December 27, 2015

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 12/27/15

Not a lot of changes from last night’s early numbers.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (Lucasfilm/Disney):  The all-time biggest 2d US weekend:  $153.5M (down 38% from opening weekend, far better than the 49%/50% for Jurassic World/Avengers, although the 2% drop for Avatar and 24% increase for Titanic–both from the era before giant Thursday night openings–remain phenomenal).  Biggest 2d Saturday:  $56.6M, towering over Jurassic‘s $39.1M.  Biggest 2d Sunday:  $47.6M, again hugely bigger than Jurassic‘s $38.4M.  Fastest movie ever to $500M in the US at $544.6M, $141.8M ahead of Jurassic‘s 10-day total.  Fastest movie ever to $1B worldwide (total to date:  $1.1B).  The only slight damper on Disney’s glory is that given its US results, Force isn’t as strong overseas as it might be.  The normal action-adventure blockbuster earns 65-75% of its worldwide total internationally, but Force is almost exactly at 50/50.  It didn’t set the record for 2d overseas weekend ($133.3M, compared to Jurassic‘s $163.4M, and with a 53% Weekend 2 drop compared to Jurassic‘s 41% ), and Jurassic made it to $500M internationally 1 day faster than Force.  Some of that will shift once China gets the Force in 2 weeks, but probably not enough to change the overall balance.  It means that Disney still has some work to do overseas to put the franchise at the same history-making level as it is in the US.

OPENINGS:  Audiences like the combination of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg no matter what they do, and DADDY’S HOME (Red Granite/Paramount) was solid at $38.8M for the weekend, with $100M a possibility by January 3.  The film is barely open overseas at $4.4M in 4 territories.

JOY (Annapurna/20th) is off to a fair start at $17.5M for the weekend.  That’s a bit below the $19.1M wide opening of American Hustle (which didn’t have the advantage of Christmas weekend), and word of mouth could be a problem for Joy.  It could reach $50M by the end of the holidays, but January will tell its tale.  Despite its small scale, it has a $60M production budget, which means more like $200M with worldwide marketing, so it has some distance to profitability.  It’s only dipped its toe internationally with $2M so far.

CONCUSSION (Columbia/Sony) had a light $11M start, significantly worse than the $14.9M opening for Seven Pounds, which didn’t open on a holiday weekend.  The days when Will Smith’s name guaranteed a big opening, even for a serious drama (or as serious as his dramas get) are gone, and the unpromising box office probably pushes Smith back in the awards line as well.  Concussion hasn’t opened overseas yet, and given its very US-specific subject, its prospects are shaky.

THE BIG SHORT (Regency/Paramount) expanded to 1585 theatres, about two-thirds of the other openings, and with that in mind, its $10.5M wide launch is promising, especially for a film about a fairly esoteric financial maneuver.  (Steve Jobs, remember, only opened to $7.1M.)  Its only current international market is France with $1.4M.

POINT BREAK (Alcon/Warners) ends the year all too appropriately for Warners (although Alcon, which financed the movie to the tune of $100M+ not counting marketing, will take the bulk of the hit on this one) with a dismal $10.2M opening.  Its only hope is overseas, but its $43M to date (almost all it from China) isn’t promising.

HOLDOVERS:  SISTERS (Universal) rode the holiday to a 2d weekend almost identical with its first at $13.9M.  It’s still aiming at an OK $75M total in the US, and it has $2.9M in just 10 markets overseas.  ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP (20th) didn’t hold quite as well, down 11% to $12.7M.  With $39.4M to date, Chip will sell tickets to families during the rest of the holiday, but it won’t get close to Chipwrecked (which was at $49.5M after 10 days), let alone the higher-grossing earlier titles in the franchise.  Overseas, it earned $8.1M from 13 markets.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 (Lionsgate) is tailing off, down 10% from last weekend to $5.3M in the US ($264.6M total) and at $352.2M overseas after a $6.4M weekend.  It’s unlikely to reach $300M in the US, and its international total is above only the original film, which introduced a franchise relatively unknown overseas.  It still made overall financial sense for Lionsgate to split Mockingjay into 2 films, since at an eventual $650M worldwide, Mockingjay 2 will be quite profitable, but it’s an anticlimactic end to the the series, and makes one wonder how much mileage is left for the Jennifer Lawrence-less prequels and spin-offs the studio has in mind.

CREED (MGM/New Line/Warners) is holding quite well, down 8% for the weekend at $4.6M, with $96.3M in the US to date (plus $10.2M from 11 territories overseas).  It will cross $100M over the holidays, although it may need awards help to reach $125M.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE HATEFUL 8 (Weinstein), playing on a genuine 100 70mm screens, averaged a very good $45K, although its 26% Saturday drop suggests this may be one for the QT true believers.  (The studio is projecting a perhaps overly optimistic strong Sunday hold, so this number may come down.)  THE REVENANT (Regency/20th), in 4 theatres (but on probably a dozen screens there), averaged an excellent $118K, with a relatively small 8% Saturday drop (although 20th is estimating an even better Sunday hold for it than Hateful is claiming, so the actual total may be a bit lower).  THE DANISH GIRL (Focus/Universal) expanded to a near-wide 440 theatres and averaged an OK $3400.  CAROL (Weinstein) widened to 180 with a fair $5900 average.  YOUTH (Fox Searchlight), now in 149 theatres, was marginal with a $2300 average.  45 YEARS (IFC) opened at 3 NY/LA arthouses with a solid $23K average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The year’s final Oscar candidate, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s extraordinary (and very adult) stop-motion animated drama ANOMALISA (Paramount) makes its arthouse debut.



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."