July 2, 2017

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 7.2.2017


OPENINGS:  DESPICABLE ME 3 (Illumination/Universal) is the latest franchise to underdeliver this summer, with a 3-day studio estimate of $75.4M in the US.  That’s far below the $115.7M opening of Minions, and it compares badly with Despicable 2 as well, since that title earned $83.5M over its first weekend after having already banked $59.6M from Wed-Thurs.  Despicable 3 will certainly still be a sizable hit for Universal, likely to go over $100M by Tuesday and $225M in the US overall.  In addition, it’s at $116.9M overseas after a $95.6M weekend with China among the markets still to open.  However, as with other recent franchises, the worldwide total will likely be 20-30% below prior results, and since modern studios rely heavily on their tentpole titles to support their entire operations, that’s cause for concern.

BABY DRIVER (MRC/TriStar/Sony) is more of a feel-good story, albeit on a smaller scale.  Its 3-day weekend was a robust $21M, putting it at $30M after its Wednesday opening, and it should reach $40M by Tuesday.  Fueled by strong word of mouth, it could well go over $100M in the US on modest production costs, and even though marketing will add to that expense, if it has international appeal (it opened with $6.8M in 16 territories), it could turn a tidy profit.  It will easily be the biggest worldwide hit of director Edgar Wright’s career, beating Hot Fuzz‘s $80.6M.

At a pathetic $9M, THE HOUSE (Village Roadshow/Warners) is Will Ferrell’s worst opening ever for a comedy star vehicle, and even that number assumes a strong Sunday that may not stand up in finals.  While costs were relatively light (Warners, which usually pours truckloads of money into marketing, barely acknowledged House‘s existence), red ink is inevitable.  International won’t bail it out, either, after a dismal $2.7M opening in 20 markets.

THE BEGUILED (Focus/Universal) expanded to 674 theatres with a mild $4800 per-theatre average.  It seems more likely to end up at the $16M level of director Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (which averaged $6200 at 859), than it is to reach the $44.6M heights of Lost In Translation.

BEATRIZ AT DINNER (Roadside) crossed into wide distribution with an expansion to 683 theatres, but averaged a dim $1600, and seems unlikely to hit $10M.

HOLDOVERS:  Despite the holiday weekend and its stronger-than-usual Sunday, TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT (Huahua/Paramount) fell 62% in its 2d weekend to $17M in the US, and may get to $150M, which would be down about 40% from Age of Extinction, currently the lowest-grossing title in the franchise domestically.  The more important result, of course, is overseas, where Last Knight is at $327.8M after a $68M weekend.  There are still some significant markets to open, including Japan, Brazil, and Mexico, but it’s hard to see a path for the worldwide total to get past $700M, and although that’s a lot of money, it would be down more than 35% from Age of Extinction.  Considering the massive cost of Transformers epics, this puts the future of the franchise in doubt.

WONDER WOMAN (RatPac/Wanda/Ten Cent/DC/Warners) continues to be the franchise movie of choice for audiences.  It slipped just 35% in its 5th weekend to $16.1M in the US, putting its domestic total at $346.6M, the best non-Dark Knight DC title ever, and below only the Avengers movies, Iron Man 3, Captain America 3 and Guardians 2 over at Marvel.  (It still has a chance to catch Guardians 2‘s $383.3M.)  Franchises typically start slower overseas, and Wonder Woman is at $361.8M after a $13.6M weekend, with Japan yet to open.  That US/international split is likely to tilt more toward overseas with future chapters.

CARS 3 (Pixar/Disney) took a heavy 60% hit with the arrival of Despicable Me 3, down to $9.5M, on its way to $150M in the US, down about 20% from Cars 2.  It will beat Pixar’s low-tide The Good Dinosaur and its $123.1M, but it’s not clear whether it can get past any of the brand’s other titles.  (However, the economics of this particular Pixar franchise are more about merchandising than ticket sales.)  Overseas, it’s in gradual release, and so far is at $53.1M after a $5M weekend in 26 territories.

47 METERS DOWN (Entertainment Services) is holding extremely well for a low-budget thriller, down 34% in its 3rd weekend to $4.7M, on track for $40M+, a very solid result for a new distributor.

THE MUMMY (Perfect World/Universal) is fading fast, down 54% in the US to $2.8M, and unlikely to crack $85M.  Although the overseas number is much higher at $295.4M after a $10.3M weekend in all major markets except Japan, that won’t be enough to pay for its steep costs.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE BIG SICK (Amazon/Lionsgate) had a pleasing expansion to 71 theatres with a $24K per-theatre average, with further expansions ahead.  THE HERO (Orchard) widened to 401 with a mild $2300 average.  MAUDIE (Sony Classics) added 4 theatres for a total of 32 and averaged $3100.  THE LITTLE HOURS (Gunpowder & Sky) had a strong start at 2 NY/LA arthouses with a $31K average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The other studios are conceding the weekend to SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (Marvel/Columbia/Sony), the first version of the superhero saga to take place within Marvel’s universe.  A GHOST STORY (A24) will seek some attention in limited release.



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."