January 11, 2015

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 1/11/15


OPENINGS:  TAKEN 3 (Europa/20th) had a very decent 5% Saturday bump (so much for the movie’s quality affecting word of mouth), and is currently claiming a $40.4M weekend, which would make it the #2 January opening ever, right behind last year’s Ride Along at $41.5M.  In addition, Taken 3 earned another $40.1M in just 35 overseas territories (it’s at $51.4M outside the US).  In short, despite the claims that this was the last of the franchise, Taken will likely continue for as long as Liam Neeson is willing to play the part.

SELMA (Paramount) expanded to wide release at 2179 theatres with $11.2M, which included a strong 24% bump on Saturday.  The weekend total is fair rather than spectacular, but the hope is doubtless that with the Oscar nominations and the Martin Luther King holiday dead ahead, the film is just getting started.

INHERENT VICE (Warners) widened to a semi-wide 645 theatres, and had a not terribly promising $2.9M weekend, giving it a $4500 per-theatre average, less than Selma‘s average at more than triple the number of theatres.  Vice wasn’t very expensive to produce, but it carries hefty marketing costs, because Warners only seems to know one way to sell a film, and it’s an expensive way.  It doesn’t seem likely to change Paul Thomas Anderson’s record as a highly-respected filmmaker whose films don’t make money.

HOLDOVERS:  INTO THE WOODS (Disney) moved into the weekend lead among holiday openings with $9.8M, down 48% from last week’s holiday weekend.  It’s at $105.3M, and still has several weeks of prosperous play ahead (especially if the Golden Globes and/or Oscars show it any love).  It’s on a gradual release pattern overseas, and took in $7.6M this weekend for a $15.3M total.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES (New Line/MGM/Warners) fell 57% from last weekend to $9.4M, giving it $236.5M in the US and a $4.5M edge over The Desolation of Smaug after 26 days of release.  Overseas, it notched another $21.8M, giving it an international total of $545.3M, with China still to come.  Its worldwide total is likely to fall in the same $900M-1B range as the other Hobbit spectacles.

UNBROKEN (Universal/Legendary) dropped 54% to $8.4M, giving it a $101.6M US total.  Like Into the Woods, Unbroken is taking its time with international release, where it earned $5.7M this weekend for a $14M total in 24 markets.

THE IMITATION GAME (Weinstein) made a big Oscar nomination push by more than doubling its run to 1566 theatres.  As a result, it was down only 2% from last weekend to $7.6M, putting it at $40.8M and in a position to become 2014’s top indie in a few weeks.  Fellow awards hopeful WILD (Fox Searchlight) hung in there, falling 41% to $2.7M, with $30.3M so far.

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB (20th) didn’t quite hit the $100M mark, down 54% to $6.7M and at $99.5M.  It also earned 46.7M overseas (that includes its China opening), and has an international total of $148.6 from 47 territories.   ANNIE (Columbia/Sony) dropped 56% to $4.9M, giving it $79.4M so far.  Annie opened in China this week, but those numbers haven’t been made available yet.  In 19 other territories, it took in $1.4M for a $19.4M total.

WOMAN IN BLACK 2: ANGEL OF DEATH (Relativity) plummeted 68% from its opening to $4.8M.  On the other end of the box office universe, THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART I (Lionsgate) inched closer to becoming the US’s #1 2014 opening, dropping 50% to $3.8M and now at $329.5M, just $3.6M behind Guardians of the Galaxy.

LIMITED RELEASE:  AMERICAN SNIPER (Warners) did something no other film in history has ever done:  had a third consecutive weekend with a per-theatre average above $100K (this weekend it was at $139K, down 18%).  Of course, few movies with that kind of demand have ever remained in just 4 theatres for so long a period, but nevertheless it’s a pretty amazing accomplishment.  Also spectacular: its $14.6M total from Italy alone.  Nothing else could touch Sniper, but A MOST VIOLENT YEAR (A24) held very well at its own 4-theatre run, down 30% from last weekend and with a $30K per-theatre average.  MR. TURNER (Sony Classics) increased its theatre count by about 40% to 39 and had a $6200 average.  TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT (IFC) widened to 14 theatres with a $5100 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The holiday weekend brings (finally) the national expansion of American Sniper, as well as a trio of movies aimed at contrasting audiences:  thriller BLACKHAT (Universal), comedy THE WEDDING RINGER (Screen Gems/Sony) and family movie PADDINGTON (Weinstein).  In addition, Julianne Moore’s Oscar vehicle STILL ALICE (Sony Classics) enters real release (discounting its 1-week qualification run last month), and look for several of the other hopeful nominees to expand their runs as well.

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."