December 10, 2017

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 12.10.2017


OPENINGS:  Even though THE DISASTER ARTIST (A24) was at just 840 theatres, its $6.4M weekend had no trouble topping its woeful newcomer competition.  That total (which may come down a bit in finals, because A24 tends to be optimistic in its Sunday estimates) translated into a $7700 per-theatre weekend average, notably better than the $5100 Lady Bird had when it reached 791 theatres.  However, Disaster Artist appears to be more front-loaded, with a 17% Saturday drop (Lady Bird actually rose 2% on the Saturday of its 791-theatre weekend), so the studio may continue a steady expansion through the holidays in order to keep the weekend totals high even if the per-theatre averages drop more sharply.  Disaster Artist should also benefit from this week’s Golden Globe nominations, as one of the most prominent Comedy/Musical titles in the field.

The unintentionally ironically-titled JUST GETTING STARTED (Broad Green) was hated by critics when they were finally allowed to see it, and audiences had little interest, with $3.2M at 2161 theatres, an awful $1500 per-theatre average.  It should be available for streaming fairly soon.

HOLDOVERS:  COCO (Pixar/Disney) rode the lack of new competition to a 3rd consecutive weekend on top of the box office, down just 34% to $18.3M.  That was the same Weekend 3 drop that Moana had last year, and if the films play out through the holidays similarly, Coco should end up at $230M or so in the US, the same neighborhood as Pixar’s Brave and WALL-E.  Coco is also busy internationally, where it’s at $254M after a $55.3M weekend ($128M is from China alone), and is still in only 35 territories.  It’s well-positioned to pass Moana‘s $394.6M overseas total.

JUSTICE LEAGUE (RatPac/DC/Warners) fell 42% to $9.6M, and may not hit $250M in the US.  Things are better overseas, where it’s at $401.3M after a $15.4M weekend in all major markets, but gigantic competition is just around the corner, and Justice League may not be able to claw its way to $700M worldwide–it’s not even clear if it can pass Man of Steel‘s $668M, which would put it at the bottom of the DC pile.  It’s no surprise that Warners is reportedly reorganizing its DC film operation.

WONDER (Participant/Walden/Lionsgate) dropped 30% to $8.5M, passing the $100M milestone in the US and with plenty of road ahead.  It won’t be the same level of hit overseas, but it’s at $29.3M after an $11.4M weekend in 56 markets.

THOR: RAGNAROK (Marvel/Disney) is still in the mix on its 6th weekend, down 36% to $6.3M, and aiming at $320M in the US, which would make it #8 of the 17 Marvel universe titles.  Overseas, it’s at $532M after a $3.1M weekend.  If it can pass $863.2M worldwide (it’s currently at $833.2M), it will supplant Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 as Marvel’s #6.

In the US, DADDY’S HOME 2 (Paramount) and MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (20th) are virtually tied, with Daddy’s 2 down 21% to $6M for $91.2M to date, and Murder down 25% to $5.1M for $92.7M.  But overseas the story is very different:  Daddy’s 2 is at $51.2M after an $11.6M weekend in 59 territories and just a few left to open, while Murder is a $182M smash after a $20.1M weekend also in 59 markets.  Add to that the fact that Murder cost considerably less to produce than Daddy’s 2, and it’s clear which is a healthier franchise.

The good news for THE STAR (Affirm/Sony) is that it had the best hold in the Top 10, down a tiny 10% in its 4th weekend.  The bad news is that its weekend was still just $3.7M, and it will have a struggle in holding onto its 2976 theatres into the holidays.  It’s had very limited international release and is at $4.6M.

LADY BIRD (A24) and 3 BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (Fox Searchlight) remain close at the box office.  Lady Bird increased its theatre count by 30% to 1557 and had a $3.5M weekend, translating to a $2300 per-theatre average.  3 Billboards widened by 13% to 1620 for a $2.9M weekend and $1800 average.  So far, Lady Bird is scoring more awards, making this week’s Golden Globe and SAG nominations critical for 3 Billboards.

LIMITED RELEASE:  I, TONYA (Neon) had a strong opening (boosted as usual for awards contenders by many star-studded Q&As), averaging $61K at 4 in NY/LA.  THE SHAPE OF WATER (Fox Searchlight) aggressively expanded from 2 theatres to 41 and averaged $27K, a bit below Lady Bird‘s $32K average at 37.  DARKEST HOUR (Focus/Universal) was a notch below with a $15K average at 53.  CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Sony Classics), wary of its potential to be characterized as a niche art film, is being much more cautious, spreading to a mere 9 theatres, where it averaged $32K, a 55% decline despite still being in a single-digit number of theatres.  WONDER WHEEL (Amazon) is an awards season also-ran with a $3300 average at 47.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The question for STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (LucasFilm/Disney) is how close it an come to the history-making $248M opening of The Force Awakens.  (Rogue One started with $155.1M last year, but that was a spin-off title.)  If the reviews line up with the social media reaction after last night’s premiere, the contest could be close.  Meanwhile, FERDINAND (Blue Sky/20th) will try to scrape some families with young children from the PG-13 Last Jedi behemoth.



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."