June 18, 2017

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 6.18.2017


OPENINGS:  Despite the advantage of a Father’s Day weekend start, CARS 3 (Pixar/Disney) had the lowest opening of its franchise with $53.5M, 19% below Cars 2, and even 11% behind 2006’s original Cars.  It’s likely to end up at the low end of Pixar titles, with a US total closer to A Bug’s Life (almost 20 years ago) than its recent smashes.  It’s having a gradual international release, and started with $21.3M in 23 markets.  These aren’t exciting numbers, but for Disney, the important statistic will be the year’s merchandising sales, which have been the lifeblood of the Cars franchise.  Even so, it will be interesting to see if the studio greenlights a 4th Cars to even more diminishing returns.

ALL EYEZ ON ME (Morgan Creek/Lionsgate) turned out to be massively frontloaded, with a plunge of 40% on its 2d day of release.  The resulting $27.1M weekend is still above tracking expectations, but the box office multiple is likely to be low, leaving the film with $60M or so in the US and meager international prospects.  Even with moderate production and marketing budgets, that means profits will be marginal.

47 METERS DOWN (Entertainment Studios) had a decent start at $11.5M, considering its cheap production/marketing costs.  It compares well to the $16.8M launch of The Shallows, although without the marketing muscle of a Sony, it’s unlikely to get near the worldwide $119.1M of that one.  It’s a fine calling card for its newcomer studio, and if it can crack $60M worldwide, it could even hit some profit.

ROUGH NIGHT (Columbia/Sony) clunked with $8M in the US, with little chance of recouping its $100M or so in costs.  The overseas launch was slim as well with $4.2M in 16 territories.  Both Sony and Scarlett Johansson will look to Marvel for a lift, respectively with Spider-Man: Homecoming and the next Avengers epic.  The failures of Rough Night and Baywatch will make the reception for The House, summer’s next R-rated comedy, worth keeping an eye on.

Considering that THE BOOK OF HENRY (Focus/Universal) received some of the worst reviews in recent memory, its $1.4M weekend and $2400 per-theatre average at a barely-wide 579 houses isn’t all that awful.  Nevertheless, it’s not going to have much of a future, and will next come to mind when it’s time for Worst 10 lists to be drawn up at the end of the year.

DESPICABLE ME 3 (Illumination/Universal) doesn’t open here for 2 weeks, but it’s begun its international release with $10M in 5 territories.

HOLDOVERS:  WONDER WOMAN (RatPac/Wanda/Ten Cent/Warners) clearly wasn’t considered too ladylike for Father’s Day weekend, continuing a spectacular hold for a superhero movie, down an amazingly small 30% in its 3rd weekend to $40.8M in the US.  (By comparison:  The Dark Knight dropped 43% in its parallel weekend, and the original Spider-Man was down 37%.)  It now seems likely to outgross Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad in the US, a remarkable achievement.  Overseas, it’s at $297.2M after a $39.5M weekend, with Japan still to come, and its worldwide total could match Suicide Squad‘s $745.6M.

Father’s Day couldn’t keep THE MUMMY (Perfect World/Universal) from falling 56% in its 2d US weekend to $13.9M, with a domestic total that will probably end up around $85M.  Things are much brighter overseas, where it’s at $239.1M after a $53M weekend, but even there it plunged 62% from opening weekend.  With Japan still to open, it’s headed for $400-450M worldwide, which will make it borderline for breakeven.  Universal seems willing to continue with its “Dark Universe” mega-franchise to the extent of its next installment The Bride of Frankenstein, but there’s been little recent talk of what may come after that.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES (Disney) had an unaccountably strong US weekend, down just 21% to $8.5M after previous drops of 65% and 52%.  At this box office level it doesn’t matter much, but Dead Men may scrape its way to $175M in the US, still down 27% from the last installment.  Overseas, it’s at $500M after a $18.8M weekend, and next month’s Japan opening will be hugely important since that was the single highest-grossing territory for On Stranger Tides.  If Dead Men reaches $800M worldwide, it will be down about 25% from Stranger Tides, quite profitable but heading downward.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE (DreamWorks Animation/20th) held well in the face of Cars 3, down 40% in the US to $7.4M, which leaves it on track for a mild $75M US total.  It’s still holding off on the main part of its international run, with $4.8M in a few markets.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 (Marvel/Disney) dipped just 21% in its 7th weekend, although that was only worth $5M.  It should end up at $385M in the US, about $50M ahead of the first Guardians.  Overseas, it’s at $469.5M, ahead of its predecessor by $30M.

Last week’s smaller openings remained small.  IT COMES AT NIGHT (A24) collapsed by 56% to $2.6M, and won’t reach $20M.  MEGAN LEAVEY (Bleecker Street) held better, down 40%, but that left it with a $2.3M weekend and little chance of getting past $15M.  MY COUSIN RACHEL (Fox Searchlight) dropped 45% for a $1000 per-theatre average and a weekend slightly above $500K.

LIMITED RELEASE:  MAUDIE (Sony Classics) had a slim start with a $2100 average at 24 theatres.  PARIS CAN WAIT (Sony Classics) expanded to near-wide release at 447 theatres with a flat $1700 average.  BEATRIZ AT DINNER (Roadside) widened to 77 with a promising $9300 average.  THE HERO (Orchard), now at 27 theatres, averaged $5K.  BAND AID (IFC) doubled to 24 theatres and averaged $1500.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The big opening arrives on Tuesday night, as TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT (Paramount) makes its thunderous entrance.  No other wide release is going near it, but there will be counterprogramming in limited release from festival favorites THE BIG SICK (Amazon/Lionsgate) and THE BEGUILED (Focus/Universal).

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."