July 24, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 7/24/16


OPENINGS:  STAR TREK BEYOND (Skydance/Alibaba/Huahua/Paramount) had a tepid start, claiming a $59.6M opening weekend in the US.  Even if that number holds (it includes an extremely aggressive Sunday estimate), it would be 20% below the $75..2M 2009 franchise reboot, and even below the $70.2M earned by Star Trek Into Darkness, which opened on a Thursday, on its 2d-4th days of release.  With $325M+ in production/marketing costs, a $200M US total can’t pay the bills alone, and Into Darkness boosted Star Trek international revenue above domestic for the first time in franchise history.  But the early numbers for Beyond aren’t promising:  it’s playing in 37 territories comprising almost half the world, and only took in $30M.  As the list of production entities above indicates, China is a particularly crucial market for Beyond, and it won’t open there until September, but for now the installment seems to be struggling for breakeven.

LIGHTS OUT (Warners) had a shiny start with $21.6M, although it has to earn back not just its tiny $5M production cost but its more expensive marketing campaign.  Still, this should turn a tidy profit, especially since there appears to be international appeal, with $8.3M for the weekend in 32 mostly smaller markets.

ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE (Blue Sky/20th) flat-out bombed in the US with a $21M weekend, down an awful 55% from Continental Drift.  It’s unlikely to even reach $100M here.  The much scarier part, though, is its soft international performance so far, since this franchise has relied on overseas revenue for the bulk of its success.  (Continental Drift earned 82% of its worldwide total outside the US.)  Collision Course is now in 60 markets covering most of the world, and after a $30M weekend, it’s at only $178.9M. China and a handful of other territories are still to open, but there seems to be no way Collision Course can get anywhere near Continental Drift‘s $715.9M international total, and that would move it to the growing list of marginal franchises.

HILLARY’S AMERICA (Quality Flix) is raw meat for right-wingers, and it jumped to 1216 theatres with a weak $3.7M.  By way of comparison, that’s 46% behind the $6.5M that the same director’s Obama’s America earned when it hit 1091 screens in 2012, so it’s not even appealing to the same rabid base.

HOLDOVERS:  THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (Illumination/Universal) was barely affected by the arrival of Ice Age, down 43% to $29.3M.  It’s at $260.7M in the US, and should get to $325M.  Overseas, it’s only in 14 markets, where it brought in $10M for a $63M total.

GHOSTBUSTERS (Village Roadshow/Columbia/Sony) is flailing, down 53% in the US to $21.6M, with $86.9M so far and little chance of getting much past $130M.  With $275M+ in costs, it would need a strong performance overseas just to break even, but has only $36M in about one-third of the world after a $10.5M weekend.  If it can’t get past $300M worldwide, it’s in serious trouble.

Even with a new animated film in the market, FINDING DORY (Pixar/Disney) had the best hold in the Top 10, down 36% to $7.2M for $460.2M to date.  It’s now in 80% of its overseas territories, and has a surprisingly soft $321.5M after a $19.5M weekend.  That compares to $501M for Inside Out, a total it seems unlikely to match.  Unlike most animated hits, Dory may be virtually even in its US/foreign appeal.

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN (RatPac/Village Roadshow/Warners) is nearing the end of its US run, with a 44% decline to $6.4M for a $115.8M total.  To have any hope of profit, it needs international strength, and this was its weekend to make a big splash, with its opening in China.  That number, however, was a mild $27.1M (covering 6 days), giving it a $44.7M overseas weekend in 61 territories for a $145.7M total.  Germany and Japan are still to come, but breakeven is probably the limit for the big-budget adventure.

MIKE & DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES (TSG/20th) dropped 43% to $4.4M, and is still hoping to reach $50M in the US.  It has $9.1M in early overseas release.

THE INFILTRATOR (Broad Green) held fairly well, down 38%, but that still gave it just a $3.3M weekend and a possible $20M US total.

LIMITED RELEASE:  DON’T THINK TWICE (Film Arcade) earned a sensational $90K from a single NY theatre, but that carries a huge asterisk, because the weekend (as will next week’s LA opening) featured an unusual number of high-profile celebrity Q&As.  ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE (Fox Seachlight) connected with fans, averaging $6K at 313 theatres.  CAFE SOCIETY (Amazon/Lionsgate) expanded to 50 theatres with a $17.5K average, compared to the $37K average for Blue Jasmine in the same number of theatres.  That suggests a result similar to the middling $16.7M for To Rome With LoveHUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE (Orchard) is now in 200 theatres, where it averaged an OK $2900.  CAPTAIN FANTASTIC (Bleecker Street) widened to 104, and averaged a moderate $5500.  OUR LITTLE SISTER (Sony Classics) more than doubled to 20 theatres with a small $2200 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  NERVE (Lionsgate) will try to get a jump on the competition with a Wednesday opening.  On Friday, Matt Damon and director Paul Greenglass return to their greatest success with JASON BOURNE (Universal), and BAD MOMS (STX) will aim for the female comedy audience.  Limited releases include festival veterans EQUITY (Sony Classics), INDIGNATION (Roadside) and INTO THE FOREST (A24).


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."