November 23, 2014

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 11/23/14


OPENINGS:  It’s official:  THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART I (Lionsgate) opened to $123M in the US, down 20% from the first Hunger Games and down 23% from Catching Fire.  That’s still the #1 opening of the year by 23% (beating Transformers: Age of Extinction), and the 15th biggest opening ever, but there’s no way to spin the numbers in a way that isn’t disappointing.  The question will be whether Mockingjay 2 rises in its final stanza (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows gained $85M in its last go-round, and Twilight: Breaking Dawn was up a more modest $11M).  It’s unlikely that the falter of Mockingjay 1 will make any studio in a similar position second-guess splitting its ultimate chapter into 2 movies, since even at a slightly diminished rate, it’s going to be hugely profitable for Lionsgate.  The studio claims that Mockingjay 1‘s $152M overseas opening (in a few territories, the movie opened on Wednesday) is up 4% on a territory-by-territory basis from Catching Fire, although release patterns and currency changes make those kinds of comparisons extremely difficult to verify.  (Catching Fire opened in 63 territories, compared to Mockingjay 1‘s 85, with $138.4M.)  In any case, clearly the franchise is holding better on an international basis, and it still has China, Japan and India to come.  The worldwide opening of $275M is also the 15th biggest of all time.  If Mockingjay 1 has the same opening-weekend-to-final-gross multiple in the US that the first 2 Hunger Games installments did, it would end up at $330M, neck-and-neck with Guardians of the Galaxy as the year’s #1 movie.

HOLDOVERS:  Nothing remotely challenged Mockingjay for the weekend’s crown, but the rest were led by BIG HERO 6 (Disney), which lost 42% to $20.1M.  It’s on track for $185M in the US, which would put it just around the total of Wreck-It Ralph, but below Tangled and of course Frozen among recent Disney November animations.  Overseas, Big Hero 6 is still in just 23 markets, where it earned $7M for a $49.5M total.

INTERSTELLAR (Paramount/Warners) is proving extremely lopsided in terms of US vs overseas success.  Here it fell 47% to $15.1M and will hope to reach $150M, but internationally it earned another $70M in 64 territories for a tremendous $329M total.  Worldwide it’s at $449.7M and is aiming at $600M.

Neither of last weekend’s openings held well.  DUMB AND DUMBER TO (Red Granite/Universal) plunged 62% to $13.8M, although at $57.5M it’s still headed for $85M in the US, not anything to feel bad about.  (It also took in $2.2M in its first 4 overseas markets.)  BEYOND THE LIGHTS (Relativity) fell 58% to $2.6M, and will soon vanish, with a total that won’t get much past $15M.

GONE GIRL (20th) and ST VINCENT (Weinstein) continue to thrive in their longrunning decline, both down 38% from last weekend. Gone Girl earned $2.8M in the US for a $156.8M total, and also $2.4M in 31 overseas territories for $171.4M.  Its worldwide $327.7M puts it within reach of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button‘s $333.9M as David Fincher’s biggest global hit ever.

BIRDMAN (Fox Searchlight) fell just 25% from last weekend to $1.9M, but its $2200 per theatre average and $14.4M total to date threaten to marginalize it as an “art house” item as awards season kicks in after Thanksgiving.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The Iranian vampire movie (yes) A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (Kino) started nicely with a $12K average at 2 NY/LA theatres.  The rest of the action was in expansions.  THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING (Focus/Universal) grew to 140 theatres with a moderate $11K average. FOXCATCHER (Sony Classics) spread to 24 theatres with an average that underwhelmingly didn’t reach $20K.  THE HOMESMAN (Roadside) showed little potential with an increase to 33 theatres that yielded a $2400 average.  Meanwhile, WHIPLASH (Sony Classics) shed about 20% of its theatres and had a $1600 average.  ROSEWATER (Open Road), which chose a semi-wide release of 371 theatres from the start, took a dive with a 50% drop in its 2d weekend and a $1600 average.


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."