December 24, 2017

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 12.24.2017


OPENINGS:  As we noted on Friday, the 3-day weekend studio estimates are lower than they’d otherwise be, due to lower pre-holiday moviegoing on Saturday and especially Sunday.  That will all change on Christmas Day, which will usher in the biggest 8 days of the box office year.

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (Columbia/Sony) is at the head of the non-Star Wars pack, with $34M for the 3-day weekend (which should become $48M on Monday) and $50.6M since its Wednesday start.  It’s on track to be around $150M by January 1, and could get to $200M before it’s done.  Overseas, it had a $49.5M weekend in 53 territories (not yet including China, Australia or Brazil among others), and it seems likely to hit profit on $250M in production/marketing costs.

PITCH PERFECT 3 (Gold Circle/Perfect World/Universal) had a $20.5M 3-day weekend (perhaps $26M including Monday), which included a nasty 37% Saturday drop that suggests extreme frontloading.  The weekend number is down an awful 70% from Pitch 2‘s opening, and even with the holiday week factored in, Pitch 3 may only be at $75M by New Year’s, with little chance of approaching its predecessor’s $184.3M US total.  Overseas, it’s in just 14 markets thus far, where it opened at $9.8M.  Pitch 3 was relatively moderately priced ($150M or so all-in), but may only be moderately profitable as well.

After that, things start to get ugly.  THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (TSG/20th) had a $8.6M 3-day weekend ($13.2M since Wednesday).  Christmas Day may bring the weekend to $13M, but at the dawn of 2018 it may only be at $50M, not much for a film with around $225M in costs.  It’s barely started overseas, with $4.1M in 3 markets, and will have to hope for major international appeal.

DOWNSIZING (Annapurna) flopped badly with $4.6M over the 3-day weekend ($6.2M or so with Monday), and may not even reach $15M by New Year’s.  This wasn’t a cheap project, and it has little chance of getting anywhere near its $150M+ in costs.

FATHER FIGURES (Alcon/Warners) was hoping to find a niche as the only R-rated comedy of the season, but it didn’t work out, with $3.2M for the 3-day weekend ($4.5M with Monday), and $15M by January 1.

DARKEST HOUR (Focus/Universal) and THE SHAPE OF WATER (Fox Searchlight) expanded to quasi-wide release with similar results.  Darkest Hour, now in 806 theatres, averaged $5100 over the 3-day weekend for a $4.1M weekend total (note that its studio is forecasting an extremely strong Sunday, so that number may come down), while Shape of Water had a $3.1M weekend at 726 theatres for a $4200 average.  Those numbers line up with Lady Bird‘s $5100 average at 791 theatres, and all 3 films will be hoping that awards season will bring them to the next level in 2018.

HOLDOVERS:  Despite all the new arrivals, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Lucasfilm/Disney) had no trouble dominating the weekend.  It’s now mostly in competition with its own franchise.  The 3-day weekend was down 69% from last week’s opening to $68.5M, and although that’s far worse than the 40% drop for The Force Awakens, the comparison is unfair because Force Awakens‘ 2nd weekend began with Christmas Day.  The drop is closer to the 59% for Rogue One, which also had the advantage of including Christmas Day in its 2nd weekend.  Last Jedi‘s 4-day weekend should be around $100M, and it may be at $600M by January 1, which would be $175.1M ahead of Rogue One and $142.2M behind the end of Force Awakens‘ holiday period.  Last Jedi is still headed for $700-750M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $380.3M after a $75.1M weekend in all major territories except China.  As of now, it appears to be on track for $1.5B worldwide, which again would put it right in the middle of Force Awakens ($2.1B) and Rogue One ($1.1B), and easily make it 2017’s #1 movie, above Beauty & The Beast‘s $1.26B.

Although FERDINAND (Blue Sky/20th) and COCO (Pixar/Disney) will end up in very different box office, places, they had similar US weekends.  Ferdinand dropped 47% for a $7.1M 3-day weekend (family movies remain low on Christmas Day, so Monday may bring that to $9M), on track for a lackluster $55M in the US by the end of the holidays.  It’s not ringing bells overseas, either, where it’s at $30.7M after a $21.5M weekend in 62 territories, although China, Brazil and Korea are among those still to come.  Coco dipped 48% in its 5th weekend to $5.2M, which should become $7M with Monday.  By January 1, it should be at $185M in the US, and should top $200M before it’s done.  Overseas, it’s at $325M after a $13.3M weekend, and although it’s in most of the world, the markets left to open are substantial, including the UK, Japan, Australia and Brazil.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Considering the firepower behind it, THE POST (DreamWorks/Reliance/Participant/20th) was a bit soft with a $55K per-theatre average for its 3-day weekend at 9 theatres, a studio estimate that already assumes a very strong Sunday.  Compare that to the $64K average The Disaster Artist had when it opened at 19 theatres, more than double the count.  Nevertheless, The Post was by far the most impressive start of the weekend, compared to HOSTILES (Entertainment Studios) with a $8700 average at 3, and HAPPY END (Sony Classics) with a $7900 average at 3.  CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Sony Classics) had its first substantial expansion and averaged an unremarkable $7500 at 114 (The Shape of Water averaged $11K at 158).  I, TONYA (Neon) widened to 37 with an OK $12K average (Shape of Water averaged $28K at 41).

NEXT WEEK:  ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (Columbia/Sony), fated forever to be known as the film that replaced Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer at breakneck speed, is 2017’s final wide release on Christmas Day.  There are also limited releases for MOLLY’S GAME (STX) and Paul Thomas Anderson’s PHANTOM THREAD (Focus/Universal).  Later in the week, a couple of art house releases with Best Actress hopes close out the year:  FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL (Sony Classics) and IN THE FADE (Magnolia).

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."