May 29, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 5/29/16


OPENINGS:  As we forecast on Friday night, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (TSG/20th) isn’t just running lower than 2014’s Days of Future Past, it’s also been more frontloaded.  20th is projecting a $65M 3-day weekend and $80M over 4 days, but Apocalypse dropped 23% from Friday to Saturday, compared to 18% for Future Past, and Apocalypse‘s Saturday was down 31% from the 2d day of Future Past, so unless things look up on Sunday-Monday, the final 4-day number is more likely to be around $76M.  That suggests a $160M US total, not the worst of the franchise (excluding the standalone Deadpool and Wolverines, the original X-Men and the First Class reboot were lower), but still a fairly meager return on a production/marketing investment that’s probably over $325M.  Things aren’t much brighter overseas, where Apocalypse earned $55.3M in 79 territories that covered most of the world (but not China) for a $185.8M total to date.  Even if Apocalypse matches the $116.5M China total for Future Past, it’s probably heading for $550M worldwide, $200M below Future Past‘s final tally, and that isn’t going to be much better than breakeven for such an expensive product.

It’s far better, though, than the fate of ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (Disney), a disaster no matter how it’s sliced.  Disney is claiming $28.1M over 3 days in the US and $35M by Monday, but those include the projection that Looking Glass will be the only movie in the Top 10 to go up on Sunday (despite a 6% Saturday drop, while Alice In Wonderland gained 8% on its 2d day of release), so that may be optimistic.  Even if it does hit the studio estimates, the first 4 days of Looking Glass would be down a horrible 72% from the 1st four days of Wonderland, and it’s unlikely to get much over $100M in the US.  Overseas won’t bail it out, as it’s only at $65M in 43 markets, including China.  After having 2015’s #1 movie with The Force Awakens, Disney has the top 3 of 2016 (Captain America: Civil War, Zootopia, Jungle Book), so fans of schadenfreude can breathe a sigh of relief, as the studio has its first big flop of the year, with a likely markdown that might hit 9 digits on $325M+ costs.

WARCRAFT (Legendary/Universal) is the latest action spectacle to open overseas before the US, and it’s off to a merely OK start, with $31.6M in 20 markets.  Warcraft reportedly cost a bit less than its competition, but the investment is still $250M+, which leaves it a long way to climb.

HOLDOVERS:  Despite the holiday weekend and soft new arrivals, holds were mostly mediocre or worse.  CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (Marvel/Disney) fell 54% to $15.1M for the 3-day weekend, a bigger drop than the Memorial Day weekends for Avengers: Age of Ultron (44%) and Iron Man 3 (46%), supporting the idea that the superhero genre, while still strong, has peaked.  Civil War is at $372.6M in the US, and now seems to be headed for a domestic total around Iron Man 3‘s $409M, a bit lower than expected considering the mass of major characters and strong reviews.  It’s also tailing off overseas, with a $12.5M weekend bringing that total to $730.7M.  Worldwide, it’s at $1.1B, and may not quite reach Iron 3‘s $1.2B.

THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE (Rovio/Columbia/Sony) fell a surprisingly heavy 51% for the 3-day weekend to $18.7M, putting it at $66.4M in the US and on track for $125M or so.  It’s at $157.2M overseas after a $31.8M weekend, and might make its way to the $358.4M worldwide total of Hotel Transylvania, which has managed to maintain a mid-level franchise.

NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING (Good Universe/Universal) slumped by 58% in its 2d 3-day weekend to $9.1M, worse than the 49% drop for Weekend 2 of the first Neighbors, which didn’t even include a holiday.  Neighbors 2 is at $38.3M, down 58% from the 10-day total for the first movie, and probably won’t get much past $60M in the US.  Even with a moderate production cost, that’s a lousy result, and the $36.5M overseas total won’t help much.

THE NICE GUYS (Waypoint/Warners) found more support, down 43% for the 3-day weekend.  But it started so low that the weekend number was still just $6.4M, and a $40M US total won’t pay for its marketing costs.

The weekend’s strongest hold was for the 7th weekend of THE JUNGLE BOOK (Disney), which despite the arrival of Alice Through the Looking Glass and the loss of about 25% of its theatres, slipped only 36% to $7M, giving it a US total of $336.5M.  That inched it ahead of stablemate Zootopia as the #3 movie of the year in the US, behind Captain America and Deadpool, whose $362.8M is its final goal.  Worldwide, Jungle Book is also #3, behind Captain America and Zootopia, with a total of $877..6M after a $5.3M overseas weekend, and with Japan and Korea yet to open.

LIMITED RELEASE:  No major openings, but lots of expansions.  LOVE & FRIENDSHIP (Amazon/Roadside) neared nationwide distribution with a move into 493 theatres, where its 3-day weekend averaged $5100.  With $2.5M this weekend and $3.5M so far, that already makes it the 2d biggest hit of director Whit Stillman’s career, and virtually certain to move past Barcelona‘s $7.3M (not accounting for 22 years of inflation).  THE LOBSTER (A24) widened more moderately to 116 theatres with a fair $6300 average.  THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY (IFC) was subdued with a $1500 average in 288 theatres, and A BIGGER SPLASH (Fox Searchlight) even more so with a $1100 average at 378.  On a smaller scale, MAGGIE’S PLAN (Sony Classics) averaged an OK $5500 at 19.  DHEEPAN (IFC) averaged $1100 at 15.

NEXT WEEKEND:  TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS (Par) will hope to match the surprise $65.6M opening of the franchise’s reboot 2 years ago.  POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING (Universal) is music parody group The Lonely Island’s first feature.  ME BEFORE YOU (Warners) will try to tap into the sad summer romance audience of The Fault In Our Stars (as opposed to the smaller crowd for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl).


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."