July 30, 2017

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 7.30.2017


OPENINGS:  Word of mouth caught up with THE EMOJI MOVIE (Columbia/Sony) on Saturday, with a 14% drop (by comparison, Captain Underpants rose 11% on its 2d day of release, and last year’s Angry Birds Movie jumped 47%), but a $25.7M weekend is still good money for a movie no one seems to like.  (The Captain‘s opening was $23.9M.)  The only other animated opening of the summer is Nut Job 2, which gives Emoji plenty of runway, and with around $150M in production and marketing costs, international appeal could bring it to profit, although its franchise possibilities are still unclear.

ATOMIC BLONDE (Sierra/Focus/Universal) wasn’t the breakout hit some expected with a $18.6M weekend, and although its production costs were moderate, Universal gave it close to an A-level marketing campaign, which may make profitability tough if it ends up at $50M in the US.  Here, too, overseas success will be critical to the prospects of a potential franchise.

HOLDOVERS:  With limited competition from new arrivals and audience-pleasing content, the holdovers generally did very well this weekend.  DUNKIRK (Warners) led the way, down a modest 44% to $28.1M, just a tick more steep than Wonder Woman‘s 43% drop on its 2d weekend.  Dunkirk has the spectacle market to itself for the rest of the summer, and while it’s currently heading for a $160M US total, $200M wouldn’t be a shock.  Overseas, Dunkirk is at $131.3M after a $45.6M weekend, and it still has China, Italy and Japan yet to open.  Dunkirk may reach $500M worldwide, another remarkable notch on Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster belt.

GIRLS TRIP (Perfect World/Universal) is clearly getting fantastic word of mouth, slipping just 36% in its 2d weekend to $20.1M, with a clear road to $100M ahead.  That will assure profitability (and a sequel), and the big question it faces is whether it can garner significant ticket sales overseas.

The exception to the weekend’s rule is VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (Europa/STX), which tumbled 60% from opening weekend to $6.8M, and won’t see $50M in the US.  Its distributors aren’t in any hurry to release international numbers, which probably doesn’t mean anything good.

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (Marvel/Columbia/Sony) is holding very well, down 39% in its 4th weekend to $13.5M, and it now seems like it should be able to pass $300M in the US.  Overseas, it had a $19.7M weekend for a $355.4M total to date, with China and Japan still to come.  If it can get to $800M worldwide, it will outearn both Amazing Spider-Man titles, as well as the Sam Raimi Spider-Man 2, and would be in the Guardians of the Galaxy neighborhood of the Marvel universe.

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (TSG/20th) isn’t connecting with an audience as much as its reviews suggested.  It fell 50% on its 3rd weekend to $10.4M, on its way to $140M in the US, and overseas it’s at $106M after a $20.5M weekend.  There are still some major territories to open, including not just China and Japan, but Brazil, France and Germany, but at this point it’s competing with Rise‘s $481.8M worldwide total, and not Dawn‘s $710.6M.  We’ll see what that means for a franchise reboot.

DESPICABLE ME 3 (Illumination/Universal) is following the path of its franchise and earning the lion’s share of its revenue overseas.  In the US, it declined 41% to $7.7M, and will end at $245-250M, probably the lowest-grossing of the series (the original Despicable Me is at $251.5M, so it might beat that by a nose).  Internationally, it’s at $588.8M after a $36.1M weekend, and should be the highest-grossing of the Despicables, although still below the $823.4M for Minions.

The weekend’s strongest holdovers are the audience-pleasing BABY DRIVER (MRC/TriStar/Sony), WONDER WOMAN (RatPac/Huahua/Tencent/DC/Warners), and THE BIG SICK (Amazon/Lionsgate), although their total dollars are in a wide range.  Baby Driver was down 33% in its 5th weekend to $4.1M, and seems to have enough gas to reach $100M in the US, and is at $46.6M overseas in just 36 markets, after a $8.4M weekend.  Wonder Woman has $400M in its US sights after an amazing 23% dip to $3.5M in its 9th weekend, and it’s at $390.6M overseas.  Big Sick declined 33% to $3.4M, and may have the muscle to reach $40M in the US.

LIMITED RELEASE:  DETROIT (Annapurna) is facing uncertain prospects in its expansion to wide release next week after a merely OK $18K weekend average at 20 theatres.  AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER (Paramount Vantage) averaged a solid $32.5K at 4, but that number was undoubtedly give a big push by in-theatre Q&As featuring Al Gore.  The Yiddish-language MENASHE (A24) had a pleasing $20K average at 3.  BRIGSBY BEAR (Sony Classics) averaged a low-key $15K at 3.  Neither of the weekend’s big expansions were promising:  A GHOST STORY (A24) averaged $1200 at 329, and LADY MACBETH (Roadside) averaged $1700 at 104.  However, LANDLINE (Amazon/Magnolia) had a moderate $3200 average as it widened to 43.

NEXT WEEKEND:  At one time, THE DARK TOWER (MRC/Columbia/Sony) was seen as the start of a mega-franchise that included TV projects as well as epic feature films, but the 95-minute movie opening this week seems to be a shadow of that.  The Halle Berry action vehicle KIDNAP (Aviron) opens as well, and as noted, Detroit goes wide.  Limited releases include WIND RIVER (Weinstein) and the documentary STEP (Fox Searchlight).

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."