a $46.6M US total (plus $24.1M after a very mild $7.5M weekend in 45 markets).  CONCUSSION (Columbia/Sony) lost 61% for a $3.1M US weekend and $31M total.  POINT BREAK (Alcon/Warners) is dead in the US, down 69% to $2.1M for a $26.7M total, and its $58.4M overseas is nothing to celebrate either.

LIMITED RELEASE:  With the exception of Carol, most of the awards hopefuls more or less stayed put.  ANOMALISA (Paramount) widened to 17 theatres with an OK $13K average.  45 YEARS (IFC) added 3 theatres for a total of 9 with a soft $10K average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The Martin Luther King holiday weekend features RIDE ALONG 2 (Universal), which is expected to seize the box office lead from Force Awakens, along with 13 HOURS (Paramount) and NORM OF THE NORTH (Lionsgate).

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."