June 4, 2017

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 6.4.2017


OPENINGS:  WONDER WOMAN (RatPac/Wanda/Ten Cent/DC/Warners) is a big win with $100.5M in the US, and for the DC franchise, the 93% at Rotten Tomatoes may be almost as important a number.  It’s also worth noting that unusually, Warners has conservatively estimated Sunday with a 28% drop (by comparison, Guardians Vol 2, arguably with less impressive word of mouth since Wonder Woman had a better Saturday hold, went down 24% on its first Sunday).  So the final number might be higher.  As is usually the case with a new US franchise, the international result was less stellar than some recent sequels, but still strong at $122.5M in 55 territories, with several major areas still to open.  In one swoop, Wonder Woman has established a new DC sub-franchise, increased want-to-see for the mega-sequel Justice League, established that DC/Warners can produce audience and critical satisfaction as well as ticket sales–and that’s leaving aside its sociopolitical significance.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE (DreamWorks Animation/20th) is likely to be its last with a $23.5M US opening (it’s barely opened overseas), even though that’s on a much lower production budget than the typical DreamWorks Animation production.  Even with total production/marketing costs at $150M or so, this won’t be much more than a breakeven proposition, and there’s no real incentive to push forward because the Captain is DWA’s final release through 20th before it shifts its product to Universal.

HOLDOVERS:  PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES (Disney) didn’t hold well anywhere.  In the US, it crashed by 66% to $21.6M, and isn’t likely to get beyond $160M, 34% behind On Stranger Tides.  The overseas numbers are much bigger, but similarly down, with a 65% drop to $73.8M for a running total of $386.6M.  The one ace up Dead Men‘s sleeve is Japan, which has been a huge market for the franchise and which doesn’t open until July.  Even so, it’s hard to see the 5th Pirates breaking past $750M worldwide, which would be down 30% from the last installment.  That’s still profitable, even on $400M in costs and with heavy amounts due to Johnny Depp and Jerry Bruckheimer, but a Pirates 6 would be a much bigger risk.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 (Marvel/Disney) is heading toward the end of its run, down 53% to $9.3M in the US, where it may top out at $375M, and at $461.1M overseas after a $4.4M weekend.  Both those numbers are ahead of the first Guardians, although an overall 10% hike may have been less than Disney had hoped.

BAYWATCH (Huahua/Shanghai/Skydance/Paramount) fell 54% to $8.5M in the US, probably doomed to run out of beach at $60M.  Things were a bit better overseas, where it launched in 31 markets with $23.8M, although breakeven is probably the best that can be hoped with $175M in production/marketing costs and a likely big back-end deal for Dwayne Johnson.

ALIEN: COVENANT (TSG/20th) is a franchise out of steam.  In the US, it lost 62% to $4M and will end up around $75M.  Overseas, it’s at $106.6M after a $3.7M weekend.  Even though China and Japan are still to open, this one is lost in space.

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING (Warners) is trying to hold on as a sleeper of the season, but after a 44% drop to $3.3M, with a likely $35M total, even with relatively tiny costs by Warners standards, it would take a strong showing overseas (where it hasn’t yet journeyed) just to break even.

LIMITED RELEASE:  There wasn’t much to get excited about among the indies.  3 IDIOTAS (Pantelion) was the latest title aimed at the Latino audience, but it didn’t find its mark with a $1700 per-theatre average in a 349-theatre opening.  CHURCHILL (Cohen) fared about as well, averaging $2K at 215.  PARIS CAN WAIT (Sony Classics) continued its steady expansion with a $3600 average at 151.  THE WEDDING PLAN (Roadside) widened to 123 with a $1700 average.  On a much smaller scale, BAND AID (IFC) opened at 3 with a $10.5K average, DEAN (CBS) started at 15 and averaged $4K, and PAST LIFE (Goldwyn) had a $4100 average at 4.

NEXT WEEKEND:  THE MUMMY (Universal) is the big arrival, intending to kick off the studio’s “Dark Universe” of updated horror movies with a Tom Cruise spectacle.  A pair of lower-budget openings will do battle, thriller IT COMES AT NIGHT (A24), and true-life story MEGAN LEAVEY (Bleecker Street).  Limited releases include MY COUSIN RACHEL (Fox Searchlight), THE HERO (Orchard) and BEATRIZ AT DINNER (Roadside).


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."