May 22, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 5/22/16


OPENINGS:  Studios are increasingly starting their global launches of franchise blockbusters overseas, and once again, the weekend’s biggest box office news occurred outside the US.  X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (20th) has opened in 75 overseas territories that cover about 2/3 of the world (but not yet China) and had a $103.3M weekend.  That’s much lower than the $171.1M start for X-Men: Days of Future Past, but that was in 118 markets that did include China (which was worth $37.7M alone), and the studio claims that on an apples-to-apples basis, Apocalypse has opened bigger.  Future Past ended up at $514M overseas, so however the comparison falls, that’s still a good neighborhood to be in.

Back home, THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE (Rovio/Sony) led the box office with a $39M weekend, not quite as high as Hotel Transylvania‘s $42.5M.  Notably, Transylvania had a 73% Saturday bump, while Angry Birds only managed 48%, suggesting some frontloading.  Also, while Transylvania dropped 34% on its 1st Sunday, Sony is projecting just a 28% drop for Angry Birds, which may mean a lower final number tomorrow.  In any case, this is a solid start, and the Birds also flew to $55.5M overseas, where it is now almost worldwide (including China), for a $112M international total.  Angry Birds looks like it might get to $350M worldwide, which would once again put it in the area of Hotel Transylvania‘s $358.4M, enough to launch a modest franchise.  As we noted on Friday night, Sony has a limited rooting interest in all this, since Rovio paid all the production and marketing costs, and Sony receives a fee that would be around $25M on a $350M worldwide total, with Rovio keeping any other upside.

NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING (Good Universe/Universal) plunged 55% from the opening of Neighbors 2 years ago to a meager $21.8M.  If it continues at that rate, it would reach $120M worldwide, not enough to pay for its production and marketing.  It’s odd that a movie fairly well-regarded as dumb comedies go (73% on Rotten Tomatoes) generated so little enthusiasm for a sequel, and it’s certainly not good news for Seth Rogen, who may be aging out of his fanbase.  Neighbors 2 also isn’t thrilling overseas (where the first movie took in $120.5M), with $30M after a $6M weekend in 45 markets.

THE NICE GUYS (Waypoint/Warners) is the latest nail in the coffin of mid-budgeted non-franchise star vehicles.  Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling weren’t able to get its opening above $11.3M, and with limited foreign appeal, it’s unlikely to break even.  Truthfully, the movie plays like a pilot for a Crowe/Gosling cable series, and maybe that’s where its stars will end up next.

HOLDOVERS:  CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (Marvel/Disney) tripled the next holdover, but its 54% drop to $33.1M, especially with no direct competition in the market, is a bit heavier than expected.  (Avengers: Age of Ultron fell 50% in its 3rd weekend and Iron Man 3 fell 51%, while Civil War fared just slightly better than the 55% drop for Batman v. SupermanDeadpool, on the other hand, slipped just 45%.)  This may be where audience superhero fatigue becomes evident, and it won’t be helped by the arrival of X-Men next week.  Of course, Civil War has nothing to complain about.  In the US, it’s at $347.4M, and should easily clear $400M, and overseas it earned $30.7M for a $706.1M total, putting it over $1B worldwide, and likely to reach the $1.2B level of Iron Man 3.

THE JUNGLE BOOK (Disney) is holding strong, down just 36% from last weekend to $11M in the US and a $327.5M total, plus $530.2M overseas after a $7.4M weekend (with Japan/Korea yet to open).  Stablemate ZOOTOPIA (Disney) is nudging the $1B worldwide mark (it’s at $981.8M) after a $1.7M weekend in the US that was down 40% from last week, and a $4.7M weekend overseas, where it actually ticked up in Japan.

MONEY MONSTER (TriStar/LStar/Sony) crashed by 52% in its 2d weekend to $7.1M, unsupported by its older audience, and won’t get much above $40M in the US.  Remarkably, the cheapie horror movie THE DARKNESS (Blumhouse/High Top/Focus/Universal) had the same 52% drop, and although that only leaves it at $8.5M after a $2.4M weekend, its tiny economics may well make it more successful than Money Monster.

LIMITED RELEASE:  MAGGIE’S PLAN (Sony Classics) opened at 5 NY/LA theatres with an OK $13K per-theatre average.  WEINER (IFC) was a bit stronger, with a $17K average at 5, but considering the NY-centric appeal of that documentary, the number may not mean much nationally.  THE MEDDLER (Sony Classics) expanded to near-wide release at 464 theatres, and had a thin per-theatre average of $1700.  THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY (IFC) widened to 271 theatres with a $2K average.  A BIGGER SPLASH (Fox Searchlight) had a $2600 average at 128.  LOVE & FRIENDSHIP (Amazon/Roadside), now in 47 theatres, averaged $12K.  THE LOBSTER (A24) averaged $17K at 24.  None of these numbers suggests wide mainstream success.

NEXT WEEKEND:  As noted, X-Men: Apocalypse reaches US shores for Memorial Day weekend, and so does ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (Disney). 

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."