January 8, 2017

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 1/8/17


OPENINGS:  As we had forecast on Friday night, the margin of victory for the weekend box office was razor-thin, and we won’t really know who won until final numbers are released tomorrow.  For now, HIDDEN FIGURES (20th) is $172K below Rogue One at $21.8M, but Disney’s Rogue One projection relies on a speculatively strong Sunday performance (a 33% Sunday drop compared to 40% for Hidden Figures).  In any case, this is a very solid start for Hidden Figures, a moderately-budgeted production that has Martin Luther King Weekend next week and very possibly some awards support in the weeks to come to keep it buoyant.

UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS (Screen Gems/Sony) had the franchise’s lowest opening with $13.1M, just a bit more than half the $25.3M start for Awakening, the last installment in the saga.  Blood Wars probably won’t get above $40M in the US, and even though it reportedly cost less to produce than Awakening ($35M vs. $70M), global marketing will still bring the bill to $100M+.  Awakening gave the franchise a kick internationally, with 61% of its worldwide total earned outside the US, and Blood Wars will need to do at least as well.  Currently it’s at $42.1M overseas.

A MONSTER CALLS (Focus/Universal) was hoping for awards season attention, but it didn’t happen, and with a post-holiday expansion to 1523 theatres, it only managed $2M for the weekend and is done in the US barring an Oscar miracle.  Things are better overseas to the tune of $34M ($27.9M of it from the director’s home country of Spain), but that’s still probably not enough for success.

HOLDOVERS:  ROGUE ONE (Lucasfilm/Disney) is a massive hit that will soon become the #! film released in 2016 at the US box office, but it’s also not performing up to expectations.  At home, it fell 56% for the weekend (and that’s assuming Disney’s Sunday projection is accurate), while in the parallel weekend Force Awakens dropped 53%.  It seems to be heading for an ultimate $525M US total, which will put it below The Dark Knight‘s $534.9M, and which will be 44% below Force Awakens.  A soft $31M China opening gave it a $56.6M international weekend, with no major territories left to open, and it appears that its overseas total will be just slightly above the US, perhaps $550M.  That would be less than half of Force Awakens‘ $1.13B, a particular blow given how carefully an international cast was assembled for the spin-off.  Again: giant franchise, massive money-maker… but not what had been hoped.

SING (Illumination/Universal) is at $213.4M in the US after a $19.6M weekend, with $250M in range.  Overseas it’s at $143.5M after a $26.4M weekend, and although it’s in 61 worldwide markets, the ones that have yet to open are among the biggest:  China, Japan, the UK, France and Russia.  A global $550M total is certainly possible.

LA LA LAND (Summit/Lionsgate) expanded to 1515 theatres for a $10M weekend that puts it at $51.7M in the US.  With the Golden Globes and Oscars still ahead, $75M seems like a sure thing and $100M is possible.  Overseas, it’s in 37 markets and has $34.7M after a $3.8M weekend.  Further expansion is planned next week, including an IMAX run.

PASSENGERS (LStar/Village Roadshow/Columbia/Sony) is inching toward breakeven.  In the US, it’s at $80.9M after an $8.8M weekend, and overseas it’s at $104.6M after a $32.7M weekend in 62 territories that don’t yet include China or Japan.  With roughly $250M in costs, it’s still not going to deliver much profit, but no one should lose money on it either.

WHY HIM? (20th), the only comedy around, held nicely in its 3rd weekend with $6.5M for a $48.6M US total.  Overseas it’s at $25.6M after a $6.1M weekend in 48 markets.  It’s still not likely to make enough to pay for $125M in production/marketing costs.

MOANA (Disney Animation) is at $225.4M in the US after a $6.4M weekend, and at $224.7M overseas after a $20M weekend in 38 territories, with some Asian markets still to open.  As with Sing, it should reach $550M worldwide.

FENCES (Bron/Paramount) had a $4.7M weekend, and like Hidden Figures, will hope for boosts from MLK Weekend and upcoming awards to get it much above its current $40.7M total (and to help it internationally, where it hasn’t yet started its run).

Can ASSASSIN’S CREED (20th) make its way to breakeven?  Its US result won’t do much to get it there, with a $49.5M total after a $3.8M weekend.  Overseas, though, it’s at $98.1M and had a robust $45.4M weekend in 68 territories with a few still to come.  Even in a best case scenario, it’s not going to perform strongly enough to justify further installments, but it might earn back its costs.

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Amazon/Roadside) has been overshadowed by La La Land, but its $33.8M US total (after a $2.5M weekend) is awfully impressive for a much darker, more demanding indie.  It will soon triple Moonlight‘s $13.3M total, the year’s other most prominent Oscar hopeful.

LIMITED RELEASES:  None of the weekend’s expansions were particularly exciting.  SILENCE (Paramount), now in 51 theatres, averaged $9400.  20th CENTURY WOMEN (A24) averaged $14K at 10.  JULIETA (Sony Classics) averaged $6400 at 17.  PATERSON (Bleecker Street) averaged $10K at 7.  Meanwhile, PATRIOTS DAY (CBS/Lionsgate) remained at 7 theatres and averaged $15K, and LIVE BY NIGHT (RatPac/Warners) stayed at 4 and averaged just $7K, below the 3-theatre $11.6K average for the 160-minute German-language TONI ERDMANN (Sony Classics).

NEXT WEEKEND:  The new January arrivals continue to be low-rent, with cop thriller SLEEPLESS (Open Road), family adventure MONSTER TRUCKS (Paramount) and horror flick THE BYE BYE MAN (STX).  In addition, Silence, Live By Night and Patriots Day expand into 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."