March 15, 2015

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 3/15/15

OPENINGS:  Fill in the ball/glass slipper/fairy tale reference of choice, because CINDERELLA (Disney) performed beautifully, with $70.1M in the US.  That puts it ahead of the $69.4M opening of Maleficent (unless adjusted numbers change things tomorrow), and below the $116.1M for Alice in Wonderland and the $79.1M for Oz the Great and PowerfulCinderella‘s 18% Saturday bump was better than Maleficent‘s 6% and Alice‘s 8%, but below Oz‘s 37%.  Overseas, Cinderella added $62.4M, although that big number is a bit misleading, since while it covered 51 territories and over half the world, more than half the earnings came from China alone, and that country allows studios to retain just 25% of revenue, less than the 40% average in the rest of the world (and the 55% average in the US).  So a dollar earned in China isn’t worth quite as much as the same dollar elsewhere.  Nevertheless, there’s no question that Cinderella, with production/worldwide marketing costs around $225M, is headed for a tremendous payday.

The same can’t be said for RUN ALL NIGHT (Warners), which “beat” last year’s A Walk Among the Tombstones to become Liam Neeson’s lowest opening as an action star with $11M.  With production/worldwide marketing costs that will exceed $125M, Run would have to be huge overseas (so far it has a not particularly promising $6.6M in 19 markets) to avoid red ink.  Neeson has said that he’s not interested in doing many more of these action vehicles, and audiences seem to be way ahead of him.

HOLDOVERS:  CHAPPIE (MRC/Columbia/Sony) fell 57% in its 2d weekend to $5.8M, and may not get past a disastrous $35M in the US, and its overseas total of $33.4M isn’t very impressive either.  THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (Fox Searchlight) declined 33% to $5.7M, but it also increased its theatre count by 25%, so its per-theatre average was down a much less sturdy 48%.  It’s at $18.1M in the US, and may not have the legs to match the first Exotic‘s $46.4M US total.  Overseas, where the first film made $90.4M, Second Best is at $28.9M, most of that coming from the UK.  UNFINISHED BUSINESS (Regency/20th) is finished, down 53% from last weekend to $2.3M and a terrible $8.6M total.

KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE (MARV/20th) continues to be the class of the holdover pack, down a tiny 25% in its 5th weekend to $6.2M, and with $107.4M in the US so far.  Overseas, it’s at $169.9M after a $13.7M weekend.  It should end up at $325M+ worldwide by the time it’s done.  FOCUS (RatPac Dune/Warners) dropped 42% to $5.8M in the US for a soft $44M total, and overseas it’s at $57.7M after a $13.5M weekend in 61 markets.  A $150M worldwide total won’t get it to profit.

The other strong holdovers continued that way.  THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER (Nickelodeon/Par) lost 39% to $4.1M in the US ($154.7M total), and earned $4.3M in 49 international territories ($116.2M total).  MCFARLAND, USA (Disney) slipped 29% to $3.7M ($35M total).  AMERICAN SNIPER (Village Roadshow/Warners) dropped 33% to $2.9M (an awesome $341.5M total), plus $8M in 57 overseas markets ($175.7M total).  THE DUFF (CBS/Lionsgate) was down 39% to $2.9M ($30.3M total).

A pop culture footnote:  50 SHADES OF GREY (Focus/Universal), after a $2.9M weekend in the US (down 48%) and $8.3M in 60 overseas markets, is now at $546.5M worldwide ($385.1M of that is from outside the US), putting it ahead of the first Despicable Me in global box office.

LIMITED RELEASE:  IT FOLLOWS (Radius/Weinstein) had a very impressive start even after the celebrity Q&As were over, with a great $41K average at 4 NY/LA haunted houses.  We’ll find out soon enough if this unconventional horror thriller (very little on-screen gore, no cheap shocks, relatively naturalistic acting) can become a mainstream sleeper.  WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (Paladin) expanded to 126 theatres with a $2700 average.  WILD TALES (Sony Classics) went to 68 theatres with a $3900 average.  ’71 (Roadside) expanded to 65 with a $3200 average.  The Israeli GETT (Music Box) is now at 34 with a $2500 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The only real competition INSURGENT (Summit/Lionsgate) faces is the 2d weekend of Cinderella, but Insurgent is likely to build on Divergent‘s $54.6M opening last March, which should put it safely on top (especially since the sequel will charge 3D ticket prices).  The other, somewhat half-hearted wide opening is THE GUNMAN (Open Road), which is basically Sean Penn’s attempt to deliver a Liam Neeson action movie, for whatever that’s worth at the moment.  The marquee limited release is DANNY COLLINS (Bleecker Street), which marks the directing debut of screenwriter Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love, Lost Vegas) and stars Al Pacino and Annette Bening.

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."