April 3, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 4/3/16


THE MAIN EVENT:  As the roof caved in on BATMAN V SUPERMAN:  DAWN OF JUSTICE (DC/RatPac/Warners), the studio had two last-ditch goals:  to avoid a Weekend 2 result that dropped 70% from last week or dipped below $50M in the US.  Pending tomorrow’s final numbers, it appears to have managed that, with a 68% drop to $52.4M.  Even if that number holds, it’s bad news:  BvS went from the  #7 opening weekend of all time to the #26 2d weekend, a handy demonstration of what bad word of mouth looks like.  (The weekend was even fractionally worse than the notoriously terrible Weekend 2 drop for director Zack Snyder’s Watchmen.)  BvS now looks like it will end up at $335-365M in the US, at best barely edging past the R-rated, far less expensive Deadpool, which fell just 57% in its own 2d weekend (and that was coming off a holiday) to $56.7M.  Things weren’t better overseas, where the downside of a simultaneous global opening was simultaneous global word of mouth, resulting in a 67% plunge to $85.1M, with a particularly bad hold in the crucial territory of China.  With $421.4M in international earnings so far, BvS may still get to $850-900M worldwide, and as we’ve noted before, that will make the movie a “success” on Warners’s books, but in terms of establishing the DC universe as competitive with Marvel’s, the enterprise is in big trouble, especially since heroes like Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg (and even Wonder Woman), all slated to get their own films, have far less cachet than Batman and Superman.  Reports are that Suicide Squad is already undergoing reshoots to be less gloomy, and one can only speculate about the frantic rewrites being ordered on Justice League, the next Zack Snyder extravaganza scheduled to begin production later this month.

OPENINGS:  BvS‘s collapse is particularly ugly because it faced almost no new competition, with all of the other major studios hiding under their collective beds.  With an empty stage available, indies came out to play.  That made the biggest opening $8.1M for GOD’S NOT DEAD 2 (Pure Flix), itself an awful start when compared to the $9.2M opening for the first Not Dead–in one-third as many theatres.  That one ended up with $60.8M in the US, but the follow-up may not get much past half that.

MEET THE BLACKS (Freestyle) had a barely-wide opening at 1015 theatres and a meager $4.1M start.

A trio of limited releases rushed to go wide.  EYE IN THE SKY (Bleecker Street) performed best, with an OK $4.1M at 1029 theatres.  HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS (Roadside) was far more subdued with $2.4M at 964.  And I SAW THE LIGHT (Sony Classics) was a twanging disaster with $745K at 741 theatres, continuing a bad run for Sony Classics, which hasn’t seen a film hit $10M for the past year.

HOLDOVERS:  The absence of meaningful new competition helped all the films already in theatres.  With the family audience to itself and blissful word of mouth, ZOOTOPIA (Disney) romped in its 5th weekend, down just 17% to $20M in the US for a $275.9M total and $300M dead ahead.  Overseas was even better, a $30M weekend that puts it at $511.7M without having yet arrived in Japan, a big market for animation.  Worldwide, it’s at $787.6M, and it could end up ahead of BvS in the end.

MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 (Gold Circle) dropped a respectable 38% in Weekend 2 to $11.1M for a $36.5M US totalthat could get it to $60M.  Overseas, it earned a promising $5.6M in only 19 markets for a $18.4M total.  Big Fat 2 won’t get anywhere near the phenomenal success of the original ($241.4M US/$1273M overseas), but it should be be quite profitable on its moderate budget.

MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN (Affirm/TriStar/Sony) was barely ruffled by the arrival of God’s Not Dead 2, down 22% to $7.6M and a $46.9M US total.  It’s still headed for the neighborhood of $60M, a solid result but not the breakout of Heaven Is For Real and its $91.4M.

Even ALLEGIANT (Summit/Lionsgate) was buoyed by the lack of new competition, stabilizing with a 39% drop to $5.7M.  It’s still woeful, though, at $56.4M in the US and not likely to get past $70M.  It’s at $80.3M overseas, less than half of Insurgent‘s $167.1M.

LIMITED RELEASE:  MILES AHEAD (Sony Classics) started strongly with a $31K per-theatre average at 4 NY/LA arthouses.  EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! (Annapurna/Paramount) was softer with a $17K average at 19.  MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (Warners), which has a serious marketing budget behind it by arthouse release standards, expanded to 58 theatres with an OK $10K average.  In the jazz bio subgenre, BORN TO BE BLUE (IFC) was far behind Miles Ahead with a $4300 average at 20.  MARGUERITE (Cohen Media) widened to 46 with a $1600 average.  Despite solid reviews, THE DARK HORSE (Broad Green) managed just a $4200 average at 2.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The competition isn’t much stronger, with the R-rated Melissa McCarthy comedy THE BOSS (Universal) as the biggest arrival.  Also on hand are 1st-person action thriller HARDCORE HENRY (STX) and horror movie BEFORE I WAKE (Relativity).  In addition, DEMOLITION (Fox Searchlight) will have an unusually wide 550-theatre opening for an indie.


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."