December 4, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 12/4/16


OPENINGS:  The big studios wanted no part of the weekend after Thanksgiving, and the only arrivals were a pair of fringe indies.  Even for a micro-budgeted horror product, INCARNATE (High Top/Blumhouse/Universal) was a flop at $2.7M.

In a barely-wide release at 639 theatres, the Christian-themed BELIEVE (Freestyle) attracted no one outside the flock (and not many within) at $600K, and even that studio projection assumes a very strong post-church crowd today.

HOLDOVERS:  MOANA (Disney Animation) dropped 50% from last week to $28.4M (although those numbers may come down a bit if Sunday isn’t as robust as Disney predicts).  That’s better than the post-Thanksgiving holds for Frozen (53%) and Tangled (56%), and Moana should continue strong next weekend, likely down only about 30% against no new major openings.  However, no November animated title has faced the kind of competition that will hit after that, when Rogue One and Sing arrive in successive weeks.  That makes Moana‘s final total hard to predict, but it will certainly go over $200M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $57.5M after a $32M weekend in only 30 territories, although those do include such major markets as China, France and the UK.

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (Warners) is on its way to $700M+ worldwide, which will likely put it below all of the Harry Potters (Prisoner of Askaban is the lowest of those at $796.7M worldwide), but still at a comfortable margin for the franchise to continue.  In the US, it fell 59% for a $18.5M weekend and a total that should hit $225M or so, and overseas it earned $60.4M for the weekend.

ARRIVAL (FilmNation/Paramount) is proving to be quite the sleeper, with the lowest weekend drop in the Top 10 at 36% to $7.3M, and the possibility of hitting $90M+, particularly if it can pull some awards support from next week’s Golden Globe nominations.  It’s at $32.2M overseas early in its release.

ALLIED (GK/Huahua/Paramount), on the other hand, dropped 45% for a $7.1M US weekend, and it cost about $40M more to produce than Arrival, so its likely $45M US total is going to hurt–but not as much as its $28.4M international gross thus far after $12.1M for the weekend in 36 territories, which includes a slow $3.5M from China.

DOCTOR STRANGE (Marvel/Disney) is on track for $230M in the US after a 53% weekend drop to $6.5M.  Overseas, it’s at $419.6M.

TROLLS (DreamWorks Animation/20th) is fading, down 57% for the weekend to $4.6M, with a probable $150-160M US total.  Its $155.3M international total is OK if not particularly exciting in the context of big-budget animated spectacles, and it appears to be a bubble title in terms of generating a franchise.

HACKSAW RIDGE (Summit/Lionsgate) has become, along with Arrival, the adult title of choice for the pre-holiday season.  It declined 38% in its 5th weekend to $3.4M, and should get to $65M+ in the US.  It’s at $18.1M early in its international release.

BAD SANTA 2 (Broad Green) didn’t have a terrible Thanksgiving hold, dropping 47%.  But its start was so low that this only gave it a $3.3M weekend, and it’s unlikely to get much beyond $20M, especially since it faces direct competition next weekend for its R-rated comedy audience from Office Christmas Party.

The pathetic RULES DON’T APPLY (Regency/20th) fell 65% to $555K, a per-theatre weekend average of $233.  It won’t even reach $5M, and only its moderate cost keeps it from being one of the all-time Hollywood disasters.

MOONLIGHT (A24) has done what it needed to do, hanging on with small week-to-week drops (25% this weekend to $915K) until awards season kicked in.  Its overall total after 7 weeks of release is $9.9M, and now awards momentum should keep it going.  By way of comparison, last year Room (also an A24 release) was at $3.5M after 7 weeks, and it rode its awards strength to a total that ultimately quadrupled that number.

LIMITED RELEASES:  JACKIE (Fox Searchlight) had a strong if not overwhelming start with a $55K per-theatre average in 5 NY/LA arthouses.  THINGS TO COME (IFC), the “other” Isabelle Huppert vehicle of the season after Elle, averaged $11K at 3 theatres, while ELLE (Sony Classics) averaged $2900 at 32.  MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Amazon/Roadside) expanded very nicely to 156 theatres with a $15K average, close to the $17K that 12 Years A Slave had when it reached 123 theatres.  LOVING (Focus/Universal), which has so far not been a major awards title, tread some water with a $2200 average at 446 theatres.  NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (Focus/Searchlight) dipped just 18% from last weekend (in a steady 127 theatres) for a $5400 average.  LION (Weinstein) expanded to 7 theatres with an OK $17K average.  MISS SLOANE (Europa) added 1 theatre for a total of 4 and averaged a modest $11K.

NEXT WEEKEND:  HOLIDAY CHRISTMAS PARTY (DreamWorks/Paramount) will try to take in a few bucks before Rogue One conquers the universe a week later, and Miss Sloane expands to moderately wide release.  There’s no question about the marquee limited release:  LA LA LAND (Lionsgate) arrives in theatres after months of film festival and critical adulation.

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."