October 29, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Inferno” In Ashes, “Jack Reacher” Collapses, “Moonlight” Expands


INFERNO (LStar/Columbia/Sony) was expected to earn less than The Da Vinci Code ($217.5M US/$540.7M overseas) and Angels & Demons ($133.4M/$352.6M), which is why Sony spent $75M less to produce the new film.  But that still leaves $200M in production/marketing costs, and Inferno is flopping too badly to have much chance of profit.  According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, Inferno took in no more than $6M on Friday (including $800K from Thursday night), which points it at a $16M weekend, disastrously lower than the other adult thrillers of recent weeks, The Girl On the Train ($24.5M), The Accountant ($24.7M), and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back ($22.9M), all of which cost less to produce than Inferno.  Things are more lively overseas, where Inferno had $94.4M at the end of last weekend with a China opening still to come, but even if it reaches $200M worldwide, once distribution fees and expenses are taken off the top, Inferno will still be in red ink.

Often when a weekend’s major new opening fails, it’s good news for the holdovers, but that doesn’t appear to be the case this weekend.  BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN (Lionsgate) dropped 53% from last Friday to $4.4M, and is headed for a $15M weekend.  That should still give it a $75M US total, a good deal given its thrifty budget.

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK (Skydance/Huahua/Shanghai Film/Paramount) fell apart on its 2d Friday, the victim of Inferno and what was clearly terrible word of mouth.  It plunged 68% to $2.8M, with a meager $9M weekend ahead.  It may only reach $60M in the US, which won’t even pay for its domestic marketing campaign, and so far its $31.5M overseas is nothing to give the investors hope.

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (Blumhouse/Universal) had a standard low-budget horror 60% Friday-to-Friday drop to $2.2M, on its way to a $6M weekend and $35M in the US, which even on its limited costs won’t get it much past breakeven.

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES (20th) actually held best of last week’s openings, but on a very low start, so even with a 46% drop from last Friday, it was only at $1.1M, and is on track for a $3.5M weekend and perhaps $20M in the US.

THE ACCOUNTANT (RatPac/Warners) led the longer runs, down 42% from last Friday to $2.5M  It should have a $8M weekend and might get to $80M in the US.  THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (DreamWorks/Participant/Reliance/Universal) had a 40% drop from last Friday to $1.4M, for a $5M weekend and $75M in the US.

Things were happier in limited release, where MOONLIGHT (A24) handled its first expansion well, with what should be a per-theatre weekend average of $23K in 36 theatres.  That’s better than the $20K average for Brooklyn at 23.

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."