December 26, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 12/26/16


HOLIDAY BOX OFFICE NOTES:  We only have partial international numbers for the weekend box office, and those we have reflect the fact that in some European and Latin American markets (including the UK), theatres are entirely closed on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  In the US, the 4-day Christmas weekend means there are 3 models for how films are likely to perform on Monday and for the rest of the holidays:  live-action holdovers had a huge Sunday bump and will rise again on Monday, with mild declines mid-week and another (more moderate) bump over New Year’s weekend; animated holdovers had smaller Sunday increases but should make up for them on Monday and then perform like their live-action counterparts; and those films entering wide release on Christmas Day will drop on Monday and then largely maintain those levels mid-week, with New Year’s weekend bumps.

OPENINGS:  FENCES (Bron/Paramount) had the most dramatic Christmas Day expansion, jumping from 4 theatres to 2233.  It earned $6.6M on Sunday for a fair $3000 per-theatre average, and is anticipating a 30% Monday drop.  It could total around $40M by January 2, but will face direct competition the following weekend from the expansion of Hidden Figures.

LA LA LAND (Summit/Lionsgate) had a more gradual expansion, more or less tripling its theatre count to 734 on Sunday.  It had an excellent $7800 average and $3.9M total for the day, and because it’s not “new” in many areas, it’s projecting a steady Monday.  It should be the highest-grossing 2016 independent release by January 2, with $40M+ and Oscar season just beginning.

LION (Weinstein) leaped from 16 theatres to 500, and averaged a meh $1400 on Sunday.  Its projection of a Monday increase may be optimistic, and if its numbers don’t hold up during the holidays, it may drop out of the Oscars season picture (other than Nicole Kidman’s likely Supporting Actress nomination).

HOLDOVERS:  ROGUE ONE (Lucasfilm/Disney) had no trouble holding on to the top of the box office pile.  Its 2d (3-day) weekend drop was an OK 59% to $64.4M.  That’s far worse than the 40% Weekend 2 drop for Force Awakens, but that film didn’t have lowered Christmas Eve numbers in its weekend.  Rogue One is projecting a 21% Monday increase to $31.7M, and it’s on track for $450M by January 2 and a $550-600M US total, in line with expectations.  Disney may be a little less satisfied overseas, where Rogue earned $47.1M in its 2d weekend for a $237.4M total.  As noted, this was an odd weekend, and the film’s China opening is still ahead, but these numbers suggest that Rogue One may not perform internationally as well as in the US, while Force Awakens made 55% of its worldwide total outside the US.  That would be a step backwards for a franchise that was hoping to move in the other direction.

SING (Illumination/Universal) is off to a solid start, with an 81% Sunday bump to $14.3M and an anticipated 45% increase on Monday, which would put it at $76.7M since its Wednesday opening.  With schools closed, Sing should remain strong throughout the holiday season, and could be at $175M+ by January 2, on relatively moderate production/marketing costs (for a tentpole) of $200M.  Overseas, it brought in $27M in 50 markets, for a $54M total so far.

PASSENGERS (Village Roadshow/LStar/Columbia/Sony) is a major disappointment, despite a gaudy 164% Sunday bump.  That increase still only put the expensive (roughly $225M with marketing included) production at $7.5M for the day, and even with a further 10% rise on Monday, it still may not get to $75M by January 2, and will need overseas help just to break even.

That goes even more strongly for ASSASSIN’S CREED (Regency/20th), which reported a 98% Sunday bump to $4.4M and hopes for a 8% rise on Monday.  It might reach $50M by January 2, pennies against its $225M+ production/marketing costs.  The news is a bit better overseas, where it’s at $14.2M in just 22 territories, but it will still need to be a major international hit to make up for the US shortfall.

WHY HIM? (21 Laps/20th) has the advantage of a low ($40M) production cost, although worldwide marketing will still bring that to $125M+.  It had an encouraging 207% Sunday bump to $5.4M, and projects an additional 5% on Monday.  It might reach $45M by January 2 and a $75M US total, which with some overseas success (it began its campaign with $2.2M in 16 territories this weekend) could lead it to breakeven.

Disney seems to be oddly conservative with its Monday projection for MOANA (Disney Animation), which had the expected moderate 64% Christmas bump (to $2.9M), but is only anticipating an additional 8% rise on Monday.  Studios rarely err on the side of underestimation, though, so we’ll assume they see limited upside for the day.  That would put it at around $200M by January 2, and a US total of perhaps $225M.

COLLATERAL BEAUTY (New Line/Village Roadshow/RatPac/Warners) had a 177% Sunday bump, but that only took it to $2.2M for the day, and even if its projected 25% Monday increase holds true, it’s still only going to be around $30M by January 2, and struggling to get near $50M in the US.

Despite all the new prestige product in the market, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Amazon/Roadside) continues to hold well, with a 141% Sunday bump to $1.5M (it’s still at a moderate 1213 theatres).  Strangely, it’s projecting a 7% drop on Monday, but it should still top Hell or High Water‘s $27M total by January 2, although by then La La Land will likely have passed it for the 2016 indie crown.

LIMITED RELEASES:  With only 1 day of release on Christmas Day, HIDDEN FIGURES (20th) is off to a strong start with a $21K average in 25 theatres, a release strategy meant to establish it as an awards dark horse before it goes wide in less than 2 weeks.  PATRIOTS DAY (Lionsgate), by comparison, had a full 3-day weekend in only 7 theatres and averaged $23K.  SILENCE (Paramount) was a bit more substantial with a $33K 3-day weekend average at 4, but it faces challenges once it moves beyond the biggest cities.  JULIETA (Sony Classics) had a fair 3-day start in 6 arthouses with a $15K average.  LIVE BY NIGHT (Warners) was merely OK in its Christmas Day opening, which was also intended to put it in the awards race prior to a January 13 wide release, averaging $8K at 4.  A MONSTER CALLS (Focus/Universal) is in tough shape, averaging $8K at 4 over a full 3-day weekend.  Meanwhile, JACKIE (Fox Searchlight) expanded to 348 with a mild $3500 3-day weekend average.  Note:  its studio only released a combination Sunday/Monday number for TONI ERDMANN (Sony Classics), which had it with a $10K average at 3, which would be a moderate start assuming a 50/50 split between the days.

NEXT WEEKEND:  There are no new wide openings for New Year’s, but on Wednesday PATERSON (Bleecker Street) and 20TH CENTURY WOMEN (A24) will join the awards fray in limited 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."