July 1, 2017

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Despicable Me 3″” Takes Holiday Weekend, “Baby Driver” A Sleeper, “The House” Burns Down


DESPICABLE ME 3 (Illumination/Universal) will have no trouble holding the lead at the box office over the 5-day July 4th weekend.  Preliminary numbers at Deadline have opening day at $28.6M (including $4.1M from Thursday night), which could give it $85M by Sunday and $125M by Tuesday.  That’s still on the low side for the franchise:  Despicable 2 (which opened on a Wednesday) had a $35M opening day and $143.1M over 5 days, while Minions was at $46M/$145.5M, so this will be the lowest start since the original Despicable ($21.3M/$72.1M) in 2010.  But with a relatively moderate budget for tentpole animation (roughly $250M including marketing), Despicable 3 should be highly profitable, especially since, as with many franchises, its box office has tilted more toward international with each entry.

BABY DRIVER (MRC/TriStar/Sony) has the promising look of a sleeper, with $5.9M on Friday added to its Wed-Thurs totals for $14.9M to date, which should be $28M by Sunday and $37M by Tuesday, a solid start for a film with only $34M in production costs.  Worldwide marketing will swell that number, but Driver could also succeed internationally, and it has a good chance of being a profitable piece of business for Sony.

The same can’t be said for THE HOUSE (Village Roadshow/New Line/Warners), which is shaping up as one of the biggest bombs of Will Ferrell’s starring career after a $3.4M opening day (including $800K from Thursday night), which may not get it to $10M by Sunday or past $15M by Tuesday.  Warners knew what was coming, and they’re spending a bare minimum on marketing (they also didn’t allow the press to see it in advance), but that will only cut the losses.  Luckily for Ferrell, he has the relatively sure thing Daddy’s Home 2 arriving for the holidays.

THE BEGUILED (Focus/Universal) jumped from 4 theatres to quasi-wide release at 674, and may average a middling $4000 per-theatre over the 3-day weekend.  That would be below the $6200 opening weekend average for director Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette at 859 theatres, a film that only totaled $16M in the US.

TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT (Huahua/Paramount) led the weekend’s holdovers, but just barely, with a $4.7M Friday that was down 66% from last week’s opening day.  It may earn $15-16M over the 3-day weekend and $23M over 5 days, putting it on track for $140M in the US, which would be down about 40% from the last installment of the series.  Sunday’s international numbers will be critically important to gauge where Last Knight is likely to end up.

WONDER WOMAN (RatPac/Wanda/Ten Cent/DC/Warners) continues to be a much happier story, down 43% from last Friday to $4.2M, and heading for a $14-15M 3-day weekend and $22M over 5 days.  At that point, it will top $350M in the US.  It’s already the most successful DC movie domestically not to have the words Dark Knight in the title, and it’s behind only 5 Marvel titles.

CARS 3 (Pixar/Disney) seems to have been pulverized by the arrival of Despicable Me 3, falling an ugly 66% from last Friday to $2.6M, much worse than the 3rd Fridays of Cars (down 30%) or Cars 2 (down 39%).  That should stabilize a bit over the course of the weekend, but it still may total just $9M over 3 days and $14M over 5.  It’s heading for $150M in the US, which would be down about 20% from Cars 2.

47 METERS DOWN (Entertainment Services) fell 43% from last Friday to $1.3M, for what should be $4M over the 3-day weekend, and $6M over 5 days, en route to a fine $40M in the US on a low investment.

THE BIG SICK (Amazon/Lionsgate) is taking a slower boat to wide release than The Beguiled, increasing its footprint this weekend to 71 theatres.  Over the 3-day weekend, it should average over $20K per theatre, comparable to the $19K average for (500) Days of Summer when it was at 85, a film that ultimately totaled $32.4M in the US.

On a much smaller scale, THE LITTLE HOURS (Gunpowder & Sky) started well at 2 theatres with what could be a $30K per-theatre 3-day weekend 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."