March 22, 2015

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 3/22/15


OPENINGS:  INSURGENT (Summit/Lionsgate) had a stronger Saturday hold than Divergent (down 7% instead of 13%), and based on that, Liosgate is also claiming a stronger Sunday hold (down 35% instead of 40%).  That gives Insurgent a $54.1M weekend studio estimate, just a breath away from Divergent‘s $54.6M, although even if those numbers hold up tomorrow, Insurgent would still be farther behind than that in terms of tickets sold, because it added higher-priced 3D and IMAX tickets to the mix.  Claiming $54M in the US also allowed Lionsgate to tout a $101M worldwide opening, including the $47M being reported overseas, where the movie is playing virtually everywhere except China, Japan, Korea and Spain.  That opening can’t be compared to Divergent‘s, because last year’s installment had a very different overseas release plan, starting several weeks after the US launch and building gradually.  (Lionsgate claims Insurgent is 33% stronger in parallel markets, but that doesn’t take into account the relative number of theatres, etc.)  In any case, Insurgent is certainly doing well, fully justifying the production of the last two chapters of the franchise.  What remains to be seen is how it will stack up (with $25M more in production costs, and possibly higher marketing expenses as well) against Divergent‘s ultimate $288.7M worldwide take.

No such complications for THE GUNMAN (Open Road), which is simply a flop with its $5M opening weekend.  Open Road had a limited investment in the internationally-financed production, but The Gunman won’t even earn back its marketing costs, and any hope Sean Penn evidently had of being the new Liam Neeson is gone.

DO YOU BELIEVE? (Pure Flix) shouldn’t have believed it could match last year’s opening of God’s Not Dead on the parallel weekend.  Believe–even boosted by an extremely aggressive Sunday estimate of a 15% increase, rather than Dead‘s 5% Sunday drop–could only claim a $4M weekend, far behind Dead‘s $9.2M.  Even worse, while Dead reached that number at just 780 theatres, Believe required 1320 theatres to be less than half as successful.  On a per-theatre basis, Believe‘s average was barely more than one-third of Dead‘s, and the new effort won’t get anywhere close to Dead‘s $60.8M total.

HOME (DreamWorks Animation/20th) doesn’t open here until next week, but DreamWorks executives and investors have to be delighted by the movie’s overseas start, with $19.2M in just 9 markets, almost half of it from the UK (where it beat the opening of Insurgent).  The studio is in desperate need of a hit, and Home clearly has potential to be one.

HOLDOVERS:  CINDERELLA (Disney) fell 49% from its opening to $34.5M, putting it at $122M in the US.  That drop was a bit worse than the 2d weekends for Alice in Wonderland (46%) and Oz the Great and Powerful (48%), although better than Maleficent (51%).  Cinderella (which was less expensive to produce than any of those) should safely get to $200M in the US, with possibly some upside beyond that.  Overseas, the Disney princess earned $41.1M (down only about one-third from last weekend) for a $131.1M total, with major territories like the UK and France still to come.

Nothing else was remotely close to the weekend’s two leading ladies.  RUN ALL NIGHT (Warners) dropped 54% to $5.1M, and is unlikely to pass $30M at the US box office.  KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE (MARV/20th) continues to show terrific staying power, down just 26% to $4.6M ($114.6M total), plus $180.6M overseas.  THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (Fox Searchlight) dropped 39% to $3.5M for a running total of $24.1M, a significantly steeper drop than the 30% for the first Marigold on the parallel weekend of its release.  The aptly titled Second Best also has $34.4M overseas.  FOCUS (RatPac Dune/Warners) fell 43% to $3.3M for $49.4M in the US plus a merely OK $71M overseas, and CHAPPIE (MRC/Columbia/Sony) lost 54% to $2.7M for a sad $28.3M in the US plus an underwhelming $43.3M overseas.

LIMITED RELEASE:  DANNY COLLINS (Bleecker Street) got off to a decent start for its newly-born distributor, with a $15K average in 5 NY/LA theatres.  IT FOLLOWS (Radius/Weinstein) widened well, with an $11K average in 32 theatres.  WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (Paladin) continues to show strength, adding a negligible 8 theatres for a total of 134 and slipping just 4% from last weekend, with a $2300 average.  ’71 (Roadside) almost doubled its theatres to 116 and increased by 19% for a $2100 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  HOME doesn’t face any direct competition (aside from the 3rd weekend of Cinderella), with the only other major opening being the R-rated Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart vehicle GET HARD (Warners).  In addition, IT FOLLOWS will reportedly expand to 1000+ theatres.  The marquee limited release is Noah Baumbach’s WHILE WE’RE YOUNG (A24), opening in NY/LA.

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."