February 21, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 2/21/16


OPENINGS:  RISEN (Affirm/Columbia/Sony) topped the weekend’s arrivals with an $11.8M start that was above the $11.4M for War Room and the $9.2M for God’s Not Dead, although it was well below Heaven Is For Real‘s $22.5M.  The Christian genre has tremendous multiples–both God’s and War Room ended up at 6x their opening weekends–and Risen has a solid month to itself before the same studio’s Miracles From Heaven goes after the same audience.  The only downside is that they have negligible foreign value, with even Heaven below $10M outside the US.

THE WITCH (A24) held better in the course of the weekend than might have been expected, almost tripling its Friday to a $8.7M total.  It’s still unlikely to get much over $20M, but with an acquisition cost of $1M and what is reportedly a very low marketing budget (under $10M, perhaps well under), it could still leg its way to a small profit, and there’s a smaller chance that it could challenge Ex Machina as the new studio’s biggest hit to date at $25.4M.

RACE (Focus/Universal) showed little speed with a $7.3M launch, and with larger costs with The Witch, it’s more likely to stay in red ink even with $20M or so in the US.

THE LADY IN THE VAN (Sony Classics) expanded to semi-wide release at 540 theatres, and had an OK per-theatre average of $2800 (below the wider releases, which were at $3100-4200) for a $1.5M total.  It’s better, however, than the widest weekend of the same studio’s Grandma, which needed 1061 theatres for a $1.5M weekend.

ZOOTOPIA (Disney) doesn’t open in the US for 2 more weeks, but it’s already earned $39M overseas after a $31.2M weekend in 22 territories.

HOLDOVERS:  None of the newcomers, of course, came close to touching the 2d weekend of DEADPOOL (20th), which held well considering its massive start (and the lack of a holiday Sunday), down 59% to $55M.  That gives it $235.4M in the US, which should ultimately reach around $350M, while overseas it earned another $85.3M in most of the world (Japan is still to come, and it’s not clear if the anarchic adventure will have a run in China) for a total so far of $256.3M.  Produced at a relatively low investment for its genre, it’s likely to hit $700-800M worldwide, a huge profit center for Fox (not so much for Marvel, which did not coproduce Deadpool, but is strictly a rightsholder).

KUNG FU PANDA 3 (DreamWorks Animation/20th) dropped just 37% from last weekend to $12.5M, although its $117.1M US total suggests that it will still end up as the lowest-grossing Panda domestically.  Overseas, it had a $7.2M weekend and is at $162.6M in just 7 markets ($137M of that amount from China alone), with the bulk of its international business still to come.

Coming off Valentine’s Day weekend, HOW TO BE SINGLE (RatPac/MGM/New Line/Warners) fell 54% to $8.2M for a $31.8M US total that probably won’t reach $50M.  Overseas, it earned $10.9M in 50 territories, putting it at $24.1M, on track for a similar total.

ZOOLANDER 2 (Paramount) collapsed by 60% from its awful opening to $5.5M and $23.7M to date, headed for an ugly $35M on production/marketing costs that may have been as high as $150M.  It’s at $17.1M overseas, so there are no miracles coming there either.

A pair of veterans are subsiding.  STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (Lucasfilm/Disney) was down 38% to $3.8M for an awesome $921.6M in the US, plus $1.12B overseas.  THE REVENANT (Regency/RatPac/20th) dropped 42% to $3.8M, giving it $165.1M in the US, plus (after a $8.6M weekend) $204.1M overseas–with the chance of an Oscar bump worldwide over the next couple of weeks, especially if the film itself and not just Leonardo DiCaprio wins.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The US release of THE MERMAID (Sony) will never approach the record-breaking $419M it’s earned in China, but it had a solid start in 35 theatres with an excellent $29K per-theatre average.  BUSCO NOVIO PARA MI MUJER (Lionsgate) was much more prosaic with a $2500 average at 357 theatres.  SON OF SAUL (Sony Classics) expanded to 75 theatres with a mild $1100 average.  TOUCHED BY FIRE (Roadside) didn’t manage a $1000 average at 67.  Foreign Film nominee EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT (Oscilloscope) averaged a fair $17K at 3 NY/LA arthouses.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Deadpool is likely to keep reaping the benefits of a slow late winter schedule, with the next sacrificial offerings sports tale EDDIE THE EAGLE (20th), which is having an unusual “sneak preview” this afternoon, fantasy GODS OF EGYPT (Summit/Lionsgate) and crime thriller TRIPLE 9 (Open Road).


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."