November 6, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 11/6/16


OPENINGS:  DOCTOR STRANGE (Marvel/Disney) did what a Marvel movie is supposed to do.  In the US, its $85M debut was higher than the starts of Captain America and Thor (both $65-66M), and just a hair away from the November opening of Thor 2 ($85.7M), it not quite in a league with the $94.3M for Guardians of the Galaxy.  Its 4% Saturday dip was better than all of those except Thor 2, which was up less than 1% on its 2d day.  It seems to be headed for at least $200M in this market, and not surprisingly, things are even more impressive overseas.  Strange earned $118.7M from 53 territories ($44.4M of it from China), with some of the world still to come, and added to last week’s pre-US take that puts it at $240.4M overseas, with $500M possible.  So the end credits tag setting up Doctor Strange 2 faces no obstacle in its way.

In the US, TROLLS (DreamWorks Animation/20th) had a solid $45.6M opening, slightly ahead of the $44.2M start for last November’s The Peanuts Movie.  (Both also had similar Saturday bounces, 63% for Trolls and 62% for Peanuts.)  That suggests a fair $130M US total.  But overseas business is soft to the point of being alarming:  in 67 markets covering most of the world, it had a $30.3M weekend for a $104M total.  It’s not clear whether there’s enough gas to get it to $200M, and although that would be better than the weak $116.1M Peanuts earned overseas, there’s a reason why no one has put a Peanuts 2 into production.

HACKSAW RIDGE (Cross Creek/Summit/Lionsgate) is hoping for a slow but steady ride at the box office, starting with $14.8M.  Its older audience came out on Saturday for a 11% bump, and exit polling suggests strong word of mouth, so the question is whether it will be able to find a path through the crowded November box office–and whether the Mel Gibson connection is a help or a problem, especially as awards season heats up.  (The film also had a very limited overseas opening in a few territories at around $1M.)

HOLDOVERS:  Even after its holiday expiration date, BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN (Lionsgate) led the holdovers, down 55% to $7.8M, and on track for a robust $80M in the US.  (International results will probably be negligible.)  That will make it Tyler Perry’s biggest hit since the $90.5M for Madea Goes To Jail in 2009.

INFERNO (LStar/Columbia/Sony) had a 58% Weekend 2 slump to $6.3M for a terrible US total that probably won’t pass $40M.  Things are much brighter overseas, where a $11.4M weekend in 61 markets (France is still on the way) puts it at $159.3M, but that will only rescue it from financial failure, not turn it into a success.

THE ACCOUNTANT (RatPac/Warners) had a strong hold, down 30% in its 4th weekend to $6M, keeping it on track for $80-85M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at a moderate $38.5M after a $13.1M weekend in 63 territories.  A $175M worldwide total would probably be enough for a small profit on $125M in production/marketing costs.

The same can’t be said for JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK (Skydance/Huahua/Shanghai/Paramount), down 42% in the US to $5.6M on its way to a $65M total, and with a shockingly low $62.7M international total, less than half of the first Jack Reacher‘s $138.3M overseas take.  It confirms that at this point in his career, Tom Cruise’s star value is confined to Mission: Impossible installments and not much else.

Despite remarkably strong reviews, OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (Blumhouse/Universal) is significantly underperforming the first Ouija.  It’s likely to stop at $40M in the US after a 44% drop to $4M, compared to the original’s $50.9M.  (It also has $33.1M overseas after a $8.3M weekend in 48 markets.)  Given the thrifty Blumhouse model, though, that should still make it mildly profitable.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (DreamWorks/Reliance/Participant/Universal) may end up running even worldwide with The Accountant among the adult fall thrillers.  In the US, it’s set for $75-80M after a 37% drop to $2.8M, and overseas it’s reached $69.9M after a weekend at $8.5M.

LIMITED RELEASE:  LOVING (Focus/Universal) had a solid if unspectacular start with a $42K per-theatre average in 4 NY/LA arthouses.  THE EAGLE HUNTRESS (Sony Classics) opened at 4 theatres with a $13.5K average.    MOONLIGHT (A24) continued its steady platform expansion, now with a $16K average at 83, in the same orbit as the $16K average Boyhood had at 107.  A MAN CALLED OVE (Music Box) is proving to be a moderate sleeper, reaching 166 theatres with a $2200 average.  THE HANDMAIDEN (Amazon/Magnolia) widened to 99 with a $2800 average.  CERTAIN WOMEN (IFC) expanded to 135 theatres with a $1300 average.  Rock documentary GIMME DANGER (Magnolia) averaged $2000 at 61.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The slot between Doctor Strange on the one hand, and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them on the other has limited appeal, and the only big-ticket opening is the cerebral sci-fi drama ARRIVAL (Paramount).  The other wide openings have more niche appeal, ALMOST CHRISTMAS (Universal) and SHUT IN (EuropaCorp).  In addition, ELLE (Sony Classics) will begin what it hopes will be an Oscar run for Best Foreign Film and possibly Best Actress.  The most notable limited release, though, will be BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK (Sony), which will play in NY and LA in a historically new 120 frames-per-second format that polarized audiences when it premiered at the NY Film Festival.

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."