November 27, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 11/27/16


OPENINGS:  MOANA (Disney Animation) notched the #2 5-day Thanksgiving opening of all time with $81.1M (unless tomorrow’s finals put it behind Toy Story 2‘s $80.1M), and it should easily hit $250M before it’s done, especially since Universal’s Sing is its only serious family competition for the holiday season.  Its international release is going to be gradual, and began with $16.3M in 12 markets, including a soft $12.3M in China.

ALLIED (GK/Huahua/Paramount) managed only $18M in 5 days, a weak start for a project with around $175M in production/marketing costs.  The really scary number, though is the $9.4M overseas opening.  That’s in just 23 territories, but it includes what should have been powerhouses for this WWII movie like the UK and France.  Allied arrives in China next weekend, which will be a critical market if the film is to have much hope of seeing profit.

BAD SANTA 2 (Broad Green) exposes the risks in rebooting something that wasn’t a franchise or a giant hit ($76.5M worldwide) to begin with, 13 years later.  It struggled to $9M over 5 days, and it’s not going to have much international appea.  Although it wasn’t particularly expensive, there are still likely to be $60M or so in worldwide costs that will go down the drain.

RULES DON’T APPLY (Regency/20th) was misguided in every way, a period piece with no clear narrative hook, featuring two young leads without proven box office credentials and a 79-year old auteur/demi-star who’s a bigger name these days on TCM than in multiplexes, and unable to draw more than polite reviews.  Warren Beatty’s passion project took in an awful $2.2M over 5 days, and theatres will start bailing out as soon as their contracts with 20th permit.

HOLDOVERS:  FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (Warners) held up well despite the assault of Moana, with $45.1M over the 3-day weekend to put it at $156.2M.  That’s better than the 2d weekend of Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets, which earned $42.2M over the 3-day Thanksgiving weekend and was at $148.4M at this point in its run.  Chamber reached $262M in the US, and with 2 clear weekends ahead until Rogue One arrives, Fantastic may get to $250M+.  Overseas, Fantastic‘s arrivals in China and Japan pushed it to a $132M weekend (now in virtually the entire world) for a $317.5M total.  It now seems likely to get beyond $700M worldwide, and could possibly get as high as $800M.  That would likely put it below all the Potter titles (the lowest was Prisoner of Azkaban at $796.7M), but still in fruitful franchise territory.

Thinking of franchises, DOCTOR STRANGE (Marvel/Disney) is tailing off, but still had a $13.4M 3-day weekend and a running US total of $205.1M, and it should get to $225M+.  Overseas, it’s at $410.9M after a $9.8M weekend, and it should finish worldwide in the same neighborhood as Marvel’s previous November opening Thor: The Dark World, which had $644.6M (and which was building on an already-successful sub-franchise, rather than introducing a new character).

ARRIVAL (FilmNation/Paramount) held extremely well even considering the holiday, down just 7% on a 3-day weekend basis to $11.3M.  It’s at $62.4M in the US, and word of mouth could pull it past $85M.  It also has $30.9M overseas after a $6.1M weekend, and with a relatively moderate $125M in worldwide costs, it’s on track to turn a profit.

TROLLS (DreamWorks Animation/20th) was inevitably hurt by the Moana invasion, but held up pretty well with a $10.3M weekend that keeps it on the way to $150-160M in the US.  It’s less good news that the overseas numbers are fairly similar ($155.9M after a $7.2M weekend in 59 markets), since animated spectacles are supposed to make the bulk of their income internationally.

While virtually every other movie in the market is estimating a 40-50% Sunday drop on what’s typically a traveling home day for many Americans, ALMOST CHRISTMAS (Universal) seems to think it’s going to have a 25% increase.  We’ll find out tomorrow if that was a typo in the studio estimates or if the studio knows something we don’t.

HACKSAW RIDGE (Summit/Lionsgate) had a sturdy $5.5M 4th weekend and seems to be headed for $65M in the US.

EDGE OF SEVENTEEN (STX) isn’t showing the signs of strong word of mouth that might have been hoped, and had a standard drop to $3M for the weekend, still unlikely to reach $20M.  However, its studio took the unusual step of running 2-page ads in the NY and LA Times, trying to get Academy and Guild members to take some notice of it as awards season begins.

LIMITED RELEASE:  LION (Weinstein) had a moderately promising start with a $32K per-theatre average at 4 NY/LA arthouses.  MISS SLOANE (Europa) was less impressive with a $21K average at 3.  MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Amazon/Roadside) expanded well to 48 with a $26K average, very similar to the $28K average Birdman had at 50.  NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (Focus/Universal) widened to 126 with an OK $6500 average, far below the $17K average 12 Years a Slave had at 123.  .  LOVING (Focus/Universal) moved to a near-wide 421 theatres with a $4K average, a bit south of the $5K average Birdman had at 460. ELLE (Sony Classics), now at 36, averaged $3400.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Whether it’s unalterable fact or self-fulfilling prophecy, the next 2 weekends are considered deadly at the box office, and the studios largely stay away.  That’s why the closest thing to a major opening next weekend is the low-budget horror movie INCARNATE (High Top).  However, the curse doesn’t apply to limited releases, and a major Oscar contender arrives in the form of JACKIE (Fox Searchlight).


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."