December 6, 2015

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 12/6/15


OPENINGS:  Little was expected from KRAMPUS (Legendary/Universal), and looked at in that light, it modestly overdelivered with a $16M opening weekend.  That’s virtually identical with the $15.8M opening for Unfriended earlier this year, and Krampus should end up in the same $32.5M neighborhood, with perhaps a small upside because of the upcoming holidays–if it can hold onto its theatres when the rush comes.  The horror comedy also got off to a soft international start with $3.3M in 24 markets.

THE LETTERS (Freestyle) found a limited audience for the story of Mother Teresa, with $800K at 886 theatres.

The news is already bad for Ron Howard’s IN THE HEART OF THE SEA (Village Roadshow/Warners), and it hasn’t even reached these shores yet.  Premiering in 38 territories that cover more than half the world, it managed just $17.1M, a number suggesting that if it fails in the US when it arrives next week, it won’t be bailed out overseas.

The pointless remake of POINT BREAK (Alcon/Warners), which arrives here on Christmas Day, similarly got little traction from a much-publicized world premiere in China.  It brought in a very mild $12.1M there, and had a total of $14.1M with 5 other Asian markets included.

HOLDOVERS:  THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 (Lionsgate) took advantage of the lack of competition to win its 3rd consecutive week, despite a post-holiday drop of 64% to $18.6M for the weekend.  That compares to a 61% drop for the parallel weekend of the first MockingjayMockingjay 2‘s current US total is $227.1M, about 12% behind its predecessor, and it’s till aiming at $300M in the US.  Overseas, Mockingjay 2 earned $32.4M.  That’s slightly ahead of Mockingjay 1‘s $31.6M in the parallel weekend last year, but misleadingly, since that film hadn’t yet opened in China.  Mockingjay 2 is at $296.8M overseas, which is below the $302.8M Mockingjay 1 had at this time, and since that film still had China to come, there’s little chance this year’s installment will catch up to Mockingjay 1‘s overseas total of $418.2M.

CREED (MGM/New Line/Warners) held solidly, down 48% from last weekend to $15.5M.  It should have $100M in its grasp, and there’s still additional upside if it can get some attention from awards groups.  It’s still barely in release overseas, with $1.9M from 9 markets.

THE GOOD DINOSAUR (Pixar/Disney) is looking like a major disappointment by Pixar standards after falling 60% to $15.5M.  That’s actually worse than the 57% Weekend 2 drop for the flop Penguins of Madagascar and suggests Dinosaur won’t get much higher than $125M in the US, which would make it by far Pixar’s lowest-grossing release.  Overseas, the news wasn’t much better:  Dinosaur is now in more than half the world, and has a $131.4M total after a $19.4M weekend.  While it could still reach $500M worldwide, that’s a dim result for a spectacle with production/marketing costs that are probably over $350M.

SPECTRE (MGM/Columbia/Sony) is nearing the end of its US run, down 58% to $5.4M for a $184.5M total.  The holidays should push it past $200M, but that’s still a shadow of Skyfall‘s $304.4M.  Overseas, Spectre is now in all major markets, and had a $23M weekend for a $607.5M total.  Again, it may reach $850M or so worldwide, but that will be a big comedown from Skyfall‘s $1.1B.

THE NIGHT BEFORE (Columbia/Sony) is clearly benefiting from good word of mouth, with the lowest weekend drop in the Top 10, down 41%.  But it started off so low that it still had just a $4.9M weekend for a $32M total.

Both SPOTLIGHT (Open Road) and BROOKLYN (Fox Searchlight) added a handful of theatres this weekend and remain very close at the box office, as Spotlight earned $2.9M at 980 theatres and Brooklyn took in $2.4M at 906.  Both are getting some awards attention (Spotlight just won Best Picture from the Boston Film Critics, and Saoirse Ronan is in the hunt for Best Actress), so they should perform solidly through the holidays.  TRUMBO (Bleecker Street) continues to trail both of them both in awards and at the box office, with a sub-$1M weekend at 660 theatres.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Spike Lee’s CHI-RAQ (Amazon/Roadside) is giving Lee his best reviews in some time, but its $4100 per-theatre average at 305 isn’t terribly impressive.  YOUTH (Fox Searchlight) is off to an OK start with a $20K average at 4 NY/LA arthouses, somewhat ahead of MACBETH (Weinstein), which averaged $13.5K at 5.  LEGEND (Universal) expanded to 61 with a lackluster $4300 average, and T0m Hardy is so far getting little Best Actor attention.  CAROL (Weinstein) and THE DANISH GIRL (Focus/Weinstein) are both playing the long game, holding at 4 theatres each, where Carol ($37K average in its 3rd weekend) is so far significantly ahead of Danish ($27K in its 2d).  Note that THE LADY IN THE VAN (Sony Classics) is currently in a 1-week Oscar qualifying run in NY and LA, but the studio didn’t report its results.

NEXT WEEKEND:  As noted, In the Heart Of the Sea will attempt to steal one US weekend before the box office Death Star arrives.  THE BIG SHORT (Paramount) will arrive with NY/LA runs before going wide during Christmas week.




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."