November 9, 2014

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 11/9/14


OPENINGS:  BIG HERO 6 (Disney) was a convincing winner in the US, riding a 52% Saturday bump to a $56.2M weekend.  Word of mouth can be expected to be strong, and there’s no reason to think Big Hero 6 won’t hold solidly at least until the Thanksgiving weekend arrival of The Penguins of Madagascar and perhaps beyond.  Big Hero 6 is opening gradually overseas, and took in $7.6M in 17 territories.  Along with a few earlier openings (notably in Russia), that puts it at an early international total of $23M.

It’s unlikely that the $50M weekend studio estimate for INTERSTELLAR (Paramount/Warners) will last past tomorrow’s release of final numbers, considering that it relies on a Sunday drop lower than anything else in the Top 10.  Even at $48-49M, though, the space epic opened well (while it has a monopoly on Imax for the moment, it charges 2D ticket prices and runs a full hour longer than Big Hero 6).  The better news for Christopher Nolan and compan(ies) is that Interstellar earned $80M in 62 overseas markets this weekend (not including China or Japan), which according to Warners is on par with the launch of Gravity–which went on to gross $442.3M overseas.   That should put Interstellar on track for around $600M worldwide, more than enough to justify Christopher Nolan’s next expensive leap of imagination.

HOLDOVERS:  In its 6th weekend of release, GONE GIRL (20th) managed to take 3rd place, albeit far behind the two leaders at $6.1M (down 28% from last weekend).  It’s at $145.4M in the US, and has gone over $303M worldwide after a $8.5M weekend in 43 territories (at a production cost that was roughly 40% of Big Hero 6 and Interstellar‘s).

The drops for OUIJA (Universal) and NIGHTCRAWLER (Open Road), like the other holdovers, aren’t really as soft as they look, because they include a Friday comparison with low-grossing Halloween.  So the respective 44% (to $6M) and 47% (to $5.5M) drops would probably be more than 50% on a normal weekend.  Nevertheless, those aren’t bad holds, particularly for Ouija, which despite indifferent reviews is clearly working for its target (young female) audience.

ST VINCENT (Weinstein) is proving to be a genuine audience favorite, down just 21% from last weekend to $5.7M.  It’s at $27.4M, and could end up reaching $50M+ if it isn’t swamped by new releases.  FURY (QED/Columbia/Sony) is also holding well in the US, down 38% to $5.5M, for a total to date of $69.3M.  The surprising shortfall for Fury (given its WWII subject matter and Brad Pitt’s star value) is overseas, where it earned a merely OK $7M in 44 markets, for a total of $51.3M.  It still has a fair amount of the world to come, but those numbers aren’t terribly promising.

JOHN WICK (Lionsgate) dropped 49% to $4.1M and a $34.7M total.  The weekend’s big crash, though, came from THE BOOK OF LIFE (20th), which had profited last weekend from its Day of the Dead theme, but plunged 66% this weekend to $2.8M ($45.2M US total), plus $3.5M overseas ($35.2M total).

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (Paramount) and THE MAZE RUNNER (20th) have gone quiet in the US (although Maze Runner is about to hit $100M after a $1.3M weekend that brought it to $99M), but both are still thriving overseas, with respective $17.3M and $11.7M weekends, giving them worldwide totals of $464.1M and $323.6M.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING (Focus/Universal) began its Oscar campaign with a solid $41K average at 5 theatres.  BIRDMAN (Fox Searchlight) stepped closer to wide release by doubling its run to 462 theatres, but appears to be flying into a wall, down 4% for the weekend (to $2.3M) despite the expansion and with a $5K per-theatre average.  (That’s less than half the $12K average 12 Years A Slave had when it reached 410 theatres.)  WHIPLASH (Sony Classics) held nicely after increasing its theatre count to 88, up 35% for the weekend and with a $3900 average.  The appealing LAGGIES (A24) unfortunately collapsed with an expansion to 306 theatres, averaging less than $900 in each.  CITIZENFOUR (Radius/Weinstein) increased its theatres by 50% to 59 and averaged $3500.

NEXT WEEKEND:  With Big Hero 6 and Interstellar likely to still be strong next week, and with the next Hunger Games just two weeks ahead, the studios are largely staying away from next weekend.  The only major opening is DUMB & DUMBER TO (Universal), while BEYOND THE LIGHTS (Relativity) will aim at a female African-American audience in 1000 fewer theatres.  The weekend will be busy for Oscar-hopeful limited releases, however, with film festival veterans FOXCATCHER (Sony Classics), ROSEWATER (Open Road) and THE HOMESMAN (Roadside) all making their debuts to paying customers.

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."