September 27, 2015

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office: 9/25-27


OPENINGS:  HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 (Columbia/Sony) has set a new September record with a $47.5M opening (beating the first Hotel‘s $42.5M), and it barely missed becoming Adam Sandler’s biggest opening ever (The Longest Yard currently has a tiny lead at $47.6M, and kudos to Sony for not claiming the record and changing its mind tomorrow when final numbers are out).  In addition, the Hotel opened to $29.2M in 42 international territories (about 1/3 of the world), which the studio claims is far higher than the start for the original Transylvania.  It’s all good, and the only question is what Sandler’s new Netflix deal provides as far as him doing films for other studios, since obviously Sony will be chomping for a Hotel 3 as soon as they can get it.

THE INTERN (RatPac-Dune/Warners) had a very comfortable $18.2M opening, Most of Nancy Meyers’ previous movies have opened in December, which has its own peculiar dynamic due to the holidays, but with little competition ahead for its older female core audience, Intern should be able to hang around in theatres for much of the fall, word of mouth permitting.  Intern also earned $11.8M from 40 overseas markets.  Intern was considerably cheaper than produce and Meyers’ other deluxe comedies, which should get it into profit.

THE GREEN INFERNO (High Time) didn’t even do well within its own model of diminished scale, with a $3.5M weekend at 1540 theatres.  The Inferno plan calls for little if any expensive TV advertising and supposedly allows for profit with a box office gross under $10M, but Inferno may only reach $7M when it’s done, and that’s probably not enough for success.

HOLDOVERS:  EVEREST (Walden/Universal) didn’t climb very far despite nearly quintupling its theatre count to 3006.  That gave it a $13M weekend, less than double last week’s total, for $23.1M to date.  (The per-theatre average went from $13.3K to $4400.)  With The Walk and The Martian right on its heels to offer adventure and visual spectacle, Everest may have a hard time keeping its US foothold–especially since The Walk will deprive it of its lucrative IMAX screens.  Things are better overseas, where Everest has a $73.7M total after a $33.8M weekend in 62 markets.

THE MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS (20th) fell 54% in its 2d weekend to $14M, compared to a 46% drop to $17.4M for the original Maze RunnerScorch is running about 10% behind Maze so far with $51.7M, and is probably headed for a $80-90M US total, despite costing considerably more than the initial installment.  Overseas, Scorch had a $28.4M weekend and has pulled in $121.8M in most of the world (with some big territories like France, Italy, Japan and China remaining).  It’s unclear whether Scorch will be able to hit the $238.3M international mark of Maze Runner.

BLACK MASS (RatPac-Dune/Warners) fell 49% in its 2d weekend to $11.5M, which isn’t particularly good for its older-skewing crime audience (by comparison, The Town dropped 35% in Weekend 2).  Word of mouth is clearly not its friend, and it may be headed to $70M in the US–a decent result, especially considering Johnny Depp’s recent flops, but one that may make it hard to stay in the awards race as shinier contenders open.  It’s having a slow and gradual international release.

PAWN SACRIFICE (Bleecker Street) expanded badly from 33 to 781 theaters with a $1300 per-theatre average.

Among the long-running titles, WAR ROOM (Affirm/TriStar/Sony) is still holding the best, down just 31% to $4.3M, with $56M to date.  (It’s preoccupying the Christian audience, which has had little interest in 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN or CAPTIVE, respectively at $4.5M and $2.3M after $300K/500K weekends.)  THE VISIT (Blumhouse/Universal) declined 42% to $6.8M for a $52.3M total, and THE PERFECT GUY (Screen Gems/Sony) dropped 51% to $4.8M, giving it $48.9M so far.

LIMITED RELEASE:  SICARIO (Lionsgate) expanded beautifully to 59 theatres, with a $30K average that gave it $1.8M for the weekend.  The somewhat disappointing run of Black Mass should give it a strong platform to hold the adult crime audience as it widens further.  Overseas, Sicario earned $3.5M in 33 (mostly minor) territories.  STONEWALL (Roadside), battling awful reviews, had a terrible opening at 129 theatres for an average under $900.  SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE (IFC) expanded to 102 theatres with a $1400 average.  Horror sleeper GOODNIGHT MOMMY (Radius/Weinstein) widened to 28 theatres with a $3900 average.  The critically acclaimed 99 HOMES (Broad Green), debuted in just 2 NY theatres with a fair $16K average.  Meanwhile, the Chinese-language LOST IN HONG KONG (Well Go USA) started well with a $20K average at 28 US theaters, but that’s barely perceptible compared to its blockbuster performance in China, where it’s estimated to have opened with a $100M weekend.

NEXT WEEKEND:  A trio of film festival veterans arrive, in various levels of release:  a wide rollout for Ridley Scott’s THE MARTIAN (20th), an IMAX 3D platform run for THE WALK (TriStar/Sony), and a limited start for the documentary HE NAMED ME MALALA (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."