December 11, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 12/11/16


OPENINGS:  The adult-oriented OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY (DreamWorks/Paramount) had a 3% Saturday bump and wound up with a fair $17.5M for the weekend  If it can hold decently against next week’s monstrous arrival, it might find its way to $50M in the US, although its dream is to have the kind of holiday legs Sisters did last year, starting with $13.9M and reaching $87M..  Office also opened in 18 international markets with a $8.9M start.

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (Focus/Universal) expanded to a semi-wide 1262 theatres and had an OK $3.2M weekend, giving it a $2500 per-theatre average (Office Christmas Party, at 2.5x the number of theatres, averaged $5400).  Nocturnal could use some recognition from next week’s Golden Globe and/or SAG nominations to stay in the game.  It’s also earned $10M overseas.

MISS SLOANE (Europa) widened to 1648 theatres and showed little promise with a $1.9M weekend that translated into a $1200 average.  It will vanish quickly if Jessica Chastain can’t pull a nomination somewhere.

LOVING (Focus/Universal) reached barely-wide release at 572 theatres with a very mild $1100 per-theatre average.  It’s another film that’s been on the edges of awards season, and will need to score some nominations to keep above water.

Although SING (Illumination/Universal) doesn’t open here until December 21, it’s begun its run in 8 foreign territories with $8.9M.

Also getting a head start overseas:  UNDERWORLD:  BLOOD WARS (Screen Gems/Sony), which is at $34.7M after a $9.2M weekend in 55 markets.  It will expand further (and reach US screens) in January.

HOLDOVERS:  MOANA (Disney Animation) retained the box office crown with a $18.8M weekend, down 33% from last week, which puts it at $145M in the US.  That’s not as strong as the 29% drop for the parallel weekend of Frozen‘s release, but it’s on track with the 34% decline for Tangled, and it’s currently $30M ahead of that film’s take.  If it can keep up that pace, it’ll reach $250M, but Tangled didn’t have to face anything like Rogue One or Sing, so $200M+ is probably  more realistic.  Overseas, Moana is at $93.8M in a gradual rollout that only has it in 32 markets thus far.

The worldwide number that FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (Warners) is chasing is $796.7M, the total for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  That’s the lowest of the franchise, but just ranking among the Potterverse would be an achievement for Beasts, a spin-off with none of the Potter major characters.  Currently Beasts is at $680M, with $199.3M in the US after a 41% weekend drop and $480.7M oveseas after a $33.1M weekend in 67 territories.  It appears as though Beasts won’t have quite enough gas to reach its goal, but the holidays could put it over the top.

ARRIVAL (FilmNation/Paramount) had another terrific hold, down just 23% in the US to $5.6M, and seemingly now headed to $100M.  Overseas, it’s at $48.4M after a $5.8M weekend, and will resume expansion in January.

DOCTOR STRANGE (Marvel/Disney) slid 31% for the weekend to $4.6M, and continues to be on track for $230-240M in the US.  Internationally it’s at $423.4M.

ALLIED (GK/Huahua/Paramount) is settling into red ink.  In the US, it fell 43% to $4M and will struggle to reach $50M, and the news is worse overseas, where it was expected to be strong because of the Brad Pitt factor, but has only managed $33.9M after a $4.8M weekend.  It still has some substantial territories to come like Germany and Australia, but there’s little chance it can recoup its $175M production/marketing costs.

LIMITED RELEASE:  LA LA LAND (Summit/Lionsgate) had the most melodic of starts with a fantastic $171K average in 5 NY/LA theatres.  Among non-animated, non-premium priced openings, that’s the #2 average ever, behind only the $203K for Grand Budapest Hotel (which was in 4 theatres).  Nor is La La just a US phenomenon, earning $4.6M in just 6 overseas markets (most of it from Korea).  The plan is for it to expand to 200 more US theatres on Friday and then widen further on Christmas Day, while it will open in just a few more international markets in 2016, holding off for the Oscar nominations in most of the world.

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Amazon/Roadside) is more quietly doing impressive business, expanding to 366 theatres with a $8600 average.  That’s better than Birdman‘s $5K average at 460, and not too far off the pace of 12 Years A Slave‘s $11.7K average at 410.  JACKIE (Fox Searchlight) had a solid $19K weekend average after expansion to 26 theatres, numbers that put it in line with Brooklyn‘s $20.9K average at 23.  LION (Weinstein) was a notch below with a $11.5K average after expansion to 15.  THE EAGLE HUNTRESS (Sony Classics) widened to 122 theatres with a $1700 average.  Notably, among the season’s Isabelle Huppert vehicles, the much less heralded THINGS TO COME (IFC) averaged $2400 after expansion to 26, while ELLE (Sony Classics) averaged $1800 at 27.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The only suspense about the arrival of ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (Lucasfilm/Disney) is how it will stack up against last year’s historic numbers for The Force Awakens.  As a prequel/spin-off, it won’t touch those incredible levels, but should still be one of the biggest openings of the year.  (The current title-holder is Captain America: Civil War at $179.1M.)  COLLATERAL BEAUTY (Warners) will attempt to counterprogram, and Manchester By the Sea expands to moderately wide release.

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."