January 19, 2014

Behind the Weekend Box Office – 1/19/14


OPENINGS:  After a 15% Saturday bump to $16.7M, RIDE ALONG (Universal) seems assured of beating Cloverfield‘s $46.1M record for the 4-day Martin Luther King Day weekend (Ride Along is reporting $41.2M for Fri-Sun, where Cloverfield was at $40.1M).  Cloverfield ultimately reached $80M in the US, and that’s about where Ride Along should end up as well–although it will likely have a tougher time matching Cloverfield‘s $90.7M overseas, since Kevin Hart isn’t yet an established star outside the US.

THE NUT JOB (Open Road) had a big 82% bump from family matinees on Saturday, and should take in around $25M for the 4-day weekend, a very decent result for a low-budget project.  It has 2 more weeks to play until The Lego Movie takes over the family market on Feb. 7.

JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT (Paramount) failed at the goal it had set for itself, attracting younger audiences to the decades-old franchise.  Exit polls showed that 40% of ticket buyers were over 50, aka the FOX News audience.  Because the older audience doesn’t run out on opening night, Ryan had a solid 28% Saturday bump, but will still have only around $20M for the 4-day weekend.  Things weren’t much better overseas, where it opened in 31 markets, including such major territories as China, Australia, Korea and Russia (where much of the movie is set) and managed just $22.4M for the 3-day weekend.  The picture was produced on a reasonable $60M budget (which becomes $150-175M with marketing), so it may scrape its way to breakeven, but there’s little promise of a newly-booted franchise.

Audiences seem to be suggesting loudly that they’re done with found-footage low-budget horror movies, as DEVIL’S DUE (20th) dropped 13% on Saturday from its unimpressive start and may not reach $10M for the 4-day weekend.

HOLDOVERS:  LONE SURVIVOR (Universal) fell 39% for the Fri-Sun portion of the weekend with $23.2M, buffered somewhat by the stronger-than-usual Sunday (although it, like Ride Along and Jack Ryan) is likely to be affected by the NFL playoff games today.  It has $74M already and will easily pass $100M.  THE LEGEND OF HERCULES (Lionsgate) collapsed, as expected, by 62% to $3.4M and a US total under $15M.

The rest of the holdover action came from Oscar hopefules.  AMERICAN HUSTLE (Sony) was the big winner of the group, up an impressive 28% from last week’s Fri-Sun to $10.6M–despite losing around 15% of its theatres–with $116.4M earned in the US already and the pre-awards season just getting underway.  It’s now easily outpacing THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (Paramount), which dropped 15% to $7.5M and has a $90.3M total (and a production budget roughly $60M higher than Hustle‘s).

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (Weinstein) had a misleading weekend bump:  it was up 6% from last weekend to $7.6M, but that’s because it more than doubled its theatre count.  Its per-theatre average was a blah $3700 (barely above Devil’s Due).  Also achieving increases through nomination expansions were GRAVITY (Warners) with a $2100 average, 12 YEARS A SLAVE (Fox Searchlight) at $2K, DALLAS BUYERS CLUB (Focus/Universal) at $2200 and CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (Sony) at a wretched $600. PHILOMENA (Weinstein) actually cut down its theatre count by 20% but only dipped 6% for the weekend with a $2600 average, and NEBRASKA (Paramount) lost 25% of its theatres yet increased 6% with a $2300 average.  HER (Warners) held its theatre count for a 24% drop and $2400 average.  The snubbed SAVING MR. BANKS (Disney) and INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (CBS) were respectively down 37% ($1700 average) and 41% ($1900 average).  The upshot of all this is that although months of fierce campaigning and strategizing lead up to the Oscar nominations, because the studios think it’s all financially worthwhile for them, few of the nominees are getting any appreciable benefit from the honor.  (Remember:  with those wide expansions come expensive marketing campaigns that will eat up most, if not all, of the gains.)

LIMITED RELEASE:  The only notable opening was the Japanese LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON (IFC) with an OK $8300 average in 2 NY theatres.  THE PAST (Sony Pictures Classics) added 13 theatres for a total of 30 and a $3700 average, and stablemate THE INVISIBLE WOMAN (Sony Pictures Classics) added 17 for a total of 26 and a $3800 average.



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."