June 26, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 6/26/16


OPENINGS:  INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE (20th) is the latest indication that audiences may be tiring of massive CG spectacles–which is bad news for the major studios, since they’ve concentrated most of their line-ups into that genre.  ID:R‘s $41.6M weekend is mediocre at best for a would-be blockbuster with $300M+ in worldwide costs, suggesting a US total that won’t pass $125M (and may end up considerably lower).  Nor will international receipts bail it out:  its 57-territory start already puts it in most of the world’s major territories, and at that scale, a $102M opening (a mild $37.3M of it from China) is unpromising.  Instead of re-establishing a franchise, ID:R will have to struggle just to avoid red ink.

Despite the flowers being thrown in its path by pundits desperate for some good news, THE SHALLOWS (Columbia/Sony) and its $16.7M opening are nothing to sing about.  It’s a solid start for a relatively low-budget studio product ($17M production budget), and it should make some profit if it can reach $50M in the US, but there’s still a signifiant marketing investment to recoup, and any profits could be wiped out by the opening weekend of Sony’s upcoming Ghostbusters reboot.

Hark, is that the sound of a studio swearing to anyone who’ll listen that it’s limited its downside on a flop?  This week the subject is FREE STATE OF JONES (H Brothers/STX), a laudably ambitious but not inexpensive (at least $100M in worldwide costs) attempt to bring some seriousness to the summer movie season that went splat with a $7.8M opening.  With little international appeal, the Civil War drama has scant chance of breaking even.

Jones, though, is Captain America: Civil War compared to THE NEON DEMON (Amazon/Broad Green), a bizarre piece of work whose featured necrophilia scene is all too neatly a metaphor for its box office.  Inexplicably released at a semi-wide 783 theatres, it had a dreadful $775 per-theatre average for the weekend, giving it a $600K total–and even that assumes an extremely strong Sunday hold, which doesn’t seem all that likely.

Meanwhile, THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (Illumination/Universal) dipped its toe into overseas release before its July 8 US opening and found the water fine, with $15.2M in just the UK and Norway.  In the UK, its total nearly doubled the start for Independence Day:  Resurgence, a nice place to start.

HOLDOVERS:  FINDING DORY (Pixar/Disney) thrived without meaningful competition, down just 46% to $73.2M in its 2d weekend.  That’s not quite as good as the 42% 2d weekend drop for Inside Out or the 44% for Monsters University (let alone the crazy 32% for Zootopia), but it’s much better than the 57% dip for Minions, and equals the hold for Toy Story 3, which isn’t bad company.  It’s currently at $286.6M in the US, and although there’s some significant competition ahead (Disney’s own The BFG next week, and Pets the week after that), it should easily get past $400M.  Overseas, Dory is in a gradual release that’s so far hit just 37 markets, and has $110.3M after a $37M weekend.

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE (New Line/RatPac/Universal/Warners) held well, down 48% to $18.4M and benefiting from being the only comedy in the market.  It’s at $69.3M, and should have the muscle to pass $100M in the US.  Things aren’t as strong overseas so far, although there are still plenty of territories to open, with $14.1M after a $4.7M weekend in 28 markets.

THE CONJURING 2 (New Line/RatPac/Warners) is dropping faster than the first Conjuring, down 48% in its 3d weekend compared to 41% for the original.  The weekend brought in $7.7M for a $86.9M US total, and although it should pass $100M, it won’t get close to the $137.4M that Conjuring earned.  Overseas, it’s at $156M after a $21M weekend, and should beat the first Conjuring‘s $180.6M.

NOW YOU SEE ME 2 (Summit/Lionsgate) had the best hold in the Top 10, down just 40% to $5.7M, but it’s still at only $52.1M, and won’t end up with much over half of the first Now‘s $117.7M.  The news is better overseas, where the decision to set much of the story in China paid off to the tune of a $43.3M opening weekend (better than Independence Day: Resurgence), with a total overseas weekend of $50.9M in 55 territories.  Its overseas total is now $107.7M, although that’s still a long way from the first Now‘s $234M international haul, and the China market tends to burn out very quickly (and provide studios with a lower level of revenue).

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (TSG/20th) and TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS (Nickelodeon/Movie Media Group/Alibaba/Paramount) are nearing the end of their underperforming runs.  X-Men fell 53% to $2.5M in the US and may not get to $160M (30% below Days of Future Past), and overseas it’s at $374.6M after a $3.6M weekend, and even with Japan still to come, it may not reach $400M (which would be more than 20% lower).  Turtles dropped 54% to $2.4M in the US for a $77.1M total, more than $100M below the 2014 reboot, and overseas it’s at $76.8M after a $3.6M weekend.  A China opening next week will help, but the final number won’t begin to approach the $302.1M overseas total of the 2014 installment.

Any dreams that WARCRAFT (Legendary/Universal) would ride China to profit are gone.  In the US, the flop is at $43.9M, and overseas, despite the huge $221M from China, the total is still a wan $368.3M, which when the lower Chinese studio revenues are factored in, won’t get the project to breakeven.

LIMITED RELEASE:  SWISS ARMY MAN (A24) had a strong start at 3 NY/LA arthouses with a $38K per-theatre average, although that was boosted by an aggressive program of weekend Q&As.  The same was true for HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE (Orchard), which averaged $17K at 5.  WIENER-DOG (IFC) averaged a more subdued $13.5K at 2.  Despite excellent reviews, LES COWBOYS (Cohen) only averaged $3600 at 4.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The holiday is greeted by Steven Spielberg’s family fantasy THE BFT (Disney), the expensive adventure THE LEGEND OF TARZAN (Warners), and the much smaller-scale THE PURGE: ELECTION DAY (Blumhouse/Universal).  Limited releases are led by OUR KIND OF TRAITOR (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."