March 25, 2018

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 3.25.2018


OPENINGS:  PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING (Legendary/Universal) pulled in a family audience on Saturday, giving it a 3% bump, while the first Pacific Rim had dropped 13% on its 2nd day of release.  That pushed Uprising‘s weekend to $28M, still down 25% from the original’s start.  The US result for Uprising, however, is almost an afterthought, as this film was produced for the international (and especially Asian) market.  It earned $122.5M overseas this weekend ($65M from China), but with only Japan still to open, that may not be enough for a project whose production/marketing costs may top $275M.  At the moment, Uprising seems to be heading for $350M worldwide, which wouldn’t put it past breakeven once all costs and fees are calculated.  It seems safe to say that if the franchise continues, it will have to be at a lower production budget level.

It was a long way down to SHERLOCK GNOMES (MGM/Paramount), which had a $10.6M opening (60% below Gnomeo & Juliet‘s $25.4M opening), and probably won’t get past $40M in the US on $125M+ in costs.  Barring enormous international success (it’s currently at $4.6M overseas after a $2.1M weekend in 19 markets), that will probably be the end of this franchise.

PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST (Affirm/Sony) was targeted to Palm Sunday weekend and Easter week ahead, but its play for the Christian audience was checkmated by I Can Only Imagine, and it managed just $5M for the weekend, an unholy flop.

MIDNIGHT SUN (Global Road) didn’t cost much, but at $4.1M, it won’t even earn back its limited expenses.  It probably should have gone directly to VOD or a streaming service.

UNSANE (Fingerprint/Bleecker Street) is Steven Soderbergh’s second attempt to tweak Hollywood’s production, release and marketing templates (he raises the budget independently and has almost complete control), and it cost much less to produce than last year’s Logan Lucky, but so far Soderbergh isn’t doing much to undermine conventional wisdom.  Unsane, shot on an iPhone and with mostly favorable reviews, only reached $3.9M for the weekend, and although Soderbergh’s pre-sales may put him in the black, his financing partners are likely to feel some pain.

HOLDOVERS:  BLACK PANTHER (Marvel/Disney) lost its place at the top of the box office after 6 weeks to Pacific Rim: Uprising, but it’s still a champion.  It declined 38% in the US to $16.7M, and has $630.9M to date, becoming the #1 film here both for Marvel and the superhero genre in general, and with Titanic‘s $659.3M (which includes that film’s 3D re-release) and #3 slot at the US all-time box office in sight.  Overseas, Panther earned another $12.9M for the weekend for a $606.4M total.  Its only slight blemish is that unlike other Marvel blockbusters, its international performance will likely remain behind its US box office, something Disney will no doubt work on for Black Panther 2.

I CAN ONLY IMAGINE (Roadside) had a great 19% drop to $13.8M in its 2nd weekend, but that comes with a footnote, as it also increased its theatre count by 38%.  The per-theatre weekend drop was a more standard 42%.  Nevertheless, Imagine is printing money on low production costs and a focused marketing campaign, and it might get to $70M in the US.

TOMB RAIDER (MGM/Warners) fell 56% in its 2nd weekend to $10.4M, and won’t get much past $60M in the US against $225M in costs.  It, too, needs overseas rescue, and things aren’t great internationally either, where a $34.1M weekend put it at $170M with no more major markets still to open.  $300M worldwide would be breakeven at best.

A WRINKLE IN TIME (Disney) continued to unravel, down 51% in its 3rd weekend to $8M, and on its way to $90M in the US.  Its slow-roll overseas release is at $14.1M after a $2.3M weekend in 13 territories, and an enormous amount of heavy lifting will be needed internationally for it to get anywhere close to breaking even.

LOVE, SIMON (Temple Hill/20th) dipped 34% to $7.8M, and will hope to get past a modest $40M in the US, bearing low production costs but an expensive big-studio marketing campaign.  It hasn’t yet opened overseas.

GAME NIGHT (New Line/Warners), still the only comedy around, slipped just 26% in its 5th weekend to $4.2M, and should be able to reach $70M in the US.  It’s also at $34M overseas to date after a $1.9M weekend in 51 markets.  Those numbers still probably aren’t enough to push it into profitability.

PETER RABBIT (Sony Animation/Columbia/Sony) is nearing the end of its run in the US, down 52% to $2.5M and on track for a bit over $110M.  However, it’s still thriving overseas, with a $28M weekend in 39 territories and $76.3M to date.

7 DAYS IN ENTEBBE (Focus/Universal) plunged 58% in its 2nd weekend to $650K, and won’t see $5M in the US.

LIMITED RELEASE:  ISLE OF DOGS (Fox Searchlight) had a buoyant start with a $58K per-theatre average in a larger-than-usual 27-theatre opening, which is just slightly less than the $66K average The Fantastic Mr. Fox had when it opened at 4.  FINAL PORTRAIT (Sony Classics) had an OK $9400 average at 3.  THE DEATH OF STALIN (IFC) expanded well to 140 with a $7600 average.  THE LEISURE SEEKER (Sony Classics) averaged $2700 at 117.  FLOWER (The Orchard) is claiming a $2200 average at 57, but that number relies on an incredibly strong Sunday estimate.  FOXTROT (Sony Classics) averaged $2900 at 26.  JOURNEY’S END (Good Deed) expanded to 9 with a $1600 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Steven Spielberg’s READY PLAYER ONE (Warners) is the week’s event, and it’s giving it self an extra day of “weekend” by opening on Thursday (i.e., Wednesday night).  Other wide releases include Tyler Perry’s ACRIMONY (Lionsgate) and GOD’S NOT DEAD: A LIGHT IN DARKNESS (Pure Flix)FINDING YOUR FEET (Roadside) and OUTSIDE IN (The Orchard) begin limited releases.


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."