April 23, 2017

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 4.23.2017


Note:  Holdover titles tended to decline less than usual because comparisons include last week’s Easter Sunday.

OPENINGS:  BORN IN CHINA (Disney) was at the top of an unimpressive group of debuts this weekend with $5.1M, narrowly ahead of the $4.6M for Monkey Kingdom, the last in the studio’s “Disneynature” series of Earth Day wildlife documentaries.  The studio estimate includes a strong Sunday number (down just 16% from Saturday), but that’s in line with the way Monkey Kingdom performed.  These releases are mostly PR statements by Disney, which is counting the days until Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 opens.

UNFORGETTABLE (RatPac/Warners) wasn’t able to rouse a “so bad it’s good” audience, and managed $4.8M.  Even with a reported $12M production budget, it’s unlikely to recoup its big-studio marketing costs.  There’s little hope overseas, either, where the thriller opened with $1.7M in 16 markets.

THE PROMISE (Open Road) earned just $4.1M, and with a reported $90M production cost, it will be one of the year’s biggest money losers.  Most of the money was put up by the late Kirk Kerkorian, whose passion project it was to tell a story of the World War I-era Armenian genocide, and Open Road apparently served as a releasing organization for a fee.

THE LOST CITY OF Z (Bleecker Street/Amazon) widened to a quasi-wide 614 theatres with a quiet $2.1M.  On the bright side, it will almost certainly become writer/director James Gray’s #2 film at the box office, since that mark is currently at $3.1M for Two Lovers.  (#1 is the $28.6M for We Own the Night.)

PHOENIX FORGOTTEN (Cinelou) was well-titled, with $2M for the weekend–and even that number will require a much stronger Sunday performance than horror movies normally manage.

FREE FIRE (A24) didn’t fulfill its sleeper potential with a grim $1M weekend (and that, again, assumes a strong Sunday).  Even with a relatively slender 1070-theatre release, that’s deader than the fate of most of the movie’s characters.

HOLDOVERS:  THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS (Universal) had no trouble maintaining its box office dominance, but despite the weak competition, it fell 61% to $38.7M for a US total of $163.6M.  That’s slightly worse than the 60% Weekend 2 drop for Furious 7, and extrapolating from that one’s ultimate US total, Fate is headed for $230M here, a considerable 35% decline.  The numbers are much higher overseas, of course, but the trajectory is similar.  Weekend 2 was $163.4M, down 66% from last week’s giant haul.  That includes a 67% drop in China, although Fate‘s start was so massive that it’s still expected to become the #1 US title in Chinese box office history.  (China’s total is more than 10x the gross from any other international territory.)  Fate is at $908.4M worldwide (with Japan still to open), and should end up at $1.2-1.3B, with about 82% of its total earned overseas (compared to 77% for Furious 7).

THE BOSS BABY (DreamWorks Animation/20th) declined 20% in its 4th US weekend to $12.8M, and could reach $165M.  It’s at $221.1M overseas (where Korea is still ahead), after a $30M weekend, and should nose ahead of the $386M worldwide total for DreamWorks Animation’s 2015 Home, making it a moderate success.

BEAUTY & THE BEAST (Disney) dipped 27% to $10M in the US, and should reach $490M.  Its global total is now $1.1B, after a $22.9M international weekend that included a $12.8M opening in Japan, where hit titles tend to have much longer runs than elsewhere in the world (Frozen ran there for 5 solid months).  It remains to be seen whether Beauty has enough gas to displace Frozen‘s $1.277B as the #1 family title of all time.

GOING IN STYLE (Village Roadshow/RatPac/New Line/Warners) held well with a 20% drop, but after a $5M US weekend it’s still not going to get much past $40M.  It’s at $19.1M overseas after a $4.6M weekend in 47 markets.

SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE (Columbia/Sony) dropped 28% in the US to $4.9M, on its way to $45M.  Things are brighter but not bright enough overseas, where it’s at $100.3M after a $21.4M weekend in 60 territories that included an $11.1M opening in China.

GIFTED (Fox Searchlight) almost doubled its theatre count again, up to 1986 theatres, and had a $4.5M weekend for a $10.7M total to date.  It should reach $20M, but that’s with the expense of a national marketing campaign, and it’s not clear what the prospects are beyond that.

LIMITED RELEASE:  COLOSSAL (Neon) nearly doubled its run to 224 theatres with a mild $2600 per-theatre average.  THEIR FINEST (STX) widened to 176 theatres and averaged $3200.  NORMAN (Sony Classics) had a more modest expansion to 18 theatres with a $7600 average.  A QUIET PASSION (Music Box) averaged $6K at 13. TRUMAN (First Run) had a $2200 average at 18.  GRADUATION (IFC) averaged $1400 at 14.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Fate of the Furious may coast to another victory (its last, with Guardians 2 opening the following week), with slim competition that includes THE CIRCLE (STX), HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER (Pantelion/Lionsgate), and SLEIGHT (Blumhouse/Tilt).


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."