September 25, 2016

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 9/25/16


OPENINGS:  It was important for THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (Village Roadshow/MGM/Columbia/Sony) to hit the $35M that the studio is currently claiming, because that puts it slightly over the two obvious comparisons:  the $34.1M for the last Denzel Washington/Antoine Fuqua collaboration The Equalizer, and the $34.5M just a few weeks ago for Sully, a film similarly aimed at older males and toplining a veteran star.  Whether that number will hold in finals tomorrow is unclear, but the important thing to note is that even if Seven stays there, it’s not as successful as either of its predecessors, because it cost 50% more to produce (a reported $90M).  The overseas prospects aren’t bright, with $19.2M for the weekend nearly in nearly all major territories (France and Australia remain, and it’s not clear whether the film will have a China run), putting the international total at $24.8M because it opened in South Korea last week.  Despite the weekend spin, Seven could have trouble recouping its $200M+ production/marketing cost.

STORKS (Warners Animation) had a soft start with $21.8M, and it faces competition next weekend from Miss Peregrine.  What will help is the moderate $70M production cost, and a marketing campaign that was almost restrained by Warners standards.  Business wasn’t stronger overseas, where it earned $18.3M in 33 markets, including China.

HOLDOVER:  SULLY (RatPac/Village Roadshow/Warners) wasn’t hurt much by the arrival of Magnificent Seven, down 36% to $13.8M, which puts it at $92.3M in the US.  It should top off around $120M, and the question is whether international will  pull it to breakeven on $150-175M in production/marketing costs, or into significant profit.  So far profit is looking elusive, as Sully is in 45 territories and has a mild $35.4M total after a $6.5M weekend.

BRIDGET JONES’S BABY (Universal) didn’t show much traction, down 47% to $4.5M.  It’s at $16.5M in the US, and may not hit $30M.  Happily for its investors, it’s stronger overseas, where it’s at $67.1M after a $21.9M weekend, although it’s still unlikely to get near the $262.5M global total of the last Bridget Jones.

SNOWDEN (Open Road) fell 48% to $4.1M, leaving it at a US total of $15.1M.  With a production cost double Bridget Jones’s, and much less obvious international appeal, it’s almost certainly a major money-loser.

BLAIR WITCH (Lionsgate) was DOA last weekend, and inevitably it plunged in Weekend 2, down 58% to $4M for a $16.1M US total.  Even with minimal production costs, this won’t pay for its own marketing, and international results are paltry at $4.9M.

On the other hand, DON’T BREATHE (Screen Gems/Sony) is a dream come true for low-budget horror, down 33% in its 5th weekend to $3.8M, for a US total to date of $81.1M, and the potential to push past $90M, especially with no competition until the Ouija sequel on October 21.  It’s also at $39.2M overseas.

SUICIDE SQUAD (RatPac/DC/Warners) keeps plugging away, down just 34% in its 8th weekend to $3.1M and a $318.1M US total.  There is the possibility that if it can hold onto its theatres, Suicide could eclipse the $328.2M US total of Batman v. Superman, which would be quite an accomplishment.  (Suicide can’t beat BvS overseas because it wasn’t given a run in China.)

HELL OR HIGH WATER (CBS/Lionsgate) is subsiding, down 47% to $1.1M.  Its $24.8M US total puts it into the “sleeper” category, and we’ll see if Lionsgate (which has La La Land on its plate) will spend the money to keep its name alive in the awards season race that kicks off in earnest several weeks from now.

The Christian music documentary HILLSONG: LET HOPE RISE (Pure Flix) collapsed by 70% in its 2d weekend to $400K for a impious $2M total.

LIMITED RELEASE:  QUEEN OF KATWE (Disney) marks the latest miss by that studio in the non-blockbuster world, managing a very quiet $6000 per-theatre average in 52 theatres despite generally strong reviews and a lot of marketing muscle; it goes wide next weekend.  The much lower-profile THE DRESSMAKER (Amazon/Broad Green) was right behind Queen with a $5000 average at 36.  The Beatles documentary 8 DAYS A WEEK added 66 theatres for a total of 151 and averaged $2600.  THE HOLLARS (Sony Classics) flopped in its expansion to 298 theatres with a $900 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  A pair of contrasting big releases, as DEEPWATER HORIZON (Lionsgate) turns that ecological disaster into a Mark Wahlberg action movie, and MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (20th) is yet another Tim Burton macabre family fantasy.  The long-postponed comedy MASTERMINDS (Relativity) finally opens as well, and as noted Queen of Katwe will expand into wide release.  The major limited release is Cannes sensation AMERICAN HONEY (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."